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Artist Profile2
An artist who stands out for an exceptional mode of conveying his concerns
Prajjwal Choudhury’s practice and pieces represent the dynamic contemporary currents and tendency that marks the thriving art scene of India, rightfully grabbing the worldwide attention. He has been devoting his creative power to an intense exploration of the developments and themes of tomorrow. The medium he has chosen to put across his point underlines his unconventional practice that can defy the set notions and boundaries, to surprise the viewer. His thought-provoking works of art that carry curious titles, such as ‘Where do I come from? Who am I? Where are I going?’, ‘Desire is Destroyed with the Destruction of Desire’, and ‘Nothing Endures but Change’ reflect his unconventional way of analyzing issues, emotions and concerns that surround our day-to-day lives.

In one such artwork curiously named 'Everything has been done before, but we would like to go back and begin all over again', shown as part of a group show 'Re-claim, Re-cite, Re-cycle', he set up a peculiar recycling machine seemingly functioning as a kinetic conditioned for reprocessing and reproducing matchboxes. There were no less than 2000 of them put inside the mixer falling constantly on a moving plate of steel. After getting accumulated and once the mixer was emptied, they would reenter it by a vacuum process and the recycling process begun. Obviously, here the artist seemed to comment over the manner in which everyday mundane objects tend to be taken for granted by all of us.

In fact, he invariably collects his preliminary fuel or basic material from such neglected objects as matchboxes to create his thought-provoking works. Those filled in the unique recycling machine were imparted with a realistic visual appeal, albeit laced with a touch of wry humor that deceived the onlooker about their latent intent. Their covers carried images of the artworks of several world-renowned artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Marcel Duchamp apart from those of many from India including Dhruva Mistry, Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, and Jitish Kallat, collating them into a captivating collage.

This exceptional mode of conveying his viewpoint exudes a realistic visual appeal, with a touch of wry humor, perplexing viewers. The idea is to make them pause and think on today’s undesirable pattern of recycling everything, including art. Apparently, he is trying to convey that the works being showcased today have already been displayed in one form or the other, earlier and would again be there to see for us with some changes. His satirical approach and a sarcastic way of looking at the phenomenon through his peculiar medium is indeed unique and attention grabbing. For example, in ‘Who Will Be Next’, he collates the images by established artists acclaimed internationally - to suggest what you are seeing now will revisit you, albeit served in a different manner. The images are universally familiar, largely owing to their heavy dissemination in today’s mechanical age.

Born in 1980, the young and talented artist from Kolkata did his B.V.A. (Bachelor of Visual Arts) from The Indian College of Arts & Draftsmenship, Rabindra Bharati University, followed by his M.V.A. from the Department of Printmaking, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda. A member of the Asia Pacific Artists Fellowship Program (2010) courtesy National Art Studio, South Korea, he was represented at the India Art Summit (2011, 2009) by Latitude 28.

The bewildering Banyan tree acted as the focal point, a mystical metaphor symbolizing India’s creative awakening, of a recent major international show at Vienna’s Essl Museum. ‘India Awakens: Under the Banyan Tree’, as its curator Alka Pande had put it, mapped the innovative approach of emerging contemporary artists, appreciated for their prophetic and artistic qualities. One name that clearly stands out is that of artist Prajjwal Choudhury. Apart from ‘India Awakens’ in Klosterneuburg (2010); other significant shows he has featured in include at the 12th Harmony Art Show (2006); International Print Biennale, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal (2005); 77th All India Art Exhibition (AIFACS) at New Delhi in 2004, apart from a group exhibition at M.S.U, Baroda, 69th All India Art Exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts (Kolkata), and 47th National Exhibition of Art in the same year. Among other shows are 18th All India Art Exhibition, Nagpur (2003); Two Men Show at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (2002), also having featured in a group show at the academy and the 3rd Eastern region Art Exhibition, Kolkata.

His socially sensitive oeuvre is primarily marked by its harking back to a particular concern. He touches upon the theme of a capitalist society driven by a consumerist attitude. It seems as if he is protesting the way we deploy and easily discard everyday objects. His art moves beyond the confines of canvas or sculpture and rather attempts at framing within his aesthetic space, uncanny phrases and visual assortments of the byproducts of recycling.

For instance, his series ‘Drift’ at Project 88 in Mumbai (2008) had works, which were a mockery of the beauty that a consumerist attitude aspires for, in actuality. On the other hand, his work that formed part of 'Re-claim…' (Bose Pacia, Kolkata 2009; curator: Bhavna Kakar) tried to document artistic imaginations and representations of recycling. Its latent idea, as stated above, was to perceive the process as an all-pervasive phenomenon, encompassing nearly every aspect of modern life - right from our desktops to the writing pads and bottles. Prajjwal Choudhury’s work is not only a visual delight but also a thought provoking experience. It makes for a sharp and subtle commentary. Though he is not necessarily judgmental or critical, his displeasure over the turn of things is something that he does not hide.