More than 70 artists from different disciplines interpreted legendary Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to create something original, at a three-day event, ‘Van Gogh Letters Retold’. The event, which ended on November 25, was organised by Art Lane at the Poona Western Club.
Inspired by the 900 letters Van Gogh wrote, most of them to his brother Theo, the artists tried to encompass the painter’s constant turmoil, his bipolarity, the melancholy he experienced as an artist and how, at the end of it all, he had hope.
This 5th edition of the exhibition by Art Lane had different artwork, ranging from installations, sculptures, paintings and products to poetry and photographs. Performing arts like dance, music as well as sand art and live painting that incorporated some essence of Van Gogh’s life were also present.
“This is an annual exhibition that we have been holding since 2016. Our idea is to give art to residents of Pune in a different way. We wish the artists as well as the viewers to have a different take on art, rather than the art galleries. Inclusiveness is our motto, so that established artists as well as emerging artists get to display their artwork at the same platform. We want all artists to come together. Many have been inspired by Van Gogh’s artwork but not his letters,” said Smita Raje Deshpande, artist and one of the co-founders of Art Lane.
Among the artpieces were Deshpande’s installation of a postbox with her photographs as postcards.
She said that people are losing out on handwritten letters and this needs to be revived.
Meanwhile, Manish Vedpathak, artist and co-founder of Art Lane, with her installation ‘Knotty Bunting’, which was a support structure with several coloured ribbons suspended from it, said, “The audience was asked to tie knots between the two threads. It is my interpretation of Van Gogh’s letters to his brother. The colours represents the emotions while the knots are the relations we have.”
Her painting, on the other hand, depicted the melancholy Van Gogh experienced when he was still searching for himself and evolving into the artist he later became.
“The exhibition encourages more and more artists to enter art. We also offer mentorship. We have had artists from Toronto, Dubai as well as Mumbai and Bengaluru,” said Vedpathak.
“After receiving a positive response, we wish to take this festival outside Pune as well,” said Vaishali Rajapurkar. Her installation, ‘Mightier than a pen’, tells how Van Gogh is often referred to have cut his ear off after his meltdown but one forgets to appreciate the hands that created the masterpieces.