by SUJATA BAJAJ
About the exhibitions
Kalakriti Art Gallery presents ‘Ganapati’ by well-known Indianinternational artist from Paris, Sujata Bajaj. Showcasing her recent series of artworks accompanied by a book launch, the exhibition will be open for public viewing from 6th Novemeber. 2017
The exhibition takes into account the inspiration and muse as well as the many forms and creative expressions that the figure of Ganesha, the elephant-headed, lovable god, has had on Sujata Bajaj
This departure for Sujata Bajaj is iconic. Celebrated as an abstract colourist, this exhibition brings into light her lesser-known side in which Ganapati has been a constant companion. While it may surprise most of her viewers, and even collaborators, this exhibition seeking to capture the essence of Ganapati using a diverse set of techniques as well as variety of materials, is a logical conclusion for those who know the artist well. For Ganapati is not a new chapter or turning point in the artist's career but has been part of a lifelong preoccupation underpinning her entire journey as an artist.
The beginning of the journey
Deeply embedded in Indian culture and present in many ways in myriad households, Ganapati has been the subject for artists and craftsmen since times immemorial. But hardly any artists have embraced the figure the way Sujata has done. The inexhaustible character of the form explains why it has taken the artist more than 30 years for this project to mature. For any artistic project, an incubation of this length is something quite out of the ordinary.
It all started in the most unusual of fashions when, confined to a bed for a long period due to an injured foot, Sujata started to make drawings. She did this obsessively, as if guided by a power beyond her own, each new drawing building on the previous with some variation but always pointing at the form of Ganapati. At later stages,new techniques and materials were called upon giving the project a depth and variety rarely seen in Indian art. It was also intensely personal, something the artist did not feel like sharing with the world – till now. Perhaps it is Ganapati himself who is now guiding and giving shape to her unique vision. Having pursued an active and focused career as an abstract colourist in India and internationally, this extremely personal exhibition – a departure in Sujata’s career – marks a seminal moment.
Speaking on her inspiration, this is what Sujata Bajaj has to say of her muse:To me, Ganapati is endless. I feel a sense of complete freedom and liberty in abstracting his image. No other form lends itself as vividly to the abstract as Ganapati. When I paint him or sculpt him, I am certainly not painting or sculpting a god. I am, in fact, through the process, experiencing my own artistic freedom, and the immense joy intrinsic to that freedom.
Consisting of a wide body of work spread over three decades, Sujata has used the occasion to create an extensive body of fiberglass sculptures which cross-pollinate her earlier drawings, etchings and collages. Coming together, they present a formidable – and personal – collection of work that we are privileged to view.
About the bookAn illustreted coffee table book published by Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi; Gallery Art & Soul, Mumbai, Galerie Patrice Trigano; Paris, India Media Group; Paris. (Size: 30 cm x 40 cm , 300 pages).Designed by Vinay Jain. Researched and edited by Bhavana Pankaj.
The exhibitionis accompanied with the release of a major book entitled GANAPATI written by Jean-Claude Carrière, a French writer and cineaste who has recently been awarded an Oscar for his lifetime achievement and who has followed Sujata's career for more than 25 years. The book also contains an in-depth interview of the artist by the well-known New Delhi based art critic, Kishore Singh
The book shows works from all the stages of the project as it unfolds over an impressively long 30 years. The reader is invited to an enticing pictorial journey displaying many forms, lines and colors testifying to the scope of this original artistic exploration as well as the artist's versatility in handling a variety of techniques and materials.As Jean-Claude Carrière says in the book:“What is going on inside Sujata’s head at the very moment that she is painting? What urges her on, what nourishes that energy we recognize in her work, that passion to paint? Clearly she doesn’t know it. Her conversation is not elucidating, far from it.”
Pointing out that far from wanting to familiarize us with the god and his mythology, she is driven by her own inner urge to paint:“Her motivation is elsewhere, in a personal quest for which she has chosen Ganpati to be her guide, as a travelling companion, this figure she has known since childhood – not as a model to be imitated, or represented,. And that quest, which progresses from painting to painting with the sudden appearance of some texts, is, above all, the search for herself. Without suspecting it, perhaps, she unveils, in each form, in each assembly of colours, in each ‘impression’ we receive,something of the chaotic, ineffable ensemble that makes her who she is – and us who we are.”
Kishore Singh's interview takes us closer to the artist’s own biography. It dwells on the many fascinating stories that together underlie the emergence of the Ganapati project and, in the process, sheds light on the person Sujata Bajaj, her background and her evolution as an artistSpeaking about her work, he says:“We tend to jump easily to conclusions. Is Sujata’s work abstract? In the manner in which it is presented to us, yes. But it also brims with stories and experiences, and is that not the language of true art? Any anything that we can feel and understand can never be abstract – it is just one more way of seeing and sharing an artist’s point of view.”If there is anything that defines her career, it is Sujata’s boldness in the use of colours. Art critic Lorette Nobecourt notes, “Sujata is connected to colour as if to an exceptional substance. She is nourished and enlivened by it.” She brings this extraordinary energy to her works on Ganapati as well, as can be seen in both the book as well as the exhibition.Sujata Bajaj spends her time between Paris, Dubai, India and Norway.sujatabajaj.com