Akabar Padamsee has been referred to by Homi Bhabha as an "intellectual artist" - an artist inspired by formal conundrums and conceptual schemes1. A discussion of the two works below relies on this intellectualism.
The elements in construction of the nude in 2001 include elements that define Padamsee's masterpieces - namely a schema and an aura !
AKBAR PADAMSEE (b. 1928)
Oil On Canvas
Signed and dated 2001
42 x 28 in.
INR 20,00,000 - 30,00,000
Galerie 88, Kolkata
They (the schemas) are half-intuitive and half-planned, and keep changing and developing. I often erase while building - a head, a nude, or a landscape - so that the schema goes on changing as the head develops1
1960, Nude with Schema, graphite1
What happens to the intersection of form and grid? Look at 'Schema for a figure (below)'. At first the female form looks mired in the labrynthine logic of the grid - a human being lost in the abstract architecture of artistic practice. The body emerging from the web of schematic volumes loses its naturalistic, fleshy posture. Suddenly , at second sight, the grid becomes the matrix of the body's potential mobility. The body emerges through the schema ...1
Schema For A Figure1
Schema for metascape1
From a conversation between Akbar Padamsee (AP) and Homi Bhabha (HB)1
AP: When I returned to Paris [after the trial] in 1965, I painted the Yellow landscape and i found an incandescence in this work similar to drawings by Seurat which seem to glow with a sort of incandescence. It is as if there is a deep light coming from within
HB: Yes, I can see it - a light that seems to come from the depth of the canvas as if it were backlit. Is light a function of space ?
AP: In a way, it is. I could explain it with the help of a cruciform shape. If it is a red line , then it becomes yellow at the other side, and this yellow line would become red. So when you paint it, it would be red-orange and the other a yellow-orange, which would give you a sense of illumination or incandescence. I have exploited this concept further in my still-lifes in the years between '56 and '58
The nude is a superb exhibition of both the schema and the incandescence.
His sculptures also relate in equal measure to the modern Western development running from Rodin through Epstein, including the cubist works of Duchamp-Villon. While the Western sculptors connected the development of abstraction to progressive dehumanization, Padamsee infused it with the organic and human. For him the two sets of matrices were never disjoint. Reconciling abstraction with organicity was central to his vision until the '80s even when this was a difficult proposition - Nanak Ganguly1
AKBAR PADAMSEE (b. 1928)
Edition 3 of 5
Signed "AP 85"
11 x 7 x 10 in.
INR 14,00,000 - 20,00,000
Private Collection, Delhi
Summer Online Auction,6-7 June 2017, SaffronArt - Lot 13. Winning Bid (Incl. Buyers Premium) - INR 29,28,384
Image & Source Credits
1. Akbar Padamsee - work in language, Marg Publications
Disclaimer: Image copyright belongs to the artist. Prinseps makes no claims of ownership or copyright to these images which are used merely for illustrative purposes.