Book analyses still life paintings of Jogen Chowdhury

A new book analyses the development of Jogen Chowdhury’s still life paintings and features 95 impactful images of one of India’s pre-eminent painters of the modern era.

“The Afterlife Of Silence: Still Lifes of Jogen Chowdhury” by academic-writer Anuradha Ghosh takes a close look at the essentials of the European tradition of still life painting and argues that Chowdhury’s works, while sharing certain common concerns of the tradition also differ significantly from it, and are firmly rooted in his indigenous situatedness.

It explores how, in his still life world, everyday objects are irradiated with new life and unique relational possibilities.

It also examines how his still life paintings oscillate between life and death, between stillness and animation, a movement that conceptually underpins the cycle of nature and lived life, and how moments of silence and stillness acquire afterlives – with trails of significations that often go beyond the context of particular artworks.

There is a separate chapter which examines how Chowdhury’s familiar organic lines, used to define human forms, are used in still life forms as well, and in this context, several of his major works are examined closely.

The ideas of loneliness, love, fullness and emptiness, dreams, desire and death are explored in a range of his paintings that are reproduced in the book, published by Niyogi.

Some of Chowdhury’s most famous works such as still life paintings of cut fruit and flowers and from the series ‘Reminiscences of a Dream’, are depicted along with works that are strictly speaking not still life images, but are renowned, such as ‘The Silver Throne’.

Some of the images are courtesy Japanese art collector Masanori Fukuoka, who possesses a significant number of Chowdhury’s paintings.

Apart from the detailed study of his paintings, an additional feature of the book is an in-depth interview of Chowdhury, in which he describes the different phases of his life and work, from his childhood in idyllic rural Bengal through his multifaceted career, to his future plans.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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