Height 7 1/2 in. (19 cm.)
The current bronze sculpture belongs to a group of sculptures Padamsee created in the mid-1980s. Even though his paintings, both figurative and landscape, bear sculptural qualities resulting from his deliberate and careful use of a palette knife and lead to monumental, unique forms, Padamsee rarely worked expressly to create a three-dimensional form.
For approximately one year, Padamsee channeled all his artistic energy into experimenting with and understanding the nuances of this new medium, giving up both drawing and painting for this duration. 'It is an intriguing part of Padamsee's make-up that whatever he engages in he has to do singlemindedly. "It is to converge my energies to a single point of focus" he says.' (Ella Datta, 'Akbar Padamsee: The Spirit of Order', Art Heritage 8, New Delhi, 1989, pp. 40-41)
While trying to familiarise himself with the medium, he was fortunate enough to have the studio of his potter friend Jean Bhownagary in Paris at his disposal. He spent a couple of months getting accustomed to the potter's wheel and the texture and feeling of working with clay. Upon gaining some confidence, he sculpted approximately two hundred heads in plaster, and then chose just a handful to cast into bronze in limited editions of four. (The current work is a unique edition.)
For Padamsee, it was the process of creating the sculptures that became his point of obsession. 'Fingers held a certain way would shape the nose, firm indentations in the clay and the deep holes for eye sockets would emerge. He has become more interested in the act. "It is the process which engenders experience" he explains.' (ibid., p. 41) The results are mask-like heads with 'taut, wizened face rendered in craggy, fractured planes deeply gouged and pitted.' (ibid., p. 55)
'Apart from their startling, sinister beauty, which stems from more than style or technical expertise, his sculptures have a striking power or penetration and hold the possibility of visualising a tangible object which identification as the surrealistic subconscious is dredged.' (Nanak Ganguly, 'Akbar Padamsee's Sculptures', Akbar Padamsee Work in Language, Mumbai, 2010, p. 171)
The dark brown and green patinas of the original are close to the tones of the catalogue illustrations. Several minor spots of white pigment are scattered over the surface of the bronze. Dirt is visible within the deepest folds of the bronze. Good overall condition.
About The Artist:
AKBAR PADAMSEE (1928-2020)
AUCTION DATE: Aug 6, 2020 at 6:30pm IST