“There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him”
How does one define genius? An individual who doesn’t speak the language of the ordinary, someone whose vision defies stereotypes. Who decides the extraordinary? A bunch of book critics...art gallery owners…stuffy academicians! In a society that enshrines the ordinary, how does one understand a person whose vision is beyond the scope of the ordinary? It takes another man of exceptional capability, to appreciate and fathom a genius. A painter who unleashes his soul on the canvas, a scientist who challenges the conventional, the actor who refuses to compromise, musicians who strike an unknown note… Isaac Asimov, Sylvia Plath, Joyce, Kafka, Bach….the examples are far too many.
Stories of individuals who lived a misunderstood, tortured life, battling polarized opinions and dying in penury. Their work discovered and celebrated later – recognition earned posthumously. It took a Salieri to understand Mozart (and Salieri was Mozart’s most bitter rival). Did you know Einstein won the Nobel not for his path-breaking theory of relativity but for his little known photoelectric effect? Why? Because at that point of time it was beyond the comprehension of many – only two fellow scientists Silberstein and Eddington, understood its far-reaching potential. Ironic isn’t it?
I was going to witness the work of a maverick artiste – revered as God by many and labeled pretentious by a few. It is tough to define Anish Kapoor – an architect, a sculptor extraordinaire, an installation artiste. Hailed as one of the most influential sculptors of his generation, he is unfortunately mostly unknown in the country of his origin. I hadn’t heard of him, till he was invited to exhibit some his iconic work in the cities of Mumbai and Delhi.