EXHIBITION - Krishen khanna: A Retrospective (Jan 22-Feb 05, 2010) :

The thought of a retrospective is unnerving to some artists. It is considered some kind of grand finale, an end to a life's work. William de Kooning was one such who kept procrastinating.

This attitude however is not mine. In a sense it is taking stock of what I've been through and what I have done so far. It is an opportunity to review the entire gamut of what has happened to me till now and what I have been able to make of it. It is not to be confused with the usual kind of exhibition where works of art are offered for sale. It essentially offers a view of the development of an artist. The long road of development is far from being a tidy, manicured path with its holes and bumps. It's not an easy path to negotiate. The intention of this exhibition has not been to select my 'best'. All my works, even the ones which did not succeed completely, and even those which were failures and destroyed, were all done with passion. No painter ever sat down to paint a 'masterpiece'. There are innumerable factors which have to come together at a particular moment for a wonderful painting to happen. I can only hope that my paintings are viewed with empathy and are able to convey some sense of development, and dare I hope, some achievement.

This retrospective is not comprehensive as there is much more work outside our country in several private and public collections which could not be included. The logistics and the expenses involved in mounting such an exhibition would have been prohibitive. As it is, this exhibition, even in its attenuated form has been a monumental task, and one which I would not have been able to accomplish on my own. It has been made possible by the professional handling and expertise of Saffronart and its able team of experts.

I consider myself fortunate in receiving their support and their faith reposed in me. My gratitude also to many friends and many more unknown to me, who have loaned the paintings they own. I realize how difficult it is to loan a work which has been a constant companion for long. There is the danger of damage for which the insurance claim is no recompense.

For various reasons it was not possible to include my photographic experiments nor the ink paintings I was involved with for many years. They will have to wait for my next retrospective!

An exasperated elder once said to me that painting and poetry were a curse upon me. It has turned out to be a blessing.

-- Krishen Khanna

January 2010

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