작품_paintings/Prelude to Jacob-Going out_98-99

A Prelude to Jacob-while away 1998 in Bangalore

James Chae 2012. 4. 6. 13:20



A Prelude to Jacob-Going out

by James C.W.Chae

Bangalore, 1998

To be shown


The Kin : Indo-Korean Trio Exhibition

(C.W.Chae, Wilfred Polycarp, Siddharth P. Battjewargi)

August 25 to 31, 1998

Chitrakala Parishath

Bangalore, India



The Unbearable Lightness of Being / oil,acrylic,cocofiber,emulsion on canvas. 120x120cms. 1998.




The post-colonial Asian artists, today, are so conditioned that they always tend to produce little tales of protest, from within a set of traditional pictorial devices. It is true even in the case of those visual traditions that were formulated even by/during colonialism. The reason for such hide and seek game is based upon a paradox: Neither can we altogether wipe out the Colonialism’s impact, as extremists do, nor be comfortable with the inevitable situation of carrying the burden of being colonized nations, for too long.

The three Asian artists ( Chang Wan Chae from Korea, Siddharth P. Bettjewargi -Karnataka and Wilfred Polycarp – Kerala ) exhibiting their works in the present show, despite their different religious and childhood experiences, shared a brief common pedagogical experience at Santiniketan. Though their styles of painting and the physical appearance of the works do not mutually co-relate, a kind of ‘common deceptiveness’ gets underlined in these works. The sensitive motif and spirit of the historic boneless style of the Kala Bhavana school is, for instance, one of the major tangential point that these three artists critically touch upon, from within. The site of the seemingly anarchic nature of indigenous culture has facilitated them with a new kind of modernity, in the background of several such modernities that have already specifically occurred in the third world…

Wilfred develops his paintings like a staunch weaver, layer by layer. It is a habit acquired over a period of time. Hence the politics of image-making occurs on the top most layer of the picture surface. But, at the very next moment, he convinces us that this sincere commitment is not that of a devotee: in a seemingly simple outdoor scene a tree tilts, a cheep is seated nest to what one can arguably recognize as the balipeet(the place for animal-offering) etc., Several such suggestive associations are possible, based on the audience’s receptiveness. Yet, ultimately, the paintings are cool and contemplated locations of deceptive romanticism. The artist pins up a conscientious note of self-contradictory behavior, through a media which mostly resembles the one that was engaged as a part of nationalistic agenda, earlier.

Chae’s achromatic visuals appear to document a uniform state of mind at one point. It also initially reflects the new tradition of ‘meditation as an act of artistic creation, only to refute it, a bit later. Because, they are the ‘static account’ of the empirical experience of the ‘passing moments’ of life. Thus he doubly defines art as: an experience-in-itself, as seen by the audience; and then the same pictures as the ‘little impressions’ of a momentary experience of the artist, which forms a part and parcel of his autobiographical experience. In the latter case, his experience becomes too personal and ‘segregated’ form the viewer’s eye, wherein the appearance of his paintings becomes a shadow of something more profound, lying underneath.

In Siddhartha’s paintings a combat ‘between’ the Victorian academic lessons and a desire to unlearn the very same, occurs. It is not a fight ‘against’ Victorianism, as much. Instead he concentrates upon disowning an already acquired skills in respectable terms. Hence the sketchy and sophisticated method of rendering occurs simultaneously, resulting in an artistic act that explodes ‘through’ the boundary between the human figures and the nature around it, in his works. Altogether, the constructed forms are violated by that process which is engaged in creating them. And he dares to retain such a paradoxical construct.

All the three participants are initially convinced of a set notion of picture-making. They then investigate the iconic attributes availed to such a style (method), be it Indian or Korean, in spirit. While doing so, they do not drastically refute its conventional position, in any crude Marxist terms. Instead, their patient rendering helps them to gain a position from wherein the antithesis to the conventionality of the different traditions of art practices becomes possible. By H. A. ANIL KUMAR (Art Historian, Bangalore)



Before the Dawn / oil,acrylic,cocofiber on canvas. 120x60cms. 1998.



Indian Express

Sat. 5 September 1998

Three artists – Chang Wan Chae, Wilfred Polycarp and Siddharth P Bettjewargi – exhibited their works recently at the Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore, (KIN, Indo-Korean Painting Exposition, Aug25~Aug31, 1998). This is the first exhibition of their works since they graduated from Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, 1997. Despite the fact that they have displayed their works together, each of the artists has worked differently.

Chang Wan Chae’s somber paintings have a graphic sense of design and show an interest in abstraction. His limited palette of black and grey hues, indefinite shapes and forms are combined with a textural interest. Cocofibres are used to build up the surface. Sometimes they are densely packed or simply placed like sketchy lines. Then, thick globs of black pigment is dribbled on the fibres to make dark, heavy, square or oblong shapes in the center of the canvas.

The Korean script is scribbled like an ornate tracery somewhat mimicking the wiry thin fibre. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, two vertical canvases are joined together. A thin horizontal line bisects the canvas marking out a spatial division. The black painted patch alternates with the silvery grayish surface that has indefinite shapes drawn on it. A flat single open eye stares out. The thin script is scribbled along the dark shape like a lacy edge. The artist seems to be clearly interested in flattening the picture surface.

In Siddharth P Bettjewargi’s Glimpses, a series of watercolors, slightly stylized single figures are confidently drawn on paper. He captures a gesture or an action deftly in firm lines. But when there are more figures, the composition becomes a little involved. For instance, In The Garden (kiss) has about four figures in the midst of some foliage. There is a kind of cute awkwardness in the large lumbering figures in the foreground. The two nestling nudes are dark and heavy, while the other two are passive and simply appear to fill up the space.

Wilfred Polycarp’s sparse canvases also attempt to address the spatial problem. They are like fragmented narratives and the artist does not connect the isolated images. Thus color expanses are filled with tiny supplicating figures, burning staffs and little buildings. A single picture can contain a pair of lover floating away, a woman with a broom, a man with a rifle, an ass and a goat, like some kind of an internal landscape. By VIDYA MURTHY]


B&W 28-VII-98 / oil,acrylic,cocofiber,emulsion on canvas. 60x60cms. 1998.




Fri.  4 September 1998

Certainly, like most genuine art is, this is hide and seek. And while we are almost seduced to think that there is a deeper historical bearing to it, there just isn’t. KIN, the Indo-Korean Painting Exposition between August 25 and 31 at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat was an exhibition of those artistic grids, much scaled and much painted, though, different from one another

One thing unified the three artists – their ability to hold back speech and leave much to contemplation.

The visual text in most of Wilfred Polycarp’s works had a certain childlike serenity. Except for the somber colours, if we were to characterize colours that way, there was little that could claim complexity.

This, as Wilfred never risked straying away from what visually appears dark and cold, where even a live and burning hearth carried a paper-like frigidity. That’s why they seemed brittle and quite physically empty in spite of their ultramarine involucre. 

In this particular “untitled” tree-house-knelling woman picture, there was the French ultramarine invading the whole canvas, cognizably, except the bleach-white complexion of the woman. This weighed the scene down considerably.

As if, one woke up to a strangely humid dusky dawn, neither completely with the dreams nor with the morning. And, as if one saw a figure in the mist on her knees and palms clenched for a house, hearth and happiness. She must have meant what she said.

The woman, actually a woman only by her robe, quietly recommended prayer as personal and not quite liturgical. If we could call Wilfred simple because of his straight and straight-forward lines, we could. But while he filled in the blanks with his colours, he could be meaning much more.

When we saw them in the greys and with sagging expression they seemed dehydrated human animals amidst, as indicated, herbs and branches.

These people in Siddarth P. Battjewargi’s “In the Garden” (mixed media on paper) were those descendants of Adam and Eve, if we believed in the Book of Genesis, who for a very long time to come thought themselves as Adam and Eve. And how one makes sense of this anyone’s choice. But these people talked, groaned, mooned and waned and, perhaps, courted too.

However, they talked and they wondered with very little expression. But just what could they have been behind, beside being demure? “ In the Garden” is a painting from sculpture. A stoned mime that whispered stealthily, unheard.

Korean artist Chang Wan Chae, the third of the three, in his “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” might have been painting the “sensuous,” that is, of or derived from the senses, or, better still, the “sensory.” In any case, it is presumably of sensation and the senses if not all of the five.

In oil, acrylic, cocofibre and emulsion, the canvas was indefinitely hatched, and, stood vertical in all grey and black. The only visually coherent images was that of an eye. There could also have been an open black umbrella and some drizzle, if the hatched scratches constituted some. Or even and upright grey parchment lined by some ink scribbling.

Except for some really exquisite hatching at places in Chang Wan Chae’s works, it was often too dark to see.

Like his two other friends, Chang Wan Chae too got his advanced training (MFA) at the Kala Bhavana Visva Bharati, Santiniketan. By CHANDRANANDINEE TUSHAR



B&W 30-VII-98 / oil,acrylic,cocofiber,emulsion on canvas. 60x60cms. 1998.

B&W 31-VII-98 / oil,acrylic,cocofiber,emulsion on canvas. 60x60cms. 1998.


Indian ExpressSat. 5 September 1998


THE HINDUFri. 4 September 1998


???  31 August 1998