Exhibition in London to focus on works by Indian modernist Benode Behari Mukherjee

New Delhi, Jan 6 (PTI) Indian artist Benode Behari Mukherjee's collages from the late 1950s and 1960s created following his loss of sight will be the focus of an upcoming exhibition in London.

Set to open on January 9 at the David Zwirner gallery, 'Benode Behari Mukherjee: After Sight' will be the first solo presentation in Europe devoted to Mukherjee.

A pioneering Indian modernist known for his visual style influenced by Indian, East Asian, and eastern art practices and traditions, the artist was among the first students at Kala Bhavana, the fine-arts institute founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

Born blind in one eye and myopic in the other, the artist lost his eyesight completely in 1957.

'Rather than ceasing to produce visual art, Mukherjee expanded his practice, continuing not only to create drawings but also to explore more tactile media, such as sculpture and especially collage,' the David Zwirner gallery said in a statement.

On view at the show will be a range of these late period collages.

Although they evoke the style and format of French artist Henri Matisse's paper cut outs, Mukherjee's collages are emblematic of his own experience and style.

The gallery statement noted that the artist created the exhibits by shaping and organising his figures through touch, and deciding on and dictating specific colours for the compositions from memory.

'The collages also reveal how the artist continued, even after losing his eyesight, to depict subjects and imagery that he had encountered throughout his life -- from street processions to Bengali theatre -- all rendered from memory in a bold, joyous, and vibrant style,' the gallery said.

One of the works that will be part of the show will be 'Reclining Man' that depicts a figure with orange skin wearing blue clothing and resting his head against his hand with this knees bent.

The figure's body extends diagonally from from one corner of the composition to the other, actively drawing the viewer's eye across the surface of the collage.

'Pointed blue and red lines match the shape of the bent body, further reinforcing the contained energy within the work,' the gallery said.

Also on view will be a selection of the artist's felt-tip pen and charcoal drawings.

'These works exhibit Mukherjee's remarkable control and energy, underscoring his connection to his media and his ability to grasp spatial order and compositional balance through gesture and the movement of his pen, rather than sight.

'Highly playful, inventive and evocative, the works on view will testify to the deep connection between Mukherjee and his craft,' the gallery said.

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Delhi's Vadehra Art Gallery that represents the estate of the artist. Several of the works on view will also be on loan from the collection of the Delhi's Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

The exhibition will continue till February 22. PTI TRS MAH MAH