City Culture – De Bhasar, Connaught Place
The philosophy of nonsense.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
‘Sangita, I fuck you.’ ‘Your mother’s cunt’. ‘Book a cock.’
The Delhi Walla saw this calligraphy in Connaught Place, Delhi’s colonial-era commercial district. They are depicted in the dusty glass panelled sky roofs of Palika Bazaar parking. The glass pyramids jut out into the park above that is frequented by the jobless, the lovers and the homosexuals.
Some panels have sketches of uncircumcised penises, alongside what appeared to be mobile numbers.
“So De Bhasar has arrived in Delhi too,” says Peter Schjeldahl, art critic of The New Yorker magazine, by e-mail.
According to Wikipedia (if Wikipedia can be accorded to), De Bhasar or Bhasarism is a cultural movement that began in Nantes, France, during the post 9/11 Gulf War, reaching a tipping point between 2007 to 2009. The movement involves graphic designs and literature – masturbation manifestos, G-spot theories – which concentrates its anti-sentimental politics by rejecting prevailing standards in aesthetic birth-control measures through anti-catholic works. In addition to being pro-bourgeois, De Bhasar might also be regarded as pro-Berlusconi in nature.
Comparing the movement to the Occupy Wall Street protests, Schjeldahl says, “Like the Nigerian artist Jonathan Mavua Lessor, who included a Jimmy Choo silhouette in his Pyongang retrospective, De Bhasar reverses a revolution achieved by John Berger. He embraces a trend in what Alternative radio broadcaster David Barsamian has called “kitchen sink masquerading as rain forest, as opposed to Lady Gaga masquerading as an Amazonian alligator.”
Domestic dailies have kept mum on De Bhasar, save for one.
Writing in The Hindu, Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman, Press Council of India, says, “At a particular historical juncture, ideas become a material force. For instance, the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, and of religious freedom (secularism) became powerful material forces during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and particularly during the American and French Revolutions. Now, it’s India’s turn with De Bhasar.”
Not far from me in Palika’s impromptu art space, a De Bhasar devotee is at work; his fingers deftly making wide strokes on a dusty glass panel. After finishing, he reveals its content. It says:
i m fuck
De Bhasar arrives in Delhi