C. S. Krishna Setty
Sub-cover artist, Arts Illustrated
‘I am not that good at music, acting or writing. And I enjoy the process of painting. It gives me unbelievable satisfaction. For me it is like copulation. I believe that the purpose of art is to produce thinking and introspection. It should shake us into revelations and rip us from our default mode of seeing’.
An eminent artist, art critic and columnist, C. S. Krishna Setty is also the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the first Print Biennale India held in 2018, a recipient of the prestigious Honorary Membership of Russian Academy, and currently a member of the Tagore Fellowship committee, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
He constructs narratives that allure one into rather dream-like domains, and in the process reveal an ethereal platform that somehow seems more tangible than reality itself. Mostly in ink or pastel, his works seem to hold up a mirror to the society at large, reflecting back the collective fervour and intensity that constantly shifts and transforms with the tireless cycle of time.
Why do you do art?
As human beings we are different from other species and we need to express our thoughts. Being part of this beautiful and curious world, I have my own experiences and feelings, which need to be expressed. My inner being urges me to reveal those suppressed and unexpressed feelings. It has to come out, otherwise it becomes intolerable. And I am most comfortable with visual art; so that means paper, canvas, colours...
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
All these years, I have never planned my future and I am a baby of circumstances. Wherever destiny took to me, I have followed and I will continue to follow. So, I really don't know where I will be after five years.
If you could meet your artistic role model/inspiration, who would that be?
Over the years many national and international artists have shaped and inspired me. But my artistic role models are Anselm Kiefer and Antoni Tàpies. They have moved me through unusual modes of process and material. What great creators they are!
Who or what keeps you company while you work?
While working, I listen to music, that too Hindustani Vocal. I have a Carvaan music set and I select the artistes according to my mood at that particular moment.
How would you want to be remembered?
Basically, I am a painter; but due to some compulsions I took on art criticism, wrote art columns in newspapers for several years… For a while I headed the Lalit Kala Akademi. I was an organiser and administrator of many art fairs/events/camps… But it did not give me the satisfaction I wanted. So recently, I switched back to painting. I want me to be remembered both as a creative painter and critic, that's all.