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Artist Profile1
Moving with time and life around
Arunanshu Chowdhury’s recent works make an attempt to merge the historic and the contemporary (influences) via temporal as well as spatial convergence. His inimitable art making process involves piecing together of objects and events owing allegiance to cultures and histories with the aim of presenting a knotty sense of time and existence.

His practice draws inspiration from changes that take place in his immediate social and physical milieu. A keen observer of surroundings, his work is expectedly replete with objects, symbols and images identifiable with routine lifecycle. They are derived from diverse sources like TV and print media as well as personal memories.

In his creations - largely based on the ubiquitous urban environ he encounters - Arunanshu Chowdhury employs metaphors in sync with the broad theme of his compositions. His artistic temperament is largely shaped by the thrills of vivid visual discovery by way of screening maps, graffiti, old books, found objects, discards and fragments from sites that reveal the under layers of composite cultures and their interface/ interjection with the prevailing physical make-up of places.

His work addresses layered histories, hybrid encounters and the accelerated mobility/ transplant of objects and people in the age of global belonging – a facet of his work, amply evident in his latest series ‘Wind in the Willows’ just showcased at New Delhi-based Anant Art Gallery.

The artist’s construct of images harbor a strong visual and conceptual link to each other. They collectively build on the pictorial surface a unique artistic language imbued with socio-political significance. He perceives history as a repetitive phenomenon in nature, providing hints to both subjects and rulers about the tragic designs through which the roadmap of human ‘progress’ is laid out.

His analytical ability - enabling him to capture the historical sense of probabilities - coupled with his artistic skills result in his curious creations. The artist states, “The changes in urban landscape I notice reflect in my work. I am not merely referring to the cityscape. Rather I analyze it at a deeper level to bring out changes in values that concern me more as an artist.”

Arunanshu Chowdhury completed his masters in Fine Arts from the M.S. University, Baroda. He has had several solo exhibitions so far in leading art galleries across India and internationally apart from featuring in various group shows like ‘Metamorphosis’ at Asian Cultural Centre, New York, and ‘Trends and Trivia’ in Hong Kong. His works have been represented in the Beijing International Art fair. Earlier this year his show titled ‘Probabilities of Occurring’ was arranged by the Guild gallery and Gallery Sumukha.

In his latest series of work, the artist presents a painting ‘A load to Carry’ in which he highlights the exigencies of contemporary reality where survival and security lie trapped in the age old game of power and conquest, proposing the need for both subjugation and protection. Works titled ‘Pride’, ‘Power to the wearer’ and ‘Seat of Honor’ all use colonial imagery extracted from old magazines, loaded with suggestions of power play. They are compelling in their tongue-in-cheek irreverence.

The title work of his latest series ‘Wind through the willows’ comprises watercolor paintings that echo his sentiments of places and people encountered like those from his visit to China. He renders the delicate style of Chinese drawing with culture specific references and also domestic objects using destroyed old structures as a backdrop.

He is known to oft-repeat a thought or a composition, revising it for a new ‘version’ from a different perspective. According to him, it’s a chain of thoughts, which elongates itself. He explains: “The resultant artistic output is a take-off from the one preceding it, albeit employing the same image like an afterthought.”

Based in his observations of the day-to-day rigmarole of seemingly mundane actions with the sudden cropping up from the different segments of individuals and their entities, and then with his narration of the events, he looks to make a visual comment on contemporary times and issues.

Summing up his thought process, the artist says, “My work happens to move with time and life around. The latter is ever changing, and so is my oeuvre. An artist should be able to sense changes around – subtle and the obvious - and to be able to capture them through his or her works. My influences as a painter are linked with the contemporary attitudes.”