Sumitro Basak’s current body of work which includes book making – also pop-up books, emerges as if out of a need to document the events of a period. In this way, his visual and personal chronicling of a time, is akin to literature, more specifically, to storytelling. Basak’s narrative paintings have to be not just seen, as we would see an image of still life or a cubist painting – but also heard. The artist acknowledges the influence of cinema and literature in his work
“Story telling is maybe my art practice, my actual medium, but I also like to draw, I like the visual,” says the artist, also a traveler, he frequents the route between Kolkata, Burdwan and Bolpur often and photographs the changes going around; the houses with LUX billboards, the increasing urbanization of the Mofussil and the multiplying, changing and glaring visual culture. Basak’s appropriation from popular visual culture; not only Indian but also Japanese Manga comics and Tokyo’s 60s cultural underground, symbolizes the departure from the heroic and classical vision of the artist, to one which focuses on his ludic and ironic questioning role. Sumitro Basak perhaps, in that respect, shares an affinity with Andy Warhol. Both artists like to blur the distinctions between art and life; between the fine and plebeian. Even if the viewer sees Basak’s work as playacting, hyperbolic and comic, it is also deadly serious with almost a powerful sense of the penultimate.