Jogen Chowdhury, one of the greatest figurative artists of our times is best known for his remarkable drawings and paintings depicting human beings in existential plights. His figures, in a variety of countenances and postures suggest an intimate world where human psyche and the social reality are interwoven into a silent, yet tense drama.
Jogen Chowdhury’s drawings reveal an intense and lucid observation. The lucidity is habitually spectacular while the intensity is overwhelming. The vision internalized in these drawings – often bleak yet irresistible – is real. For Jogen, this is not merely an observable ‘real’ in the passing but perceived from within. It finds itself embodied within the quivering energy manifest in the inescapable lines, in the knottily textured surfaces and in the enigmatic forms. Marked by signs of trepidation and anxiety, the lines and forms in his art submit to that vibrating energy, unmasking themselves at any unarmed moment.
The consistency with which Jogen has worked over the last six decades is a clear testimony to his faith in the idiom and method of art he has been exploring ever since. However, being an extraordinarily sensitive artist who responds to both the nuances of life and art with equal engagement and passion, Jogen navigates through a wide array of themes and motifs which he anchors in his art with remarkable precision.
The present show, comprising mostly monochromatic drawings with emphatic tonal and linear accents, and showcasing recent works hitherto unseen, traces the artist’s engagement with the elemental possibilities of linear language focusing mostly on what is famously known as ‘crosshatching’ – the major signature style of Jogen Chowdhury. Diving deep into the psyche and the subliminal, and unlearning the academic tradition he was trained in, he sought to absorb the undoctored freedom allowing the freewill of mind and hand at once. Crosshatching appeared to be a natural consequence of that longing.
Jogen Chowdhury’s drawings are characterized by distinctive lines which function not only to shape the visual forms from life but they also draw out what is supposedly out of sight or buried deep within the psyche. His lines, both controlled and unfastened, tend to shape, touch and explore the images. Lines with various insinuations and width, sharp or soft, squiggly or aggressive, keep moving around the reality, seen and felt and burrow into the psychic realm of human existence. Besides being in touch with the real, his drawings also claim an independent life of their own, irrespective of what they represent. They can intensely draw us in and stimulate us to relish the charm of the varied linear configurations in a way to make us believe that the drawings themselves are the ultimate source – almost replacing the real.
- Soumik Nandy Majumdar
- Soumik Nandy Majumdar