First published: Summer 2001
The art world of the last century produced some giant figures whose influence and achievement rightly made them legends in their own time. As the century progressed such personalities as Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Ernst and Dubuffet were unfortunately lost to us. It is hard today to find a figure of any real stature in the world of contemporary art and we are left with artists of immense commercial success but little lasting achievement; those on the cutting edge of fashion and trend whose works have an appeal that is distinctly temporary, at times even shallow or deliberately obscure.
Where are the great pioneering figures comparable to those of the last century?
Certainly not in the world of mainstream contemporary art. We then come to the extraordinary phenomenon known as Nek Chand Saini.
Some call him a saint or prophet, and certainly his spirituality is a powerful aspect of his presence, as anyone who has met him would testify. Others simply refer to him as a self-taught genius whose use of spatial relationships on such a massive scale could compete with the greatest of architects, whose giant waterfall sculptures are outstanding achievements of innovative engineering, and whose thousands of sculptures of human figures, creatures, even trees, capture the sublime serenity of perfect form.
See the Nek Chand Foundation website for interactive panoramas and more: nekchand.com
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #35