G R Iranna in race for a prestigious award supported by the Singapore Art Museum

G R Iranna is the lone artist from India whose work has been nominated for prestigious awards supported by the Singapore Art Museum. He will represent India for the inaugural Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize involving 34 artworks from 12 Asia-Pacific countries.

Many of his paintings depict pain as an abstract force translated visually in bruised textures and razor sharp cutting edges. They have always been far removed from an overriding, postmodern logic. Instead, he employs the idealistic, representative and modernist language of Indian contemporary art.

His work transcends the boundaries of time and space. Some of his remarkable works are all visions of resistance. In just a glance, one can notice a sense of massive dynamic energy that pervades the surfaces. Upon further inspection, one sees that these conflicts being played out on the surface are present also in those between one color and another, between figure and hue, and between the crudeness and the finesse employed.

These works on canvas and tarpaulin are symbolic of an important diversion in G R Iranna's oeuvre, symbolic of an attempt to break free from his own mold. They cater to contemporary expectations, and reflect his need to pander many contradictory demands - those of society as well as those of the artist himself.

Critics have often observed that G R Iranna’s work weans away from postmodern logic, and that it subscribes to the idealistic, representative language of Indian contemporary art. His style and the choice of material may indicate so! But the artist thinks that his approach goes much beyond the terms such as modern and the postmodern.

He has stated: “My work and my figures are illustrative of the spirit of human experiences that is timeless and immortal. My thought process has undergone a subtle yet definite transition over last few years. Of course, this is a natural process associated with any artist’s evolution and maturing process.” The artist looks to strike a chord with the viewers through his works. He cherishes their response as much as the critics’ pat.

To begin with, his work was largely based on personal memories and experiences. Now, his oeuvre has expanded immensely, and encompasses broader social concerns and issues that affect common people. This, he believes, has given his work added depth and intensity. His concerns regarding the present sociopolitical scenario find an echo in his work.

His work Wounded Tools nominated for the award is representative of the contemporary art in diverse themes, which the triennale award hopes to promote. The sculptural installation is made of fibreglass, iron, wood, acrylic coloring, cloth and artificial fur. It comments on the development of human civilization and its intrinsic follies.

G R Iranna has received national and international recognition throughout his career. His awards include a National Award from the Lalit Kala Academy (1997) and the AIFACS Award, at the show '50 years of Art in Independent India' in New Delhi. He would be keen to add another one to his growing and glowing awards’ showcase. The Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize event is promoted by the Singapore Art Museum.

There will be five awards in all - the grand prize of S$ 45,000, three juror's choice awards worth S$ 10,000 each and the people's choice award(S$ 10,000). This is among the highest art prizes to be awarded by the South-east Asian region jury.

According to Kwok Kian Chow, director, Singapore Art Museum, the quality of the nominated artwork is remarkable, and they will spark and stimulate lively public debate about contemporary art in the region.

To view GR Iranna’s works in the Saffronart catalogueclick here

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