The stairs that lead to the basement of Art Folio in Sector 9, Chandigarh, lead you to a display of artwork that is mysteriously titled, Urban Mythology. A treat to the eyes, the creator of these 14 works of art, city-based artist, Madan Lal, says he tried to portray mythology using 'urban' signs and symbols.
Made using acrylic on canvas, Lal says he creates his works in layers, with each piece requiring anything between 15 days to a month to be completed. "I work in layers and move from one layer to another, which is similar to the working of the human body that is also full of layers. The artworks in this exhibition, which I have been working on since 2010, are about the celebration of life," he says.
Lal, who also teaches at NIFT, SAS Nagar, says his inspiration lies in his observations. "I observe things around me, which are the sources of my inspirations. Elements, such as question marks, symbols of lights and sound, appear in my artwork. I give space to beautify my pieces further. I don't make things as they are, instead, I evolve them as I wish."
The end result, says Lal, is that he manages to achieve at least 10-20% of what he had originally envisioned. "Nobody can be a total achiever. When I don't get the right results, I take to a second canvas, followed by a third and so on. These 30 years that I have been a painter have gone in trying to achieve 100% results. Even if you reach an end, there is always a beginning over there," opines Lal, who says he enjoys art more than anything.
On being asked if he has ever faced 'artist's block', Lal says the block is actually helpful. "The block occurs when we get separated internally. At times, things get monotonous and to break this monotony, one wants something different. I consider the block to be healthy. Until and unless there isn't a vacant space, how will new things make place for themselves?"
The artist is happy with the changing vision of tricity residents towards art, especially with new galleries opening up. "Chandigarh is responding positively and respects art. Also, organisations such as the Lalit Kala Akademi play a huge role in changing the perception of people and generating their interest in budding artists," says Lal.
Of late, commercialisation of art has stepped up, and Lal says he has been recruited for some assignments too. But there are things that disturb him. "Earlier, theatre artists, painters and writers would meet and interact, which brought about many developments," he says, adding that a change in this regard is around the corner.
Urban Mythology will also be exhibited at Jhangir Auditorium, Mumbai, from January 23 to January 29.