New pop art feeds on toys, movies, comics and realities (With Images)March 5th, 2011 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Three animation box cutouts of Bollywood icons Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan greet visitors at the lobby of the Italian Cultural Institute that is organising a pop art exhibition here.
The heroes decked in suits worn by comic characters Superman and Spiderman, in shades of blue, red, yellow and black, are the centre of attraction at “Dadaumpop: From Dada to Italian Neo Pop” — the mega showcase of Italian pop art — that opened here Friday.
The Bollywood toy art sculptures were created by David Cesaria in Mumbai and Varanasi in 2009.
The sprawling exhibition space at the institute resembles a psychedelic party with fluorescent comic book images in bright colours, animations in oil paints, photographs and lambda prints jostling for attention with funny paper toy art and resin sculptures by 22 leading pop artists from Italy.
“India and Japan are pools of aesthetic inspiration for the new pop artists. Bollywood with its glamour, colour and attitudes is increasingly creeping in to the global kitsch space while Japan continues to feed the thirst for technical edge with artists like Takashi Murakami and the Manga comics stipulating the aesthetic text,” curator Igor Zanti told IANS.
The exhibition, though Italian in expression, blends the various movements in pop and kitsch art around the world, a post-modern artistic phenomenon, which began in Britain and the US in 1950s.
The pop art movement, which found an echo in French artist Marcel DuChamp’s work in 1920s and 1930s, was steered by artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Jones, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichenstein, who drew from the language of advertising, new age literature and popular consumer references to create a new genre of art that was driven by the need to make art a product for the youth and the thinking masses.
One of the earliest pop art shows at the London’s Whitechapel Gallery in 1956, entitled “This is Tomorrow” was presented by a group of British pop artists known as the Independent Group.
The language of neo-contemporary pop art is changing.
It has never been more whacky and profound at the same time as it is in this age of comic books, ‘masala’ movies, toys and teen icons - four metaphors that define its visual imagery in the 21st century, Zanti said.
“Pop art now has a new language. It is influenced by toys, dolls, the Japanese Manga comics, the cult of glamour heroes, fashion, social realities, politics, attitudes and the new human liberation.”
It is a mix of different influence, cultures and sub-cultures that often propels our daily lives.
“The gods of neo-pop are our stars from the movies, sports, music and glamour. It is the culture of the young people, a kind of holistic canvas that packs in the sensibilities of the time rather than specific images.”
Former Italian fashion designer-turned artist Flavio Lucchini, the ex-editor of the Italy edition of the Vogue and Conde Nast, speaks of the blues of the Milano (Milan) supermodels through his doll sculptures.
“The 82-year-old artist uses the woman’s body as a concept art to convey commodification of femininity. The models have been reduced to dolls on the fashion ramps of Milan in Italy, the high seat of global fashion. His art is ironic. Several models have died in Milan of stress and anorexia,” Zanti said.
Concept pop artist Fidia Falaschetti tells the story of the raging “mineral water brand war” in Italy through his mixed media composition “Hot Water Battle” that creates a battlefield of knitted bottles bearing the names of the leading mineral brands that flood shops in Italy.
“Buyers are confused by mineral water from France, Germany, Britain and elsewhere,” Zanti said.
The compositions often verge on the gory.
An animal brain bridge connects the island of Sicily to the Italian town of Calabria separated by a narrow stretch of the sea in the “Intelligent Bridge” by artist Florraine.
The islands are drawn in charcoal while the brain is a mash of animal brain tissues. The work became the talk of the country in 2009 when police went on a manhunt for the artist, whom they suspected to be a terrorist.
“The neo-pop art hits on the face and tickles the brain,” Zanti said.
The Embassy of Italy has brought the exhibition to India.
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Tags: age literature, amitabh bachchan, andy warhol, art sculptures, artistic phenomenon, comic book images, consumer references, exhibition space, jasper jones, marcel duchamp, oil paints, pop art movement, psychedelic party, resin sculptures, robert rauschenberg, roy lichenstein, shah rukh khan, takashi murakami, toy art, whitechapel gallery