15 June, 2021

His Ateliers Distilled

An exhibition traces the masterful unfolding of Jogen Chowdhury’s oeuvre

Jogen Chowdhury at his Calcutta residence
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
His Ateliers Distilled

The interview starts on a rainy evening, with the thrum of cars in the background, as call after call is merged—an interviewer spe­­aks to an anxious PR person, who in turn reaches out to his calmer colleague further down the line to Shantiniketan—with silence. Finally, the interviewer asks, in a quivering voice, “Jogenda, can you hear me?”

At the other end of the much-media­-ted line is Jogen Chowdhury, a master of Indian contemporary art. An editor terms him “the last of the greats”; curator Uma Nair calls him a “modern master”. Anupa Mehta, curator for Calcutta’s Emami Art Gallery, says that he is an artist whose range and style creates an inimitable vocabulary. Chowdhury’s three-month-long solo exh­ibition, a select retrospective titled Reverie And Reality, curated by Ranjit Hoskote, opened in Emami Art on September 20.

Jogenda is 80. His voice holds memories of his oeuvre, from which nearly 200 will be displayed. “Ranjit has selec­ted the paintings and I gave my notes to...

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