Dear Frederic & Kaustav,
Please allow me to respond to both of your posts simultaneously. If you can go through my earlier post carefully, nowhere have i objected to the artwork per-se apart from commenting over kaustav’s choice in choosing as he himself puts it, Quote: “I’ve been to the Taj Mahal & I simply love it’s great architecture & the work of art; but now, after looking at this Matte-Painting, if I was given a choice between the two, I’d definitely choose to visit this fantasy place, created by you!” Unquote.
By your latest posts i have come to know that both of you have visited the Taj and have appreciated the same for its outstanding quality of craftsmanship and enduring architectural value. From what i have seen and understood about the matte painting, it was created with an intention of doing something different, “Not dark and scary but beautiful and hopeful”, if i may take the liberty of quoting frederic. In the same expanse, i quote Al Serov “From my personal opinion, there is nothing wrong with having a picture of Taj Mahal as a reference. It is practically impossible to recognize it in the final image.” It would be wrong to say that one cannot recognize the Taj in the final image since any person knowledgeable about it can instantly recognize the facade and the minarets as well as the pathway leading to the structure itself, but instead of the dome of the mausoleum one can see the head of sphinx seated behind doubling up as the dome with the backdrop of egyptian pyramids. To me, this seemed like a clear de-construction of the Tajmahal or rather disfigurement, since as i mentioned earlier it holds a lot of sentimental value to many across the world in general and to Indians in particular.
Now, coming back to my earlier post regarding kaustav, appreciating works of art at the cost of forgetting ones cultural roots and traditions seemed wrong to me since it was plain and clear that what i saw was the artistical disfigurement of the Tajmahal, and as someone who respects it i pointed out the same though not this elaborately, which in my hindsight i feel i should have. As all debates go, i respect both of your opinions on your piece of art if that is the way you guys want to depict and view it. But as far as my view is concerned apart from the technical finesse with which the matte has been executed, i still see this as something dark and scary since the dome of the Tajmahal seems to have been injested by the sphinx, while cleopatra looks beautiful in the foreground and hopeful too, foreseeing the arrival of caeser, Maybe.
PS: This is still my personal opinion.