Was it Art or just downright absurd? I think I deserve atleast $100 from Walls folks for what I am about to embark on in next few paragraphs
This year’s Magnum party was themed around an Art moment called Surrealism, a term coined in 1924 by artists who aimed to create something more real than reality itself. It was art to wonder and marvel at, not an art of reason and balance but most importantly it was subversive attack on rational and ‘civilized’ standards’ of art/beauty of that time.
At the party the decor, the food even the fashion presentations where designers Faraz Manan, Ali Xeeshan, Shamaeel Ansari and Nilofer Shahid presented their avant-garde couture creations reflected surrealism in an “artistically indulgent” way.
Nilofer Shahid (my fav of the 4) took Spaniard Salvador Dali’s paintings to heart as she brought through abstractions into reality from horrors of war and death to showcasing Rose Meditative on Fouzia Aman. Shamaeel Ansari worked with foliage and pleating weaving a fantastical dream that could very well transition onto red carpet.Faraz Manan with his metallic accents and hooded structures and Ali Xeeshan with his PSFW16 reworked pieces failed to make a mark for me.
Outside in the foyer area were art installations curated by Sameera Raja of the Canvas Art Gallery, between each fashion presentation there were contemporary dance performances by Wahab Shah’s troop. Where did they go wrong?
Problem lies with the demographic, our masses(most of attendees) are not attuned to look at things in abstraction. Abstracting _anything_ is an attempt to understand something as an idea or concept, rather than it’s literal make up. “How does this make you feel?” rather than “What is this, exactly?” We are so used to scanning for objects in real life and in representational art. Be it our beliefs or our daily choices we go for the direct apparent meanings and are constantly told not to divulge or stray.
Right after the event as a social experiment I reached out to 6 high flying celebs and magazine it-girls at the venue about their favourite painting or artist of any kind most of them were dumbfounded. Two said Mona Lisa. Needless to say one doesn’t become a peacock by sticking a few colourful feathers up their asses.
Although i’ll be labelled an elitist for this but borrowing from Pierre Bourdieu’s book called “Distinction:A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste”. “those with a high volume of cultural capital – non-financial social assets, such as education, which promote social mobility beyond economic means – are most likely to be able to determine what constitutes taste within society”. Whereas what I encountered at Magnum Part 16 was everyone from DingDong bubble to Reeta Imli crowd for lack of better words.
I feel the event would have undoubtedly have been less of a farce if organizers would not have chosen the event to be a crowdpleaser. Had it been exposed to a select niche handpicked for their interest in Fine Art then consequently the execution would have naturally become more valorised.and less shody vis as vis man in the tub for one.
Many would paint this blog as having been forced by PR but frankly even though I wish they paid me for this. I agree it was at times lowbrow and rather funeral-istic but personally Magnum Party is still hands-down much more welcome than the bridal monkey shows and loathsome lawn showcases every other day for the clothes were more profound and atleast it all led some people to google Surrealism and learn something
To say Magnum Party succeeded would be a stretch. As the results did look monstrous (atleast to balls scratching flip-flops wearing outsiders) but if one discards his prejudice and lets his fancy play he may come to share the artist’s strange dream. This is the classic case of offering strawberries to a monkey and the monkey still going for bananas.