Existential angst comes to life in Sudhir Patwardhan's new collection of paintings
The contemporary artist now presents his take on life in the pandemic through his new collection Portraits of an Existential Artist
With a career spanning 50 years, Sudhir Patwardhan is known for his cityscapes and depictions of everyday life. The contemporary artist now presents his take on life in the pandemic through his new collection Portraits of an Existential Artist. The collection, which chronicles his personal experiences of being a working artist during the pandemic, is existentialist and nihilistic in tone. “The works are a reflection of many different things we are experiencing today — the pandemic of course, it’s unequal effects on different social classes, and the growth of intolerance and hatred being fostered around us. The impulses that lead me to this work are also to do with my feelings of discomfort with art and about what art means to me,” the 73-year old artist says.
This discomfort is visible in these paintings unmistakably. In the acrylic piece titled Tear, a figure can be seen literally tearing an artwork into two pieces. The muted colours and brush strokes also amplify the feeling. In the painting War I, an homage to The Legend of the True Cross by Italian painter Piero della Francesca, we can see a figure stabbing someone on a canvas. “The representation of ex-treme violence in art always intrigues me. The aggression is a response to the metaphorical condition rather than actual physical confinement,” Sudhir adds. The paintings are all made in response to being confined, and to being cut off from other people and alienated. “The artist’s job is to question everything, including himself and his work. Today I may feel diffident and frustrated. I must express that. Tomorrow I may feel differently and my expression will change. It is about the truth of that moment,” he sums up. The show is on display on the website of Delhi-based Vadehra Art Gallery.
Until February 23. Online