The human figure has held a mysterious fascination for all humankind and for artists in particular. This exhibition explores the interplay between artists from different geographical regions who have expanded the definition of figurative painting over the past few decades. It has been rewarding to see that many of these artists have been championed over the years by their Regional Lalit Kala Academis. These artists are being celebrated at Crimson in “Nostalgia – Figuratively Speaking 2021”.
This exhibition, the continuation of the Nostalgia series at Crimson, offers a look at the sincerity of the art produced by some of India’s most acclaimed artists. Most of the paintings are between 10 and 20 years old and invoke ‘nostalgia. The oldest piece by artist Abdul Aziz Raiba is from 1969. Viewed together, they create a picture of artists who were at ease with themselves and their art. All these works, both playful and serious, were produced at a time when there was no art market to speak of and no infrastructure except for a few public and private galleries and a handful of collectors. There was a lack of art publications (there still is) and certainly no auctions of any sort. The artist was creating these wonderful pictures for himself and not for a market. See if you can feel the struggle by each of the artists, on their canvas or paper.
Thanks to our gallery’s longstanding commitment to the figurative tradition, the works displayed in this exhibition offer diverse and often remarkably unique ways of representing the individual. Each one of these works provokes us to reconsider the ways in which we see ourselves.
In an age that is witness to the explosive reach of smartphones, resulting in millions of ‘selfies’ and pictures of people performing in front of a lens, the artist has still continued to compel the viewer to explore his stories that engage people across the divisions in our community – economic, social, and cultural.
Ideas surge forward and influence a new generation of artists. In their constant quest for inspiration, artists constantly relive their past and travel to the place they spent their youth thus crossing both time and geographical boundaries. For this reason, most of the works are intensely personal.
There are cross currents of ideas. Visually differing and stylistically divergent, these artists nevertheless aspire to decode the meaning of life and its complexities.
There are two stories behind every painting that’s here … firstly, there’s the story of the painter’s subject or muse and secondly, the story of the artist himself at the time of painting that picture. These are the kind of personal histories that bind us all as human beings.