Sunday, November 6, 2016

Postmodern Encounters: Dumb Professors and Brilliant Painters in Kolkata

In Lalitkala Centre, Kaleidoscope had a friend who used paint masterpieces along with a group of brilliant guys. Kaleidoscope was a regular visitor there, during his university days. Often after long days of boring and endless lectures he used to spend hours looking at work of art in progress, plus he also loved the mixed smell of paints, inks, cigarettes and expensive perfumes which Kaleidoscope believes only painters could afford to! Not because of the price, but because of the right kind of smell.

Once, he saw one of the well known handsome painters framing a canvas with a simple yet elegant scratch mark. The painter declared it as an work of art! Kaleidoscope couldn't understand any part of it and let it be because that handsome painter was already famous for his swinging mood! However, Kaleidoscope managed the courage to ask a disturbing question - 'why should we call it an work of art?'

The Painter was irritated and replied 'an object is an work of art, in so far as people believe it as art!' He continued 'my task is to make them believe that this is art!' - you stupid!

During that period Kaleidoscope was taught postmodernism in an workshop and he shared the story of 'scratched canvas' with one of his professors. The professor said 'these are bunch of bullshits, you should avoid mixing with these people!'

The same professor tried to make Kaleidoscope and others understand some part of the postmodern philosophy! Quite obviously most of them found it dumb and bogus, and since then many of his friends have made fun of postmodernism as a philosophical position (not that Kaleidoscope is an admirer of it! but the point is, they hardly knew what it actually refers to!!).
Well, Kaleidoscope continued to mix with those 'bullshits' to understand the very nature of democratisation and postmodernisation of art. A work of art is anything that people think as an work of art, period!

After a very long time gap (almost 12 years) Kaleidoscope had a chance reunion with that handsome artist, who is now a bit old and wise to control his temper. He informed Kaleidoscope that 'scratched canvas' was sold in some 28k in 2005 and referred to one of the classics Duchamp's fountain. Kaleidoscope sincerely hopes that he would never become that professor in his life, but then he also knows, unlearning something is really difficult!

Duchamp's fountain, it is one of Duchamp's most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth-century art.   Taken from


  1. Such an impressive narrative and criticism

  2. You criticise beautifully kaliedoscope... cheers