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Realm of Reality and Illusion

Updated: May 24, 2021

Proyecto Experimental ‘Sponte Sua’

by Alka Chadha Harpalani

“What is natural does not have to be a representation of something. I’m working on a thing that is a reconstruction of a starry sky, and yet I’m making it without a given from nature. Someone says he uses a theme from nature can be right, but also someone who says he uses nothing at all.”
- Piet Mondrian

Human mind is always full of scientific, rational, mythic, poetic or religious notions. There has always been some connection between fantasy and real world. Controlled and uncontrolled conceptions portray the play of conscious and subconscious mind. Claudia Garcia is an artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who coordinated a successful virtual exhibition Sponte Sua in the months of March and April 2021, with 180 participants from 42 countries. It means ‘of one’s own impulse’ in Latin. The inkling of ‘The Dream’ is to generate activities to cultivate the ability, creativity and awareness in all the people to express themselves artistically, whatever their condition. She has created magic in origami as well as has rendered two cranes, a symbol of peace in the world, giving a contour to her musing, in her draft of the exhibition. One can see assorted manifestations: painting, drawing, engraving, sculpture, mail art, digital art, photography, origami, ex-libris - an engraving and stamps often found in books, collage, textile art, visual poetry, sumi-e - a Japanese technique with inks, poetry, kirigami- a Japanese paper technique, paper art, fluid art and more.

Claudia Garcia with the catalogue of Sponte Sua

Fragmented representation of the vastness of sky, trees, reflections in water and boat can be seen in the ‘Fisherman’ series of Emily Shih, where one can see the diversity and changes of sea which surrounds Taiwan, in a direct, profound and delicate way in simple and concise colour blocks. Juan Elani Tulas’s styropor - 'red moon' is a dream about a man contemplating about the big red moon. Subconsciously it is he himself, dazed and confused, afraid and tired, pondering about the pandemic and hoping for it to end soon. ‘A cloud of dream’ by Joaquin Gomez, Espana is a very interesting mixed media work where thread has been used to create a ladder hanging on a cloud made out of shell; the rough texture of stones on the ground is created with collage of papers and a crushed can is the another attraction in the composition. Irene Ronchetti’s print has a stencil cut blue bird, shell, eyes, fish connected yet maintaining their separate identity in catching the attention. RF Cote from Canada has made another intriguing collage where the head of the woman figure has been marked by a stamp, feet with wheels and red lines dividing as well as adding to the space. Like Ian Thom said, “A painting has the power to condense fifty impressions in one image”, in Alka Chadha Harpalani’s mixed media there is a play of overlapping layers of effects to integrate personal sensations of ‘togetherness’ with two overlapping heads, boats and origami birds hanging over them and planks of thankfulness and blessings. Her thoughts are impregnated with coloured profundity of space enriched with feelings- an amalgamation of images, textures and calligraphy. In Tictac Patrezia’s artwork the space is acting as positive area and highlighting the elements, where the line created by stapled paper is automatically adding to the composition. Juan Imaginero’s meticulously done kirigami echoes amazing shadows peeping through cutouts of animals, trees and men.He is the only one who has worked in this technique.

Emily Shih

Joaquin Gomez

RF Cote

Alka Chadha Harpalani

Tictac Patrezia

Juan Imaginero

Kaveri Raj from India wants to indicate that “tiny things can change the mood of the day and can keep one alive and sane in the difficult times” and has painted the elements like a girl knitting the fabric of 2021 with the threads of 2020, a bird in a cage and birds flying free. Neerja Peters has played with the lines to portray dreams which form an integral part of one’s being (Atman), depicting how the countless fragments of subconscious mind and happenings around converge in the depths of slumber to weave the dreams, magnifying some hidden desires, aspirations, fears and also create something absolutely new. According to her, “The dream state (Swapna) is represented by the silent ‘u’ in Aum, which is the sacred sound and spiritual symbol- the essence of ultimate reality and consciousness. The verses 3 to 6 of the Mandukya Upanishad enumerate four states of consciousness: wakeful (jagrat), dream (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti) and the state of being one with self or transcendence (ekatma). These four are A+U+M+ ‘without an element’ respectively.” Mirta Graciela Maldonado from Argentina has also generated rhythmic, linear and continuous patterns in black pen on a paper. Sebastian Molina’s work shows a girl with melancholic expressions, resting her arm on the back of the chair and lost in her own world. Renato Ulloa, Ecuador has facial features telling their own story to read, divided by intersecting geometric forms. Ivan Contardo from Chile has made ‘Dream Geometry’ materializing into a shape of landscape with twists and tears of blue, red, yellow and green papers. Senay Bozkurt from Turkey feels that ‘dreams are like mirrors. Sometimes one sees what might happen to one in them while sometimes gets lost in one’s own dreams.’

Kaveri Raj

Neerja Peters

Mirta Graciela Maldonado

Ivan Contardo

Susana Abbona from Argentina’s monochromatic composition has a couple looking tiny against the huge wall of a building. One can feel the emptiness of the space. The search through abstractions can be seen in landscapes by Mirta Islaz from Argentina; and fluidity of colours of Zhena PranoArt- Vincenza Maiorino from Italia and Alfanso Caccavale from Italy; black random patterns drawn by Liliana Teresa Bos from Agrentina; ‘The kiss’ in the splashes of colours by Ruben Molina from Venezuela; Impasto landscape by Vone Garcia from Brazil; Martha A Moreschi from Argentina has painted ‘The offering’ where the two figures of man and a woman has to be found in the ambiguity of colours and brushstrokes. Marisa Carabajal from Argentina has beautifully painted monochromatic feet with a few water drops shining and a white flower covering them. Mukesh Saini has shaped ‘Dreams of nature’ with dry pastels on handmade paper, an extract from his series of 1995 done in Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal, “trying to search for a divine source, grac e- the Brahm Gyan; and ultimately the path of salvation within the tangible-intangible sculpture of Hinduism.”

Susana Abbona

Mirta Islaz

Vincenza Maiorino

Alfanso Caccavale

Martha A Moreschi

Marisa Carabajal

Miriam Graciela Villarroel from Agentina had painted a mother holding a child, sitting on a ledge, and the thing that makes a simple scene intriguing is the effects of the torn paper through which it is peeping through. Calixto Saucedo from Argentina had digitalized three elements: Home made out of cardboard, paper boats, coins, a baby and a toy car. Johanna Meza Fuentes from Ecuador has exquisitely painted the strands and the swirls of hair of a girl lying next to her cat among flower; Minimal approach of an expression with a simple, calligraphic or signature slip on a plain base by Cinzia Farina from Italy is eye catching; Another one is haunting ‘Red dream’ flowing in the textual rhythms and abstractions of accidental textures by Muberra Bulbul from Turkey. Sabela Bana from Espana and Maria Eugenia Quiroga, Felipe Cabezas from Espana have brought out amazing formations with origami.

Miriam Graciela Villarroel

Calixto Saucedo

Cinzia Farina

Maria Eugenia Quiroga

Jean- Jacques Rousseau very aptly said that “The world of reality has its limits…the world of imagination is boundless.” Adding more range and potentials to the exhibition are the Photographs by Silvia Maidana from Argentina with one red gateway standing out among the black and white trees. Marina Bruni has clicked white flowers with Holy cross getting merged in the blurred background. Ana Maria Jankech has sensitively clicked a child’s photo who dreams of being a musician, with hands holding his instruments and toys hanging against white drapery. Digital work by Daniel Santise from Argentina, Maya Lopez Muro’s ‘Reflejos’ with a woman adoringly looking at her silhouetted two cats and ‘Invisible theatre event’ by Grant Guy from Canada. Collage by Ricardo Zeballos, Ina Ripari, Mariano Lo Gerfo and Enzo Correnti from Italia and Origami birds by Silvana Mollo from Argentina are a few more attractions of the show. Play of blue textures in the printmaking by Suna Ozgur Karaalan from Turkey; Ex-libris by Marisa Cuello, Cecilia Vaccarezza; stencil cut by Claudia Escot from Argentina; Juan Angel Italiano from Uruguay; Adolfo Chunga Escolar from Ecuador pulls the eye too. Sculpture by Yousuf Alrwahi from Oman; Evelien Ermers from the Netherlands; Heads of children placed over a rod stuck in green grass, cut off from cellphones by Santi Bosch from Spain are the inescapable magnetisms. Rodrigo Tacacho, Hilda Noemi Ventureira, Sarah Petrone, Graciela Motela, Martha Romero, Darcy Tartonese and Graciela Vodicha from Argentina have contributed with their poetry and made the show a perfect blend of words and images.

Sylvia Maidana

Maya Lopez Muro

Grant Guy

Recardo Zeballos

Suna Ozgur Karaalan

Cecelia Vaccarezza

Juan Angel Italiano

This venture is a feast to the eyes, enriched with the striking and stimulating artworks, artistic approach with enigmatic imageries, and a countenance with the expressions of dissimilar cultures. There is a juxtaposition of expressions establishing new connotations- logical or illogical. The art embodies intriguing variations full of fantasy, hallucinations, dreams, myths and more. At some places the images dissolve in luminous haze, while at other the forms starkly standout with clear depictions, balancing between realm of reality and illusion. One can see different degrees of aggression to ally, a viable personal pictorial language.

(All images are courtesy of Alka Chadha Harpalani, Claudia Garcia and the respective artists)


Dr Alka Chadha Harpalani is an artist, researcher, writer, poet, and has worked as a professor. She is involved in an e-learning project by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource and Development) by Dayalbagh University, Agra. Editor of the journal Artistic Narration (Anubooks) for over 10 years and recepient of many prestigious awards and honours, she has held and participated in many all India and International exhibitions, and published research papers and articles in renowned art journals, newspapers and magazines.

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1 Comment

May 17, 2021

Dr. Alka, thank you so much for writing this amazing article about artist and their works. It’s not easy to introducing so many artworks in the exhibition. Thank you for your time and effort. The article is rich with felicity of expression. Much appreciated !

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