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September 28, 2017

Verve Exclusive: Preview Of Jatin Das’ Figures In Motion

Text by Huzan Tata. Images courtesy of the artist.

The Padma Bhushan awardee’s latest solo show in Mumbai presents a series of vibrant canvases

Eminent artist Jatin Das, known for his impeccable canvases that focus on human figures, returns to showcase his works in Mumbai after a seven-year hiatus. ‘I believe strength of an artist is in his drawing. The power of creating a flowing line, without it being superfluous, is when a line meets another line, crisscrossing one line demanding another and so on. There is fusion and an energy. A ‘dead line’ destroys the flow creating a dead end,’ believes the artist, whose human figures continue to fascinate. Das talks to Verve about his work, muses, and the world of art…

Click on any image to view in larger gallery

KEEPING BUSY
“Many things have kept me busy all these years, including the JD Centre of Art, Bhubaneshwar, that will house tribal, folk, contemporary and traditional art all under one roof. This has been my long-standing dream. During the last 35 years, I have amassed an enormous collection of antiquity and handicrafts. A lot of my time, energy and money has gone into it. I am always struggling to get support for it. Also, I paint every day. Wherever I travel, I always carry a portfolio and a sketchbook. I set up a temporary studio in the hotel room and do a little drawing with conte or ink or paint with watercolour before or after dinner. If I am somewhere for a very short time, I just draw. Everything you paint is not necessarily to exhibit. In fact, I never think of it when I am painting. In any case, I exhibit so rarely.”

FOR THE LOVE OF ART
“I paint and draw primarily human figures, I have done so for 60 years. So this show is just part of the same journey. I can’t explain my work at all. I only paint and draw human figures – bare, without embellishment, devoid of time and place. Without any architecture, without any narrative, so it’s quite difficult for people to be comfortable, to be familiar. I don’t sit and think about my work. I just draw and paint.”

FOREVER MUSES
“Everything that I see inspires me…life, people, nature. I don’t use words like creativity, mood, and inspiration. Every day I paint, I feel I am starting it for the first time. I assimilate from various visual cultures; traditional and contemporary. But I am not ‘influenced’ by anything or anyone in particular, but at the same time, I am influenced by everything and everyone.”

ART WITH A MESSAGE?
“I have a lot of concerns about the world, deep concerns that bother me immensely – the kind of world we are leaving for our children. But I don’t have to necessarily bring it in my work in an obvious way. After all, my human figures are born out of inner turmoil. I have no social commentary in my paintings, they are all metaphoric, about human angst.”

ON THE WALL AT HOME
“I don’t decorate my home. I am collector of rare objects, of crafts, of antiquity. So my home is cluttered with many art objects, collected over years and places. I look at everything in life. The same goes for museums and galleries.”

ART WITHOUT BORDERS
“There were never boundaries in art. These are false boundaries. They are all part of a continuum. We are called artists and master craftsmen are called artisans. They are no less artists than us.”

Figures In Motion, presented by Art & Soul, is on display at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (161B, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda) from October 4-16, 2017

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