The complex investigation of the notion of landscape in Kaushik Saha’s new works on canvas, instead of being the pictorial, romantic and sylvan idealized vision one is accustomed to within the genre, follows the inquiry of Sudhir Patwardhan and Bhupen Khakhar of the grim, everyday life of the urban industrialised realities in India. Saha raises inevitable social questions when he depicts barren, exploited, defaced nature and the ubiquitous consumerism prevalent in contemporary urban visual landscapes. His fascination of the defaced, empty hoardings which carry residues of previous consumer products are what he considers to be a symbolic representation of the visual culture of the common person on the streets.
The stark abstract compositions lead us into the complex layering seen in the work “a piece of land within the frame” which delves deeper into the paradoxes of the city and the all-pervasive hoardings. Saha’s change to an aerial viewpoint allows us to look more closely at his detailing of tiny human figures involved in daily activities scattered over the overpowering notional landscape that dwarfs, while embracing them. Saha’s landscapes are never what they seem from a distance and warrant a closer inspection. One discovers a sub- structured layer of repressed people and information locked into dilemmas not of their making, trapped within the physical terrain- a hive of barely concealed forgotten life. Narrative subjects within Saha’s artworks are thus entrapped within both – the physical geography of the terrain as well as the virtual bounds of infrastructure. He leaves his audience to imagine the results of exploitation in a grim future of a dystopian degraded landscape.
This artwork description is an excerpt from the press release of “Breathing Spaces” an exhibition at Exhibit 320.
Kaushik Saha is one of the bright new stars of the Indian contemporary art scene. He graduated from MSU Baroda and currently lives and works there. His first solo exhibition last year at Gallerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke was received very favourably with critical acclaim. He was the recipient of several awards among them are the Inlaks Fine Arts Award 2014 and the National Award.
This artist bio has been sourced from Exhibit 320 press release for exhibition “Breathing Spaces” .