‘Tête à tête’ - an interpretation of the human head

The title of this group show 'T'te ' t'te' hails from the French language, meaning 'head-to-head'. The participating artists have rendered the same in a wide range of form, media and style ' charcoal, acrylic, oil, mixed media, watercolor, bronze, granite and marble (sculptures).

'T'te ' t'te', an inaugural show at The Lansdowne Gallery, Mumbai, includes works done around the theme of the human head by T. M. Aziz, Ebenezer Sunder Singh, Birendra Pani, Chintan Upadhyay, Nikhil Chaganlal, Manu Parekh, Manjit Bawa, Bimal Kundu, Akbar Padamsee, Dakshina Murthy, Rabin Mondal, Anjolie Ela Menon, Laxman Pai, Ganesh Pyne, Suhas Roy, Nayanaa Kanodia, late F. N. Souza, Jehangir Jani, Sunil Padwal, Bose Krishnamachari, Papri Bose and Arup Das.

An introductory note, elaborating on the theme of the show mentions: 'The human head is the birthplace of thought, emotion, identity; the nerve center of every action, reaction, interaction, inertia and momentum. Its eccentric ways of functioning forms the crux of each artist's creation. Each rendition is starkly different, reflecting the diversity in the manifestation in keeping with the m'lange of emotions that mark this sensitive yet volatile organ of human body.'

The artists have adopted a unique approach while taking the theme head-on as they try to come to terms with tumultuous and turbulent occurrences within the head, giving birth to an enigma. Late F. N. Souza, a founding member of the Progressive Artist's Group, remains iconic and unmatched when it comes to devising the human head. In his visual realm, icy cold eyes replaced the forehead to go with gnashing fang-like teeth. His strong, bold lines delineated the head in a distinctive way. His heads, composed of taut, daring strokes, displayed an expressionistic ability to trace the contours of extreme emotional turmoil.

Another artist who has painted heads is Sunil Padwal. The faces he depicts are almost bereft of emotion. His unique rendering is almost a minimalist view of a single facet of brooding mankind in disparate contexts. The look is utterly pensive, and the mood brooding in his work on view.

The work by Ebenezer Sunder Singh creates an immediate impact by its sheer size. His evocative figures fall within a fixed translucent geometric form, visualizing personal thought and the intimacy of human emotions.

Jehangir Jani's fierce face, evoking extreme intensity, stares at you, as if tearing you apart with its potent, piercing look whereas the sleepy, serene face created by T. M. Aziz exudes warmth. Papri Bose's work intends to trigger one's remembrance of the deeper treasures with one. The symbols are natural attempts to reconcile and reunite the opposite within the psyche.

Bose Krishnamachari's work borrows effortlessly and effectively from various disciplines, including literature and design, and time periods. The artist pays equal attention to form and to conceptual and/or contextual concerns. Here he has painted an expressive, engrossing face of the veteran Indian artist S. H. Raza. It brings out amply the mood and the looks, while a genius is at work, as if meditating.

Artist Sudhir Pathwardhan continues to evolve his figurative style in expressionist drawings on one hand and large complex oil paintings of town and cityscapes on the other. His forlorn figure of a worried, weary head is gripping and haunting enough. Nayanaa Kanodia's paintings revolve around protagonists who seem to be quite narcissistic and aware of the centrality of their position in the canvas.

These are often poignant yet fascinating facial expressions that map the mind and the inner recesses of it.

The 'T'te ' t'te' exhibition, dedicated to all facets of the human head, continues till December 20, 2006 at Lansdowne Gallery, Mumbai.

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