Monday, January 31, 2011

Writings on Nude Artist at Art Stage(Singapore)

Nude artist 'taking a break'
By Yip Wai Yee

Indian artist T. Venkanna sitting with Mr Abhay Maskara, owner of Gallery Maskara. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
THE Indian artist who caused a stir at the inaugural art fair at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition and Convention Centre by stripping naked has stopped his attention-getting act.
The artist, Mr T. Venkanna, who sat on a bench in the nude and took pictures with visitors, was not in the booth on Friday.
Some newspapers had gone to town with the Hyderabad artist's act at Art Stage Singapore, questioning whether it could be considered art. A lawyer was quoted as saying the show could be against the law as it is an offence to appear nude in public. The art fair, which opened to the public on Thursday, is considered a public event.
The exposure proved to be too much for some people. On Friday morning, Gallery Maskara's owner, Mr Abhay Maskara, told The Straits Times over the phone that the gallery was asked to stop the performance. He did not say who advised him to do so.
He said: 'It is always a bit disheartening when works of art are not seen as art. We did not set out to create any controversy.


Upon reading this article, my first impression was to question the artist’s intention of stripping naked as display of his “art”.  Perhaps, he is trying to bring across the idea that art is beyond social boundaries and it is a free expression of oneself. Therefore, he seeks to appear naked to bring out the essence of striping himself off all social identities that people presume and present oneself in the most truthful state – Naked.  In my opinion, he has conceived a good theme or idea for his work, but it could have taken other forms and mediums, such as paintings or modern installations, which would also have well brought across his message while being appropriate.

Personally, I would not consider his approach to be a form of art as I feel that his actions are definitely offensive and rude to the social community, especially in a conservative Asian society like Singapore. Despite the artist himself claiming that his is a work of art, I believe that many would disregard that as there is really no artistic efforts or basic techniques applied to his work. Instead, it is simply the nude artist himself claiming the he is that “art”, while I see no artistic sense or logic in the whole idea of appearing nude.

Besides, I am unable to comprehend why the high charge of $250 for viewers to take a photograph with him. Firstly, it is highly over- priced. Secondly, it makes me question whether the artist is truly out to create art or simply to create a business opportunity for himself.  If this was truly art as he claims, shouldn’t art be accessible to all with no high price to pay? 

1 comment:

  1. The most-talked about 'art' are sometimes the most controversial also, right? The fact that he has got Singapore asking if his nudity 'is art or not'? is healthy proof that that artist has created something worth talking about. Compared to the thousands of artworks on sale in Artstage, not many had got more mention than his 'nudity as art' stunt.