Hauz Khas Village, 19 August – 7 September 2013
In a career spanning four decades, Amitava’s location as an artist has determined the authority that he brings to his practice. As an artist studying and working in the 1960s, Amitava Das experienced a decade of fragmented locii. The ’60s, the period of his education at the College of Art, was the decade of wars, fiscal difficulty and an uncertain polity in the wake of the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. Further, as a second generation pravasi (non-residing Indian) Bengali, the roiling political violence of West Bengal’s Naxal movement came to him through the filter of poetry, film and art—much as he would have received the existential writing of Camus, Genet and Rilke. Through the 1960s and ’70s, small groups of artists and filmmakers in different pockets in India had a heightened response: the state of the nation found an uncanny echo in the language of modernism, of the artist’s isolation and purity even within a state of uncertainty.
Divided into six different segments with their own distinctive languages—landscapes, figures, body segments, heads, animals and abstracts—the exhibition showcases the complete oeuvre of the artist’s body of work. The associated publication, Amitava: The Complete Works, provides a complete understanding of the artist’s vision with accompanying essays.
‘In my way of thinking, I like to look at an idea from various angles’