Artist Kashinath Salve’s house in Thane is a testament to his abiding passion: printmaking. Stacked on the floors and under his bed are neatly bundled collections of prints. And even though the 71-year-old artist seems frail and has been homebound since mid-2015 (post a spinal cord surgery), his eyes light up when we speak of platographic prints.
Over the last three years, Salve pooled his savings, travelled across the country, meeting artists and creating limited-edition prints of their works. His single-handed efforts to popularise this lesser-known form of printmaking caught the attention of Ravindra Mardia, curator of the Worli-based ICAC gallery, who helped him organise an exhibition and publish a coffee table book documenting the discipline. 111 Platographic Expressions, the title of the book and the exhibition, is the fruit of Salve’s efforts and features art prints by artists like Akbar Padamsee, Satish Gujral and Krishen Khanna.
The book profiles the artists whose works are featured, explains the process involved and even has photos of the artists signing the prints. “The idea is to create awareness about these prints. Even though they are reproductions, they are signed by the artist and are affordable to those who cannot buy an original,” says Salve, explaining, “So, while an original by a master might cost several crores, a platographic print at the exhibition costs a fraction of that, at around Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,20,000.”
Salve has been dedicated to printmaking over the course of his extensive career (three decades as a professor of painting and drawing at the Sir JJ School of Arts, three-time State Award winner). He also worked alongside some of the printmaking greats like Krishna Reddy and Jyoti Bhatt. After his retirement in 2001, Salve realised that students lacked facilities to pursue printmaking in the absence of a press, inks, chemicals and rollers. It spurred him to run a basic workshop at the Robert Money Institute on Grant Road. However, things came to a halt once the building went for redevelopment.
Salve’s eventual aim from this exhibition is to help people learn the craft: “With the funds generated from the sale of the prints and the book, I hope to start a printmaking studio in the city,” says Salve.
So far, the exhibition has seen sales of 40 portfolios of five prints each. Post this exhibition, the show will head to Baroda, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Paris.
Platography vs Lithography
Considered to be an alternative to lithography (where drawings are transferred to a stone), platography is a European art that involves the image being transferred and drawn on aluminium or steel plates. Consequently, the image is printed on a hand-operated machine, and each print is considered a limited edition. While lithography a dates back to the 18th century, platography is a mere decade old.
Grab a copy
111 Platographic Expressions is available at ICAC Art Gallery, Atria Mall Worli
Price: Rs 2,500