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