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Art Exhibition

‘The (in)Visible and the (un) Revealed’: Inside the secret worlds of Kartick Chandra Pyne – a survey show at Emami Art

Emami Art presents “The (in)Visible and the (un) Revealed: Inside the Secret Worlds of Kartick Chandra Pyne,” the most comprehensive survey exhibition of the artist in the recent times. The exhibition brings together a large body of his works from an extended period of his creative life, mostly from the collection of Emami Art, exploring the artist’s complex artistic philosophy and practices and also their manifold significance in our contemporary world.

A prolific and highly original modern painter, Kartick Chandra Pyne (1931-2017) embarked on his long artistic career in the late 1950s when the world and the very definition of what constituted art was rapidly changing. He, like many of his contemporaries, was deeply influenced by the tentative spirit of the time and adapted to the languages of western modern art, moving away from academic realism which he excelled in as a student of the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata. His mature works in the exhibition, include Bird in a Cage, which fetched a record price at a Sotheby auction in New York, 2005, an event that made Kartick Pyne overnight a big name in the art world.

A significant part of the show is devoted to the paintings of the imaginary world, which reveal an enigmatic phenomenon combining the visible and subliminal, mimetic and metaphorical in a rich affective pictorial language of eroticism. An inveterate introvert, deeply immersed into the world of religious devotion, Kartick Pyne attempts a kind of rooted cosmopolitanism, in which the eclectic synthesis of the Indian imagery and international idioms of modern art is used to express his intimate and personal emotions and the local realities. His famous painting Moon Bath, selected for the landmark Asian Artists Exhibition: Modern Asian Art at Fukuoka Museum, Japan in the 1970s, was inspired by both Matisse and the Purnima night at his Thakurbari (temple house).

The survey show will display works of K C Pyne spanning over sixty-years of his artistic career, including his early art school studies and late paintings; the exhibition will help viewers to understand the complexities of Kartick Pyne’s eclectic style, which, though look like naïve or outsider art, are firmly grounded on academic training. The show will also have memorabilia from the artist’s life including old photographs and family albums, personal hand written letters, exhibition catalogues, educational records, sketches published in newspapers, old review articles, awards and a documentary film on his life.

“I remember, when I was in Madras (now Chennai) around the 1970s, I used to visit Delhi occasionally for personal reason and whenever I had time, I would visit art galleries at Connaught Place. In one such visit to Dhoomimal Gallery, the owner Mr Mahindra Jain showed me a number of paintings by Kartick Pyne and I was instantly moved by the works which were original, individualistic as well as spontaneous, and depicted indigenous subjects in a surrealistic matter. The paintings were colourful and the images were fancifully distorted with free whimsy by the artist. I was amused and instantly liked them. It is interesting to note, that even we who were from Kolkata were unaware of him. But Mr Mahinder Jain had discovered him and used to visit his studio in Kolkata to get his works for the gallery in Delhi.” said eminent artist Shri. Jogen Chowdhury.

“My father is an artist, who was fully engrossed in his world of art. He worked almost daily until the end of his life, as long as he could hold the brush to paint. He lived in the state of endless dream, which often surfaced in his work. It was not the fame or official recognition of his work, which came late in his life, that interested him. What truly interested him was the viewers’ reaction to his paintings. It happened quite often, when I returned home from one of his exhibitions, he eagerly looked at me and asked “Did anyone talk about my painting? Did they understand what I wanted to say in my work?” His life-long sadhana (devotion) was to communicate his ideas to others through his paintings. He lived the life of an artist, doing only painting and nothing else. But he did it extremely well.” said Apan Pyne , K C Pyne’ s son.

“I am very happy to announce that Emami Art is hosting a survey show of Kartick Chandra Pyne from 17th March 2021 onwards. Kartick Chandra Pyne was one of the most significant modern Indian artists of the post-Independent era. Although not widely recognized, he was one of the few modernist painters whose work show a distinctive style and thematic approach, moving away from the academic training into an intimate, personal approach. We have done a vast research for some time and collected several interesting memorabilia to be showcased along with the artworks. I believe, this survey show will facilitate viewers, scholars and art lovers to familiarise themselves with the significance of his creative oeuvre and lead to the rightful reassessment of his place in the history of modern and contemporary Indian art, ” commented Ms. Richa Agarwal, CEO, Emami Art.

The exhibition opened on 17th March and continue till 12th June, 2021 at Emami Art gallery.

Kartick Chandra Pyne

Born in 1931 in Kolkata, Kartick Chandra Pyne studied painting at Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta between 1950 and 1955. A prolific and introvert artist, his work was shown as one of the hundred exhibits representing modern Indian Art in the historic exhibition at Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, 1979. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, Bajaj Art Gallery, Mumbai, Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Kolkata, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, among many others. A retrospective exhibition of his work was organized by Aakriti Art gallery, Kolkata, 2006.

He was the recipient of prestigious Shilpi Maha Samman and Abanindra Puraskar of the Government of West Bengal. Rajya Charukala Parshad made a documentary film on him “Line, Story, Design,” released in 2017.

Kartick Chandra Pyne died in 2017.

About Emami Art

A destination for Modern & cutting – edge Contemporary Art, Emami Art is a one-of-a- kind art space built in keeping with international standards. Positioned as a key destination for artists, visitors and art collectors, the gallery aligns with the Emami Group’s mission to support artists & artisans and contribute to society’s wellbeing. A regular programme of curated exhibitions, includes the works of new talents and eminent masters of regional, national and international repute that aligns with the promoters’ ideology that while the popular contributes to the academic, the academic uplifts the popular. Spearheaded by Richa Agarwal, Emami Art’s new 10,000 sq. ft. art space is located in the Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC), a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary interactive art centre, off Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, Kolkata, India.

By Rameesh Thaithodiyil

Founder, OpenArt

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