MUMBAI | Oct 12, 2015 - Feb 2, 2016
NEW YORK | Sep 17, 2015 - Dec 2, 2015
The first-ever retrospective of the Indian modern artist Avinash Chandra who lived most of his life in the West, in London and New York. Avinash Chandra trained in India at the Delhi Polytechnic (later, College of Art, New Delhi), known for his European-style landscapes and the innovations he brought to them, before leaving for London in 1956. Over the next forty years, his career flourished to much acclaim in the West during the years of liberalism, sexual revolution and new age spirituality in the 1960s and ’70s, evolving a refined and wholly new visual language that explored the sensual, sexual, fecund and celebratory human body in arrangements across the painted surface that best describe themselves as ‘humanscapes’.
Avinash Chandra’s work reflects the wantonness of the hippie movement and the colours of pop art but his art wasn’t just a hedonist celebration of the human form or sexuality, even as his humanscapes pulsated with the energy of elegant, curving, faceless bodies or genitalia, that recalled the sexual themes and visual harmony of tantric art, also then very popular in the West. Received very well in London, he repeated his success as an émigré Indian artist in New York in the 1970s, before returning to London, where he lived till his early death in 1991 – remaining, ironically, unsung in India all along. Avinash Chandra’s art possesses a rare verve and energy that sublimated his influences to create an entirely original art that was emphatically modern in its thrust. This was true till the very end when he turned from the human form to nature in detailed, lyrical foliagescapes – a major turn in his oeuvre that he didn’t live long enough to see fully through.