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"Spaces in Transition" an exhibition of contemporary acrylic paintings,New Delhi, India

From:     Jenson Anto
Category: Art
Date:     14 April 2008
Time:     03:27 AM


Ascending into the outer reaches of empty space, the elephant is on its determined walk. Not too 
excited by the prospects of weightlessness a sense of buoyant lull sweeps into a time warp. With a 
tiger skin on its back the walk is led by another cub grasping a sapling to its limbs for good measure. 
The walk in the sky seems to be a routine affair in the gravity of realities that are worked out in the 
ground far below. A herd below is stuck to the realities of coping with the changing landscape out in 
the open with protection being the last word. In the serenity of the moment forces are at work in 
enacting changes to maintain equilibrium. In the surreal landscape, a tenacious branch stands in 
mute testimony to the spaces in transition…

Spaces in transition are a body of works that find parallels in surreal transformations adapting to the 
engaging moment of change. Anup K Chand gives momentum to changes in the environment that 
has been on the receiving end with regards to rampant commercialization and exploitation of visible 
land. Modulating the pace at which land gets divided there are elements that confluence in the medley 
of events growing on a day-to-day basis. Instead of depicting the stark reality of the situation the artist 
treats subjects in a surreal phase of regenerating forms. In a simulation of handling the inevitable, a 
cheetah stands in contemplation of pace that has crept into the present state of developing 
technologies. The fastest mover on land, the animal stands surveying a landscape that has become 
alienated in the mushrooming cluster of manufacturing units working to satisfy the teeming population. 
It's also a moment when it has nowhere to exercise its need for space and speed.

Having a Ph.D. in Visual Art from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh, Chhattisgarh 
after completing his Masters in painting from the same institution, Anup had been involved in 
researching traditional art forms from coastal Orissa. The Pata Chitra paintings/icon paintings 
traditions from Orissa has been a constant source of enrichment for the artist that he had it included 
in his research study at the Vishwavidyalaya. Basic forms and motifs from Pata Chitra continues to 
show in his works on canvas with emphasis on the use of black lines and form. But getting into the 
realm of the contemporary phase in Indian Art, the motifs are put against layers of modernity. The 
iconic intent of Pata Chita reveals itself within the contemporary rendering of the surface while 
maintaining a minimalist attachment to the original form.

Animal and plant forms gain a major part of the content in the landscape that the artist envisages. 
With due respect to a belief in the environment, chance for regeneration shows itself in creeping 
saplings finding their way to the skies for affirmation and hope. Apart from adding a decorative value 
to the works, the saplings writhe and struggle to find their space in the struggle for survival and hope. 
It's at this juncture the elements realize the emergent need for adapting to the changing order. It does 
not take much to see adaptations in the way that the living, growing and the throbbing undertake to 
make survival possible. A tree grows over a metal fencing taking the foreign object within its folds. 
Since it cannot get rid of the irregularity in its path it takes hold of the metal in a way that does not 
hinder growth. Although at a glance it could seem to be a mutation of sorts, surreal at the most, the 
fact remains at the end of the day the tree has survived in its own way adapting to the moment. Such 
aberrations abound in surroundings of the day that have become accepted as part of the usual.

It was interesting to know the development of each painting as it was worked on towards its 
completion. The artist explains how each element in the landscape endeared to grow with the work in 
progress. Maintaining a surreal progression of events, minimal color fields in the background of each 
work provide a base for the elements to engage and develop. Flora and fauna take their surreal path 
till the time there is no need for further engagement with space. In letting larger areas of emptiness to 
remain, there is a breather in the mutations that could remain a solace in the hope for survival. With 
use of a primary palette, the artist further emphasizes associations with the land. Abundant use of 
browns and blues do find a contemporary shade in the whites keeping up with contemporary handling 
of colour.

In reacting to the circumstances, it's been a point of transition for the artist who has been in touch with 
realities of the land and iconic traditions of painting followed by its people. In the city, it becomes a 
beacon for stabilizing forces that intrude into spaces that are meant to be left alone. The ultimate 
realization comes home when empty spaces in the canvas lies in wait for variations in the experience 
to take shape. And they are always spaces in transition… Jenson Anto

Showcasing : Anup Kumar Chand

By : Ashok Art Gallery
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