PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION
Ink and pastel on paper
9 ⅞ x 9 ¾ in. (24.9 x 24.8 cm.)
Signed and dated 'Jogen 1980' lower right
Jogen Chowdhury is best known for his small format works executed in a combination of ink, pastel and watercolour using a distinctive crosshatching style that he developed in the early 1970s. The tight network of intersecting lines are usually reserved for the central figure or object which is set against a deep, black background, thereby increasing the overall visual impact.
His choice of imagery is extensive, ranging from the human figure, to fruits, flowers and an entire vocabulary of dream-pictures and imaginary beings. The figures themselves are infused with a slightly distorted quality, bordering on the grotesque. ‘They usually appear as clumsy, monstrous creatures, with demented faces, engulfed by flabby, pendulous flesh. Their bodies appear to be made of a rubbery integument as they heave and swell within the folds of musty, mouldering upholstery.’ (Deepak Ananth, ‘An Engagement with Reality’, India: Myth and Reality Aspects of Modern Indian Art, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1982, p. 59)
The current work was created at a time when Chowdhury produced an entire series from a cross-section of social milieus. Their moods are hard to read, ranging from satirical to a more complex psychology, but hinting at a ‘deep seated anger and loathing of certain manifestations of human nature. As the figures here are isolated, rather than placed in upholstered settings, the social origins of the artist’s anger are less defined, but not his insight into their deformities. Their faces provide the clues to their inner states: they rarely confront the viewer head on, or return his gaze. They seem to be slowly consumed from within, touched by a strange malaise that forces on them an enfeebling passivity.’ (ibid.)
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About The Artist:
JOGEN CHOWDHURY (b. 1939)