Wondering how does something on a canvas come to life? Artist Ranbir Kaleka says, “When you look at someone in a painting, and then in movement, the painting stops being a painting, and the video stops being a video. It becomes a third thing.” It is that third thing which reverberates through Kaleka’s solo exhibition, Fables, at the Saffronart Gallery in the Oberoi Hotel.
Kaleka combines images on canvas with video projections to create a third visual experience. One of the works, Fables from the House of Ibaan, depicts businessman Naveen Ansal and his family. The artwork shows a man, a woman and their story painted on the canvas, wherein the changing colours create an effect that renders the painting a life-like appearance."An NGO, Khushi, wanted artists to work with celebrities. I spent some time working with Naveen (Ansal) and Raseel (his wife). I decided to paint a metaphorical version of the story they had told me," says Kaleka.
The metaphorical narrative depicts an empty jug being filled with milk by a woman (Raseel), while the man (Naveen) is shown getting up, picking the jug and then going out to face the world. The light keeps changing, representing the colourful cycle of time. “We understand time differently in still paintings; then there is
cinematic time,” says Kaleka.
“I have combined the two.” The exhibition comprises five works — three still moving images (video projections on canvas) and two digital prints on canvas.
A striking digital print on canvas is Conference of Birds and Beasts. Made during the Commonwealth games, it depicts the plight of the city-broken flyovers and an unfinished stadium. “A book by Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar called The Conference of, which is about self-searching, is one of the inspiration for this artwork,” says the artist.