For whom do we paint? This is a question that engages and haunts artists; and perhaps each new work is (fortunately) an unsuccessful attempt to answer it. The relationship between maker and viewer is that of a married couple, lovers or intimate friends: both can not comprehend each other completely, yet can not survive without the other. This link is indescribable yet it is indispensible, because every creative person in his/her studio often thinks and imagines about individuals who would be looking at the work and responding to it, either in positive, pleasant way or painfully with ignorant eye.
Despite the ephemeral association of an artist and his/her audience, one needs to measure in what way the presence or expectations of audience affect the act of art making. In his essay, Do Children have Bad Effect on Television, Umberto Eco talks about how the reality is moulded and modified according to the expectation and assumptions of spectators. So in a senseaudience or consumers of art play a significant role in the production of art.
This link between the maker and the viewer – if on the one hand is a means to contextualize art in its surroundings, at the same time it reduces it to it immediate setting. But is there a way out?The present issue of Art Now is a step towards discovering this chemistry/phenomenon; because when an artist is participating in a group show, he/she is creating, experiencing and participating in this dialogue between the image and its reader through work; thus the imagined presence and response of a viewer may contribute in shaping what is made in an artist’s studio/mind.
The relationship of art and its audience in our contemporary times, is discussed in the two essays, by Gemma Sharpe and Zahra Malkani. Both examine, with different points of view, the way an art work is approached and appreciated by the viewers. In his photo-essay Arif Mehmood captures this connection of audience and art in such a creative manner, that the distinction between thetwo diminishes. Urdu essays too explore the same theme, by presenting examples from familiar surroundings and contexts.
Present issue includes profile and interview of two major artists of our times. Rasheed Araeen and Imran Mirhave been exploring the aesthetics of minimal and geometrical imagery in their sculptures and two dimensional surfaces. The texts provide insight to understand their concerns and ideas about art.
Along with the news, book review and exhibition reviews, two significant international exhibitions/art events, Singapore Biennale and Art Dubai, are also reviewed. All of this is part of our effort to bring art and audience in close conversation, so whatever takes place in Pakistan or outside, is analysed and shared, because no language or word can exist/survive in the absence of listener/reader. Something that was illustrated by Nadine Gordimer. When asked ‘who she writes for?’, plainly replied‘for those who read my books!’