An exhibition of paintings by V. Hariraam
Video Screening of ‘Art and Elusive Peace’

Corinne on Hariraam_img1How would one feel about going to an art exhibition offering both abstract paintings by a contemporary Indian artist and a film about the arts in the Holocaust Museum of Berlin by this exact same artist?

What is the relationship between both and why would the artist want to present both at the same time? What is the message to be delivered, and what does want to be expressed?

Art is primarily for the one who expresses it and the one who looks at it. Art is mostly emotional and,whether you find it beautiful or ugly, it will trigger some chords hidden deep down in your psyche. And if you take the time to observe those same emotions you might even understand things about yourself you never thought of and it might help you to grow and evolve.It is a little like photography; one does not need to understand the language of the camera to appreciate a photograph. Something in you will react, regardless if the photographer has used a wider lens, small aperture or 100 or 200 ISOf Berlin, and even if you don’t have the wider clue about photography.Very seldom abstract art can leave you indifferent, abstraction is a departure from reality and the mind reacts differently to it. I personally tend to go with the post-Jungian who would see the quantum theories with their disintegration of conventional ideas of form and matter as underlying the divorce of the concrete and the abstract in modern art.

Art Historian Ashrafi S. Bhagat describes the artistic journey of V. Hariraam as having issued from his creative struggles, depressions, hallucinations and subconscious dreams like out-of-body experiences, intuitive guidance, soul searching and perceptual experiences; in other words, struggles that bore rich dividends of seeking and achieving abstract success. These are what lead us through his exhibition in Kala Kendra, Auroville, which has presentations of “Stellar Memories“ (paintings) and “Art and an Elusive Peace” (29 minute documentary about the Jewish Museum in Berlin) both newly produced in 2016.

Even though a few compositions have bright colours like red, pink and turquoise, the big juxtapositions of horizon bands and patches of black -sometimes geometrical, some lines, some verticals – dominate most of his works.There is a gloomy feeling that the mind does not really understand. It feels uncomfortable, almost like the place deep in the psyche where none want to go to.

After wandering in the dark and dysfunctional misunderstood part of the brain, what would be so meaningful about watching a movie on the Jewish Museum?

Corinne on Hariraam_img2I was in for a big surprise. The movie is remarkably deep, hopeful and, as a matter of fact, full of light.It opens up with words of deep Indian wisdom and mysticism, goes to the uneasy and painful experience of going through the museum and ends by a few shoots of art and everyday life in Berlin.

The steps of people walking through metal faces, looking like the Scream of the Norwegian painter Edgard Munch, will resonate in you long after the movie is over and with it what could seem like the still heavy heart of modern Berlin.

Nothing is light.Like the paintings, all remains quite dark, but somehow one understands the life force behind this allegory, and through it one has the perception of the beautiful soul of V. Hariraam. One has to go through a tunnel of misunderstood darkness in order to find the hopeful, divine light, and with it the life force that could help to change it all. Intertwined in what could seem gloomy, inert and slightly obsessive dysfunctionality, there suddenly appears the deep, the passionate, the genius! Like in a character of a Russian novel…

If you go to V. Hariraam’s exhibition and watch the movie simultaneously, you will see abstract art in a complete different light, and if you have never gotten to appreciate it, you might start to understand a dimension of the mind like you never did before.

The exhibition is on till the 20th of August at Kala Kendra. There will be a video screening and a discussion with the artist on Saturday the 6th of August at 4.30pm at Kala Kendra.


This article was written by Chana Corinne Devor. She is an art critic and writes for international travel and spiritual magazines.

Corinne on Hariraam_img3