Time: February 6, 2018 to February 28, 2018
Location: Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata
Website or Map: http://www.aakritiartgallery.…
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Aakriti Art Gallery
Latest Activity: Feb 10
Rabin Mondal has almost completed seven decades of a glorious journey with his art without a break. In August 2015 he had a solo exhibition at Gorky Sadan of Kolkata, titled ‘Colours of Freedom’, organized on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Indian freedom. At the inauguration of the show he said in his speech that the basic inspiration of his creativity has been from a patriotic song by Rabindranath Tagore: ‘whoever may quit you, I will never depart, Mother’ (‘Je tomay chhare chharuk ami tomay chharbo na, Ma’). There was no dearth of problems and impediments in his life but he had never taken leave from his creativity. Consistency is his basic trait, consistency not only in practice, but also in form and expression.
His ‘King and Queen’ series that started around second half of 1970-s and culminated during 1980-s was his magnum opus, as Siddhartha Basu truly indicated in a catalogue introduction on Mondal’s art. Mondal had written an article on this series in 1985, where he mentioned of the tragedy behind the devastating power that the king embodies. He told of the treatment of space in these works, where he kept the background untreated to highlight disastrous void from where ‘power’ asserts itself. In a painting of 1982 titled ‘Man Acting As King’ we find the king, who is our day to day known character, sitting pensively on a chair with a blooming flower in his hand. Here is a contradiction between the beauty and the void. This is an example of an ideal work of Rabin Mondal, where in spite of presence of cubist angularity there is dominance of Indian tribal and folk form. In this neo-primitivist attitude Mondal unites the local and the global.
The paintings that are presented in this exhibition at Aakriti Art Gallery are the products of his late life done between 2008 and 2016. Most of the works are in small format and depicts human faces. Only three paintings are there that deal with different subjects. There is an image of Ganapati, a running bull and one early painting of 1989, which is narrative in nature, where a tribal woman offers flower to a tribal man. An old man sits on the floor beside them. Above him a sarcastic cat casts a humorous look at the couple. Here the artist shows the beauty of love in the life of people near to the soil. This is an example, where the artist creates a positive attitude to life. Despite an environment of tribal folk, cubist angularity is minimal here. The artist creates his own concept of beauty. In the running bull, which was done in 2011 there is force and dynamism but no violence. In the construction of the face of the bull there is some sort of cubist angularity, but in the remaining part of the image the linear movement is the point of prime attraction.
The remaining works are of various sorts of faces, some are mask like, some are melancholic, some appear happy and enjoy the light of life. What engages the spectators is there process of construction, their linear attributes and the conversation between linearity and chromatic exposure. With all these the artist creates multifarious expressions of life where tribal forms are synthesized with lyrical village folk forms. He thus projects an attitude and ideology of neo-primitivism.