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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Art Films


By Marina Correa

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat - The Film

Works of art are explicitly made for the purpose of simulating one’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs… through the senses interpreted on the basis of images or objects. Perhaps, a prime reason why films on art are made in the very first place…

I was at the screening of 2 art films on the lives of neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the legendary Pablo Picasso at the Times' Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, and was reminded that we silently inhabit a milieu of interesting audience responses.

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat

With Jean-Michel being credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience to the elite art world, the film did touch a chord deep within. But for his untimely demise, the artist may have left an even more expressional footprint. An ethnographer I met said she liked watching art films, as artists express our innermost feelings; she could also identify with the fact that Basquiat didn’t take art seriously, but rather enjoyed it. “Such films take one’s mind away from the mundane and give us an insight into the world of great achievers,” chipped in a young lawyer.

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Untitled work by Basquiat

One cannot deny the impact of this visual medium. Incidentally, there have been a multitude of art films, differently variegated, both in treatment and influence; and each tends to give you a little byte to take home. A Filipino working with an India-based NGO opines, “Art films emphasize disconnect between an artist and his works.” Although he could never imagine such brilliant masterpieces were created by a lonely and confused Basquiat, the film was hugely inspiring to him.

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
1985 Tenor by Basquiat

Surviving Picasso seemed to similarly impress upon him Picasso’s debunking of how art should be and his rather distinctive introduction of impressionism in art, which for our young observer is the mark of a true artist.

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Guernica by Pablo Picasso

So what are we garnering from art films? A lot, I can say. Of course there are the exceptions, who tend to walk away mid-way through the screening; but holistically speaking, art house films make for intelligent and realistic cinema; a cinema that tends to impress upon the psyche and inspire the non-stereotype. An important reference point to the journey of an artist, which is riddled with solving the rigours of his inner self vs. rejoicing in his chosen medium of self-expression.

The Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, Art Films, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, The Times of India, 1985 Tenor, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907, Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907


5 comments :

  1. I would have to say that books are my favorite as you can review them over and over again. I have many books on Rothko, Kandinsky, Frankenthaler, Picasso, Mattise etc. I love reading about their life as much as their careers. The Catalogue Raisonne for Mark Rothko is one of my best references as well as Kandinsiy's The Spiritual in Art.

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  2. I am curious to know why one has to make a choice. Art films and art books are both relevant forms of information and entertainment. Some people are more book oriented while others are more inclined to enjoy being entertained on the screen. I think when combined - they both provide a more comprehensive prespective and source of information; in response to IAnD's discussion thread "Which of the two are more impactful - Art Films or Art Books?"

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  3. Films will have more impact than print media because they have sound and motion but they will have a smaller audience and a shorter lifespan. Print media can be seen by a larger audience over a longer period of time (generations). They can be viewed and re-viewed by the original owner of the book and then by others when the book goes into a library or is recycled through a bookstore; in response to IAnD's discussion thread "Which of the two are more impactful - Art Films or Art Books?"

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  4. It would be a great and very well said. Thanks for this great content and i would like to know more information on this topic. Keep sharing and keep updating your post with useful information.

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  5. I have to say that of the two I prefer books. Each has their value, but something about the image printed on the page helps me connect to it on a deeper level than via the pixels of the television screen. I think that the book provides for the reader a greater emotional and intellectual investment in the topic than the screen does.


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