Vision of Vishnu Chinchalkar
A true artist is never a blind follower of his predecessors, or a blind admirer of their works. He studies the tradition with a critical eye. Vishnu Chinchalkar, if viewed from this angle, can be, undoubtedly reckoned as a true artist. Vishnu received his art-training in traditionally recognized manner; and after completing the scheduled art-course, he worked for a considerable number of years on the same out-of-date lines, but accepted by the tradition. Painting thus without the least freedom, yet pleasing the taste of the decadents, Vishnu received general praise and recognition as a portrait painter. The art galleries and exhibitions of our societies, which were too slow to recognize the necessity for a new outlook in art, honoured Vishnu with coveted prizes, every year.
But to the disappointment of many of his blind admirers and colleagues, Vishnu revolted against the traditional manner and outlook, and he began to work the spirit of true artist, who craves for the new experiences which rouse him from the lethargy of custom. This happened near about 1949, and since then Vishnu has been working with the insatiable curiosity to discover new ways, free from the tyranny of the past. To a close observer of his personality as an artist, there seem two things mainly responsible for Vishnu’s departure from the academic tradition. First and foremost is his innate temperament and catholicity of taste, and second is his kinship with the FRIDAY GROUP, which has been a symbol of guiding spirit for him for all these years.
Gradually coming nearer to the understanding of basic values in art, the sphere of art to Vishnu Chinchalkar broadened beyond the domain of paints and brush. As can be seen from the present display, a blade of grass, a leaf, a broken twig, a pebble on the street, in short a variety of objects of nature, and a lot of things lying waste in the house, take a new form in the hands of Vishnu, and in turn they become the creations of ever enduring charm and beauty.
What is the secret of Vishnu’s power to create a great thing out of a small thing? It is his conviction that the artist is the connoisseur of visual pleasure, and he must take complete freedom from the studied mannerisms and dogmas to create a universe of visual harmony. Take any of his works, a figure of bamboo piece, a dancing figure of a twig, a figure conceived in the shape of a pot, one and many such creations are beyond the rigid rules of anatomy, proportion and perspective, and yet they do not fail, in the least, to send us into a mood of rapture. Here, Vishnu, like a real poet, taking the greatest freedom with the medium creates a sort of lyrical mood which is bound to uplift the spectator. He has no aim save the spectator’s pleasure and his own.