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From:     Neha Chandra
Category: Exhibitions
Date:     13 October 2009
Time:     02:44 AM


New Delhi: Gallery Espace presents 'Eye of The Needle'; a solo exhibition of more than twenty new
works in paintings on canvas and paper by Delhi-based artist Tanmoy Samanta from October 09, 2009 to
November 07, 2009 at Gallery Espace, Level 0-1, 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony.  Hosted as
a simultaneous event as part of the ongoing Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF), the show
highlights Samanta’s simple yet bold dialogue with forms, lines and colour which is aesthetically
astounding and interesting to unravel.


Says Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace: “Tanmoy Samanta’s paintings remind us of the gifted,
masterly and greatly underrated Gaganendranath Tagore. Like him, Tanmoy too creates paintings that
act as ideograms, reaching beyond syllables and sounds to create a unique language of his own.
Unlike others, he does not flit from one artistic style to another, but deepens his chosen trajectory.”


Brought up in an environment rich in literary experience, Tanmoy Samanta, born in West Bengal in
1973, obtained a BFA and MFA in painting from the illustrious Kala Bhavan (College of Fine Arts and
Crafts), Santiniketan in 1996. He grew up to savour the Tagorean ethos of the college and held on to
the traditional materials for picture making, namely gouache, rice paper and pigments without any
aesthetic conflicts. Says Tanmoy Samanta: “I have always been mesmerized by shape and form that
ignite my fantasy and imagination. My work layers multi-dimensional hues and textures that I begin
with and pare down to simple images of everyday life- not to get an end result but to depict
continuous movement. In my laboratory, in the process of achieving something, I make small
discoveries along the way which are as significant as the intended result and end where success and
failure cease to be the opposite.”


For Tanmoy Samanta, his inspiration comes from the memories of the coastal town where he grew up,
memories like the dusk beckoning to a mysterious hinterland, the rising sea trying to devour the
full moon, sparkling movement of phosphorous coated fish lighting the pitch dark backwaters, tall
shadowy trees swaying in a synchronizing mystery, lighthouses signaling alarm as well as
reassurance, a thatched roof made of coconut-leaves catching fire and people shouting and rushing to
fetch water, a huge black snake coiled inside the rice reservoir to cool itself, one night spotting
an UFO and yet another night witnessing dacoits fleeing on their stilts, Soviet magazines being
translated into Bengali, getting a globe as a birthday gift,  remains of  a fighter plane on the sea
shore from a nearby military base, un-decipherable engravings on huge boats, week-long rains, an
unfathomable fear of a possible catastrophe,  feeble sounds of some foreign channel in his
wooden-cabinet suitcase-size radio working as a lullaby – all remain etched in the nook and corner
of his mind.


The artist is fascinated by the complex relationship between inside and outside, interior and
landscape, the throb of content and the grip of the container. For instance in his works titled ‘War
Mementos’, the painting on first glance depicts various sizes of leather boots but  on a closer
look, it reveals a ball, socket and system of levers that form the bones of the foot. In yet another
work titled ‘Butterfly’, the painting represents a proposal for a flying city. In ‘The Beetle Car’,
the vehicle opens up like a loquacious body, its machine parts turning into limbs, as though
animated by a life force that takes away its destructiveness and makes of it an instrument of
festivity. Other enigmatic works that will be on display include Accessories, Germination II, Night
& Day, Sewing Machine, Flying Machine, Treasure – Box, Lovers, The Key and Harbour among others.


In an era dominated by young artists who eulogize the virtues of magnified scale, an indescribable
simplicity is what pervades through Tanmoy Samanta’s works with some unexpected twists and twirls.
He favours muted tonalities like the blood-pricked reds, dusty metal blues, leaf-shaded mulberry and
shadowy jade. The images in his paintings seem marooned in statelessness yet they are at play with
their own contours, mundane objects discreetly telling different tales and known characters becoming
obscure. Sometimes there are recurring images of inherited objects like mementoes and sometimes
there are old items that may be outworn yet preserved. They become the commanding subjects that
observe the mundane hustle and bustle of daily lives and chuckle and tease, seeming to know that
regardless of time and progress, what was then remains now. These exquisite disarrangements of the
everyday world and its architecture of objects, make each of his painting vary between the pellucid
and the clouded. Balancing adroitly between refinement and menace, the artist puts his creative
energy in creating frozen narratives that allow multiple readings. He invites the viewer to come
close, scrutinize the images and contemplate the reverberations that the most innocuous of objects
can set off.


Recipient of Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award (New York, 2003), Tanmoy Samanta has worked in the
collegial setting of the Kanoria Arts Centre, Ahmedabad and has also taught at Rajghat, the
Krishnamurti Foundation’s school in Varanasi. His solo shows have been exhibited earlier at Gallery
Espace (New Delhi) and Anant Art Gallery (Kolkata).  He has also participated in several prominent
group shows that include ‘Telling it like it is’ at Cork Street Gallery (London); ‘Keep Drawing’,
‘Paper Flute’ and ‘Back to the Future’ at Gallery Espace (New Delhi); ‘Making History Our Own’ by
SHAMAT; ‘Configuration’ at Anant Art Gallery (Kolkata); ‘Dialogue’ at Anant Art Gallery (New Delhi);
‘Contemporary Art Show’ at CIMA (Kolkata); ‘Young Santiniketan Today’ at Guild Art Gallery (Mumbai).
His works have also been represented in both national and international art fairs like India Art
Summit, India on Canvas, Art & Ecology camp, Green Peace and Art Dubai.


The artist celebrates fluidity and irresolution, instead of fixities and absolutes. He lives and
works in New Delhi.

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