Jogen Chowdhury Archives

The very first inscription: It's not just making figures or clothes, but making the drawing of figures or clothes purposeful.*


Stillness is no end or still. There is also a tremendous power in the stillness of an object, a force which is no less than apparently a matter in great speed. Stillness is a form of speed while not in force. It has the possibility of a force - in a different form.


A certain tension is most essential in art work which is the result of the total effect of composition, colour and rhythm or sensitive lines. . . I do not agree that it is only 'speed' which creates such tension (Ramkinkar's view), but it is 'stillness' which can create even greater tension in a work of art. A form of speed represented physically in an art work may not create a successful tension in it. Aesthetic tension in an art work is very different from an 'expression of speed.' Speed is not necessarily important for a painting, or an art form, but tension is important.


I find that the recent group of paintings/drawings are significant. This group of work is becoming unique in expression, very earthy, 'national', and true to my feeling. I consider them very original in expression, style or in image. They are Indian. I like them, and for me they make a breakthrough in my work, as well as in our whole art scene. But there should be people, who can understand this best. Let us hope so.


Nowadays no incident, nothing is more important than my work of doing painting.


I am deeply involved in it -


I think my work is becoming more original. The images are known to me and they are true. They are earthy, organic, introvert and gloomy, sometimes satiristic. I feel they are unique, and born out of me.


We must reject/discard those outward or foreign influences outright which can disturb or confuse a search to create an idiom which is true to this soil.


Artists accomplish what God cannot. If all that artists have brought into being in the world is eliminated, the world will be all the poorer for it, devoid of diversity, turned to a void. Our life itself will recede to the pre-historic, the pre-cultural.*


Art needs to protect herself, to stay like a shy woman, with chastity, even being in poverty.


You have to sow the seeds before you can reap the harvest. New seasons demand new seeds. The fields of the mind need water, air and light for the sowing of seeds. The fields of the mind need to have the sap flowing freely through their veins.*


We should also paint or draw such things so that it is enjoyed by the common people, so that they cease to like bad works of art, which are commercially produced.


If it is possible to express a thought in a simple manner, with which you get the totality of it in a painting or a drawing - which gives you the ‘ultimate’ - then do you need to exaggerate or complicate it with uncalled-for elements or processes?


I think I work automatically. I do not scheme for it.


Colour is not red + blue+red, green+green+red or yellow. Colour is when red or green is matched with spirit or bathed in spirit. It can be even grey or black.


The ocean in a drop of water.*


In a painting it is visually true that even only black is capable of creating enough aesthetic expression. This shows that colour for painting is one of the ingredients - but not the essential one. It only broadens the area of a painting.


Form and texture is important - you cannot ignore them. In fact colour is also used to create some sort of form and texture... Colour scheme, when it is matched, is artistically tense.


I must note down this that I was always wanting to bring my work of art down to earth from a 'floating image', from the pretension of the work of art to an image attached to earth or a simple life, expression, the image which is close to my heart.


It is not desirable to be just, wise and old and inactive. But to stay youthful, Vivant' and active: which is really wise.


You do not discover colours because colours already exist. You only choose it as per your form and texture or feeling or expression which is the ground. You reach to a style or form with lines/texture. You discover your attitude - you discover it through your obsession - your involvement. You cannot ultimately make it through influenced skill - which does not have roots, or soul.


Art is not deep, not serious - art is simple, free and exact.*


Our pictures become significant only when they become of a kind that seems not to have been possible to paint ever or not possible to be painted in the future. The work will thus hold a time and a character all its own. It will be firmly defined. There will be a time when we shall not be there any longer. All that will survive us will be our love, our time and character, as part of our pictures.*


Art is ultimately involved with the manner of living. Hence art cannot manifest itself in its totality until the question of living has been clearly defined at the personal plane and the larger social plane.

As long as that is not accomplished, all that we can have is fragmented, undefined expressions.*


I like to paint figures not to tell a definite story, but as they are - independently acting/reacting by themselves as if they are just space and forms - but they mean their appearances - gesture and personality. If a meaning is formed, well, that is OK. If not, that too is fine. More important for me is the total effect of the visual forms and visual interactions, of course with the presence of those human forms as objects with all their vigour, complexities and character.


Drawings or pictures come into being mainly in three ways (from the perspective of form) - (i) centring on the form of the object; (ii) breaking up the form of the object and centring on the form of the image; (iii) reaching towards the form of the picture through centring on the form of the object.

*Translated from the original Bengali.

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