Shown at the Shanghai Biennale, exhibited in New York, widely admired for his consistency throughout his career, Rabin Mondal’s excoriating paintings are a savage indictment of social and political ills. A reticent, reserved artist, Mondal’s works offer a scathing commentary on the pursuit and abuse of power. A primal, primordial figuration describes his work in which people in positions of authority are rendered vulnerable because of the very power they aspire to. Their contorted features and clawed hands and feet represent their venality. Strong outlines, naked brushstrokes and potent use of green and red characterise most his work.
DAG’s booth at Art Dubai displayed Mondal’s hailed King series—a suite of paintings from the 1970s that concludes with the vulnerability that comes with a lust for power. The powerfully painted canvases are unparalleled in Indian modern art and one of the most excoriating visualisations of the corrupt nature of power.
Rabin Mondal (1929-2019) studied at the Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship and the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art of the University of Calcutta, and was one of the founding members of the Calcutta Painters, who promoted modernist art in India in the 1960s. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in India and abroad. DAG has hosted two retrospectives on the artist.