It usually takes an artist several months to put together an exhibit worthy of being displayed at a gallery. But for T Venkanna, his space at a city gallery has been booked for a whopping seven weeks, with not a single work ready. As part of a show titled Open Studio, the artist will set up shop at Gallery Maskara in Colaba, where for a month and a half, he will treat the space as his own studio — contemplating, creating and simultaneously displaying his prints.
“I’m going to treat this as my own studio,” smiles Venkanna, adding, “I’ll come six days a week, from morning to evening, and create prints using techniques like etching and woodcut.” The Baroda-based artist had created a stir earlier this year when he posed in the nude with visitors at an art fair in Singapore. This time too, his explicit works are expected to raise eyebrows. “My works centre around sexual imagination, violence in sexual acts and public response to sex,” he says.
For gallery owner Abhay Maskara, the exhibit is a way of collapsing the space between an artist’s studio and the gallery where he displays his work. “It’s an unconventional way of engaging with artists who work in isolation in their studios,” he explains. Along with prints that he will create during the stint, Venkanna also plans to display some of his older works. Audiences can visit the exhibit multiple times, and be assured of seeing a new development, as the works will progress daily. The aim of the exhibit, however, is not to teach visitors his craft. Maskara sums it up, “The intent is not to be like a workshop. Participation is more in terms of observing and asking a few questions, if required.”
Open Studio: Printmaking by T Venkanna will be on display at Gallery Maskara, Colaba from July 19 – September 4.