“Tyeb Mehta - Ideas Images Exchanges”

A new publication on celebrated painter Tyeb Mehta's art and life has just been released. The publication titled 'Tyeb Mehta - Ideas Images Exchanges' gives a kaleidoscopic view of his work with essays, writings, speeches, poems and beautifully reproduced plates.

The book is enriched with contributions by Husain, Ranjit Hoskote, Dilip Chitre and Yashodhara Dalmia who map Tyeb Mehta's artistic sojourn over last six decades, starting from his formative years at the J J School of Art and his association with the Progressive Artists.

The artist himself feels his work has been influenced by sculptures off the coast of Mumbai, European painters, Francis Bacon, Paul Klee and Barnett Newman. His paintings create an ethos of brooding, somber consciousness. His paintings pose unanswered and unanswerable questions about the human condition. His large body of work spanning over six decades has established him as one of the greatest names of modern Indian art.

Explaining the thought-processes as an artist, he has been quoted as saying: "When you are young, you try to understand the world. As you grow old you try to understand yourself and your work then becomes the essence of these efforts."

The celebrated artist has represented India in many international exhibitions with his masterpieces such as 'Trussed bull on Rickshaw', 'Kali' and 'Falling Figures.' Among his other significant works are 'Shantiniketan Triptych' painted in 1985, a three-paneled portrait of distortion, of self-awareness, necessitated by exclusivist self-identities, individual and collective. He has received prestigious awards such as 'Lalit Kala Akademi Award', 1965 and the 'Kalidasa Samman', 1988. His work has been presented at the Menton Biennale and at the Festival Internationale de la Peinture, Cagnes-sur-Mer 1974, where it won the Prix Nationale.

Known for his unqiue style, the personal life of this celebrated artist has been full of drama which is brought out vividly in the new book. He actually wanted to be a filmmaker. As he has reminscined in an interview: 'was interested in the visual medium and then fortunately there was my teacher and my friends, there was Souza, Raza, Husain, Ara and Kishen Khanna. They would talk about post Independence and the need to find a new language that was divorced from Western sensibilities.' The book bring out how the artist has been through a lot in his long life and has witnessd human tragedies like the Partition of India and the Hindu-Muslim clashes of 1947. This violence and the emotions it provoked has made its mark on his art.

'His career has mirrored the changing fortunes of contemporary Indian art over the last six decades,' mentions a recent feature on him in the NYT, 'from the intellectual fervor of its birth at Indian independence in 1947, to a lifetime of aesthetic and financial struggle, to the improbable rise of the Indian art market in the last few years.

"That violence gave me the clue about the emotion I want to paint," he has been quoted as saying. "That violence has stuck into my mind." The bull became a favorite figure. Not a bull in repose, but a tied-up, writhing, mutilated bull. "I was looking for an image which would not narrate, but suggest something which was deep within me, the violence that I witnessed during partition."

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