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Artist Profile1
India's leading expressionist artist Chittrovanu Mazumdar
Chittrovanu Mazumdar's powerful body of work draws from a wide range of visual, musical or lyrical resources, references and influences. Composed of bold brushstrokes, layered figurative imagery, elements of collage and abstract spaces, his raw, near-expressionistic paintings evoke powerful emotions.

From his initial works akin to 'gestural abstraction', he has gradually adopted a visual language, which includes the form (or its subtle suggestion). Realism manifests in not only subject matter and artistic idiom, but also in the materiality and style of his works that tend to be subtle and critical, at the same time. He feels that art is a rather private act akin to a search within, though the end result may be inadvertently beneficial to society.

In an endeavor to attain the desired result, he employs style as subject matter vacillating at times, between the realms of abstraction and naturalism within a single frame. He may juxtapose text and the human body against a backdrop of Abstract Expressionisim. The artist is known to explore the bitter 'realities' in the contemporary society, digressing with the strong current of globalization and commercialization. Not only are there realms of realities, such as TV and Internet, but also many conflicting identities of one's own self.

Chittrovanu Mazumdar comprehends these complexities by looking to experiment with the formal possibilities of art. Stylistically reminiscent of the early combines of Robert Rauschenberg and David Salle, he situates his images with a spatial disposition that is attributed as much to captivating collage as passionate painting. Bold brushwork results in splashes of vivid colors simultaneously hiding and revealing the curious human form. The artist treats it as a metaphor of the individual lost in the complex urban scenario. He now also employs ready-mades, such as rope, bulbs, tube, and natural dyes, for his intriguing 3D-paintings.

The Paris-born, Kolkata-based artist studied at the Government College of Art and Crafts, Kolkata. He then studied Painting & Printmaking at Ecole Des Beaux Arts, Paris. Among his selected solo exhibitions are 'Ancient Earth', Apparao Galleries, Chennai along with 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai (2010); 'Undated: Nightskin', 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai (2009); a show at Royal Academy of Arts, London courtesy Gallerie 88, Kolkata (2005); one at Bodhi Art, New Delhi (2005); and 'New Work' courtesy Seagull Foundation for the Arts, Kolkata (2004). His selected group exhibitions comprise 'The Evolution of the Species', ICIA, Mumbai (2010); 'Size Matters or Does it?', Latitude 28, New Delhi (2010); 'Recycled', Bose Pacia, Kolkata (2009); 'Re-Claim/ Re-Cite/ Re-Cycle' by Latitude 28 at Travancore Art Gallery, Delhi and Bose Pacia, Kolkata (2009); 'November', 1x1 Contemporary, Dubai (2008); and ‘Altered Realities’, Aicon Gallery, Palo Alto (2006) among others.

Chittrovanu Mazumdar's practice takes a wide array of forms like paintings, video, photographs, music, and digital media. A glimpse of his dynamic art practice was provided at a recent event courtesy The Dubai International Financial Centre. His photographic works exploring rural Jharkhand’s enigmatic, almost lunar vistas were presented along with a single channel video piece and a floor projection. His ‘Ancient Earth' series at Apparao Galleries also included digital works inspired by the landscape of Jharkhand, a place of extremes, arid and scarred land that, as he put it, “becomes a panorama of that person's life - the person who gave up everything for love - a place where he's trapped and cannot seem to escape.”

What comes to the fore is his absolute sense of conviction that translates into an immersive experience for the viewer, transporting one to the realm of shadows the artist inhabits. Highlighting the broader motive of his practice, he has stated in an interview: “You only see a part of everything in this world, tinted by perception — there's always a mystique, waiting to be deciphered. I love to live in that anxiety, that moment of trying to decipher the shadows between words, the darkness that dwells there.”

The essence of Chittrovanu Mazumdar's art lies as much in its interpretation by an individual viewer as it does in his own unique vision, as he tries to capture those shadows, allowing the former to play a key role in deciphering their meaning. He employs several tools and media towards this end. His versatility is evident in his ability to do everything from metalwork to composing his own music. This fluidity between different media is a hallmark of his practice that seamlessly merges the video, the music, the digital effects of colour and texture to exude his deft touch, creating a composite whole.