Shom­bit Sen - Western style paint­ing bathed in In­dia’s ir­rev­er­ent colours

Western style paint­ing bathed in In­dia’s ir­rev­er­ent colours

The Luxury Collection - - Contents -

Franco-in­dian artist Sen Shom­bit has lived and worked as a painter and de­signer in France for 30 years. Born in 1954, he lived a hum­ble, poverty stricken child­hood in a slum-like refugee colony out­side of Kolkata with­out elec­tric­ity, san­i­ta­tion, or potable wa­ter. For the love of art, nine­teen year old Sen ad­ven­tur­ously voy­aged to Paris in 1973 with only $8 in his pocket, where he grap­pled with con­tra­dic­tory cul­tures while as­so­ci­at­ing with the French art and ed­u­ca­tion en­vi­ron­ment.

While study­ing at Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, he mas­tered the Euro­pean, par­tic­u­larly French, flair of art. The French style has sat­u­rated his way of life, think­ing, at­ti­tude, and be­hav­iour.

From In­dia, his coun­try of ori­gin, he in­her­ited his ir­rev­er­ent us­age of In­dian colours. In­dia’s so­cial het­ero­gene­ity leads to vis­i­ble phys­i­cal dé­sor­dre in ev­ery as­pect which uniquely cre­ates a feel­ing of in­clu­sive­ness. In­grained in his paint­ings is this feel­ing of in­clu­sive­ness, love and courage for hu­man­ity ir­re­spec­tive of re­li­gion or multi-society cul­tural be­hav­iour, and a pas­sion for the beauty and el­e­gance of women in ev­ery part of the world. In­dia’s highly trea­sured val­ues of in­clu­sive­ness and com­pas­sion are in­grained in Sen. In­dian cul­ture has no dogma, no ab­so­lute good and bad. Dif­fer­ences of re­li­gion, lan­guage, food, cul­ture and way of liv­ing and dress­ing rad­i­cally change al­most ev­ery 500 kms among In­dia’s 1.3 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion. Un­like in the very Carte­sian Western cul­ture, ev­ery­body in In­dia has the free­dom to use any colour for any oc­ca­sion. This re­sults in In­dian colours be­ing seen to be ir­rev­er­ent. Sen has adopted th­ese ir­rev­er­ent In­dian colours which rule over his art.

GES­TUR­ISM ART: Western Euro­pean artis­tic move­ments in­flu­enced Sen to struc­ture his own ide­ol­ogy of Ges­tur­ism Art. He de­fines Ges­tur­ism Art as a cel­e­bra­tion of the lim­it­less ges­tures of all liv­ing be­ings in all stages of life from birth to death. He nar­rates th­ese themes with im­promptu, vi­brant move­ments in his art work.

Dé­sor­dre l’art con­tem­po­rian: Per­haps for the first time in the world Sen in­vented viewer-in­ter­ac­tive art in dé­sor­dre in­stal­la­tion. The ori­gin of his idea of “dé­sor­dre” is in­flu­enced by In­dia’s het­ero­ge­neous pop­u­la­tion of ex­treme di­ver­sity that re­sults in un­pre­dictable phys­i­cal dis­or­der in ev­ery as­pect of life. The ar­rival and merg­ing of mi­grants since an­cient times from Greece, Africa, Cen­tral Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Europe and more re­cently 200 years of Bri­tish col­o­niza­tion in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent, has cre­ated this sit­u­a­tion over time. Dé­sor­dre in­stal­la­tion is a spe­cific in­ven­tion that en­sures his art is not static.

Each com­plete art work is di­vided into mul­ti­ple square can­vas slabs which can be re­lo­cated and mag­net­i­cally fixed in the slots pro­vided in the frame. One art work with one theme has thou­sands of ab­stract forms. When you ini­tially en­ter the sub­ject, you see an ab­stract form. While chang­ing the mul­ti­ple slabs in 360 de­gree

move­ments, you can see var­ied forms of ab­stract art from one to the other. If you can find the log­i­cal link of the can­vas slabs fol­low­ing Sen’s brush strokes and colours, you will see some hid­den fig­u­ra­tive mes­sage emerge which is the orig­i­nal theme of the in­stal­la­tion. Col­lec­tors can even reg­u­larly change the place­ment of each can­vas to see the same paint­ing in dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.

Riot of colour: Sen was start­ing to feel that Western art has some in­doc­tri­na­tion in dis­ci­pline and or­der in terms of con­trol of colour, form and shape. He be­gan re­search­ing how to be com­pletely im­promptu in ac­tion with an “un­con­trolled colour bath” while cre­at­ing his French style paint­ings. In­dia, with its lib­erty of colour like no other, re­sponded to his urge of re­bel­lious ap­pli­ca­tion of colour. Al­though Sen had be­come French in spirit and na­tion­al­ity, the colours in his art rep­re­sent In­dia’s 1.3 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion. He dis­cov­ered that 80% In­di­ans hap­haz­ardly and freely ap­ply colours in their ev­ery­day life. Poverty made peo­ple in­crease their use of colours, less colour would mean be­ing washed out. Sen in­her­ited this men­tal­ity of abun­dant colour in his way of imag­i­na­tion and work.

Sen is bring­ing a to­tally new di­men­sion into Western and other so­ci­eties with his vi­brant colours of Ges­tur­ism Art and dé­sor­dre in­stal­la­tions. Ges­tur­ism art and dé­sor­dre have some raw ef­fect of In­dia’s an­cient cul­ture which jux­ta­poses the well struc­tured Western think­ing on art. Sen ex­hibits this new di­men­sion by par­tic­i­pat­ing in ex­hi­bi­tions in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.

Sen’s re­cent exhibiton “Mon Ivresse de la France (I am ine­bri­ated with France)” in­cluded his in­flu­ence from French philoso­phers

Says Sen, “My hunger was to be an artist in France, the world’s ref­er­ence coun­try of lib­erty with free­dom of ex­pres­sion. So I for­sook my poverty-stricken fam­ily in our slum-like refugee colony near Kolkata

In­dia, and my art stud­ies mid­way, and ven­tured out into the world with $8. I knew no one in France, nor spoke the lan­guage, but in the sky, wind and dif­fer­ent mu­se­ums, I found France truly bathed in artistry. France has en­grossed me since I ar­rived here as a 19-year-old in 1973. I started as a lowly sweeper in a lithog­ra­phy print shop, but the owner of the print shop and other French peo­ple al­ways re­ferred to me as artist Sen. This pow­er­ful fresh bowl of artis­tic nu­cleus and lib­erty show­ered on me pushed me to work hard as an artist, to find my own iden­tity.”

In his Ges­tur­ism Art themed ex­hi­bi­tion “Mon Ivresse de la France” Sen Shom­bit dis­played how he has cap­tured the French coun­try­side, cul­ture and lit­er­a­ture with ir­rev­er­ent In­dian colours in his paint­ings.

Sub­lim­i­nal and highly sug­ges­tive French po­ems and phi­los­o­phy res­onate well with Sen’s imag­i­na­tive strokes of Ges­tur­ism Art. His paint­ing “Evil Blos­som” imag­ines the in­ner sense of Charles Baude­laire who had cre­ated the phrase moder­nity as be­ing al­ways time­less. Sen painted “Thorny Love” to por­tray Paul Ver­laine’s Deca­dent move­ment of skep­ti­cism and be­lief in the su­pe­ri­or­ity of hu­man cre­ativ­ity over logic and the nat­u­ral world. Sen painted Mar­cel Proust in “Re­mem­brance” re­call­ing his fa­mous episode of the madeleine that trig­gers a flash­back of mem­o­ries in his book “In Search of Lost Time” on the theme of in­vol­un­tary mem­ory. In “Devil’s Time” Sen painted Arthur Rim­baud who had founded French Sym­bol­ism and in­flu­enced Dadaists, Sur­re­al­ists, mod­ernist lit­er­a­ture and mu­si­cians with his book of pow­er­ful po­ems called “A sea­son in Hell”.

Re­nault Kwid art car: When Re­nault Mo­tors in Paris in­vited Sen Shom­bit to cre­ate an art car of their most suc­cess­ful car in In­dia called Kwid, Sen used the theme of “Ville Enig­ma­tique (Enig­matic City)”to ex­press his child­hood ob­ser­va­tions in In­dia. In the back­drop of for­eign ar­chi­tec­ture in Ben­gal like the Bri­tish Vic­to­ria Memo­rial in Kolkata and the French church in Chan­danagore on the banks of the Ganges, Sen painted scenes of nor­mal Ben­gali life to­day. This Re­nault Kwid art car has been show­cased at Sen’s ex­hi­bi­tion in France.

How­ever, even as a pro­fes­sional in­ter­na­tional de­signer, Sen has con­tin­ued to paint and had sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions in France and In­dia. To­day, he is a full time painter.

Opium of Giverny - 2015 Theme - Brathing France Acrylic on can­vas - 117x107 cms Evil Blos­som- 2017 Theme - Mon Ivresse de la France Acrylic on can­vas - 60x45 cms Re­mem­brance - 2017 Theme - Mon Ivresse de la France Acrylic on can­vas - 60 x 45 cms Fe­ro­ciously Brave- 2016 Theme - Night Spirit Acrylic on can­vas - 117x107 cms Thorny Love- 2017 Theme - Mon Ivresse de la France Acrylic on can­vas - 60x45 cms Devil’s Time - 2017 Theme - Mon Ivresse de la France Acrylic on can­vas - 60x45 cms

Moves of Josephine - 2015 Theme - Colour of Dance Acrylic on can­vas - 41 x 41 cms

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