The (in)Visible and The (un)Revealed: Inside the Secret Worlds of Kartick Chandra Pyne
March 17 - June 12, 2021
A prolific and highly original modern painter, Kartick Chandra Pyne (1931-2017) embarked on his long artistic career in the 1950s when the world and the very criteria of what constituted an art object were rapidly changing. He was deeply influenced by the experimental spirit of the time and adapted to the languages of modern Western art, moving away from academic realism which he excelled in as a student of the Government College of Art & Craft, Calcutta. His early mature works, including Bird in a Cage, which fetched a record price at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, 2005, an event that made Kartick Pyne overnight a big name in the artworld, reflect unique assimilation of the different styles and elements of both indigenous art and the modern art of the West.
The genius of Kartick Pyne lies in his ability to create in his paintings a unique imaginary and fantastic world, differentially and not representationally connected to our habitual, real world. For Jogen Chowdhury, he is the foremost surrealist painter of his generation. A significant part of the show is devoted to the paintings of the imaginary world, which reveals an enigmatic phenomenon combining the visible and subliminal, mimetic and metaphorical in a rich affective pictorial language of eroticism. An inveterate introvert, deeply immersed in the world of religious devotion, Kartick Payne attempts at the eclectic synthesis of the Indian imagery and international idioms of modern art. His famous painting Moon Bath, shown in the landmark exhibition Asian Artists Exhibition: Modern Asian Art at Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan in 1979, was inspired by both Matisse and the Purnima night at his ancestral Thakur Bari (temple house).
Displaying the work spanning over sixty-year of his artistic career, the exhibition helps us to understand the complexities of Kartick Payne’s eclectic style, which, though look naïve or like outsider art, is firmly grounded on the academic training. Although he has often been categorized as a surrealist, he did not see it as a conscious choice: “I did not know that I worked in surreal style still it was pointed out to me. […] Thousands of thoughts play in my mind but the idea for a perfect picture is to create reality as a complete whole and encompass elements both the conscious and the subconscious” he told to the Indian Express.
The exhibition will provide a glimpse of his lifelong quest for the perfect painting.Kartick Chandra Pyne
Born in 1931 in Kolkata, Kartick Chandra Pyne studied painting at Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta between 1950 and 1955. A prolific and introvert artist, his work was shown as one of the hundred exhibits representing modern Indian Art in the historic exhibition at Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, 1979. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, Bajaj Art Gallery, Mumbai, Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Kolkata, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, among many others. A retrospective exhibition of his work was organized by Aakriti Art gallery, Kolkata, 2006.
He was the recipient of prestigious Shilpi Maha Samman and Abanindra Puraskar of the Government of West Bengal. Rajya Charukala Parshad made a documentary film on him “Line, Story, Design,” released in 2017.
Kartick Chandra Pyne died in 2017.