EXHIBITION - Krishen Khanna (Aug 05-Oct 22, 2005) :

"I scratch at the surface of a wound, but I am not a healer", says Krishen Khanna of his art and it's purpose.

Krishen Khanna's images provide a series of narratives on contemporary and historic events that allow us as viewers to question and address issues on a personal level of relevance. He doesn't claim to provide answers, yet his paintings create situations that disturb, provide hope, create nostalgia and familiarize icons, that prompt a non-invasive introspection: He compels us to seek answers internally. This 'non-healer' occupies a powerful, yet somewhat passive role in the commentary on contemporary Indian polity, society and everyday life.

In discussing his work, there is a disarming honesty and sense of purpose that surrounds Krishen Khanna: He provides insight without imposing his view or judgement. In delving into the context of his art, Krishen makes it clear that his life and influences are reflected in his work, however, the universality of his imagery is what touches the viewer.

Particularly intriguing, are Krishen's depiction of biblical situational themes, such as the "Last Supper", which portrays his contemporaries engaged in a subtle, yet complex web of relationships, which have spanned over 5 decades. He reveals a clever commentary on changing and developing professional and personal relationships on an individual level as well as on a macro level through India's rapidly developing economy and it's role in an increasingly networked world. However, he retains the privacy of his personal friendships with these artists which have been shaped by a collective discussion, criticism and support.

Krishen's imagery has gained an iconic status that now allows us to use the familiar to address the unfamiliar and the unknown. His representations of the "Bandwallas", "Children eating Watermelons", or themes from the Mahabharata, such as "Card Players" allows us to explore our own skeletons as well as larger societal issues, by using the vulnerability of his images as a backdrop.

We have to thank him for this opportunity and for his dedication in presenting such a vast collection of his recent work in this particular exhibition. In compiling this show, together with the launch of Gayatri Sinha's book, titled, Krishen Khanna: The Embrace of Love, we have had a chance to experience a slice of contemporary Indian history as it crosses borders, through Krishen's perspective.

We look forward to continuing the association of SaffronArt and Berkeley Square Gallery in presenting a series of important exhibitions of modern and contemporary Indian art to an Indian, as well as to an International audience.

PETER OSBORNE, Berkeley Square Gallery