Transits of a Wholetimer
Gallery Espace is proud to present Transits of a Wholetimer from September 8–October 6, 2012, an exhibition of works by J.Swaminathan (1953-1964), curated by S. Kalidas (Art Critic, Writer, Director of the J. Swaminathan Foundation), and son of the late artist. Considered one of the preeminent Indian modernist painters, J.Swaminathan has played an influential role for a generation of artists, critics, and art historians in India. S.Kalidas says: “Transits of a Wholetimer is a time capsule from my father’s archives. It is an art historical display that traces the metamorphosis of J. Swaminathan (1928-1994) from a left-wing political radical to an equally radical artist-critic.” The exhibition will feature vignettes from his autobiographical notes, some early drawings, illustrations and sketches from his exercise sketchbooks, family photographs, letters written to him by his colleagues and friends, some of his early catalogues and photographs of works spanning 1952-1964, and some of J. Swaminathan’s works from the early 1960s.
Swaminathan was fond of quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s famous saying “My life is an indivisible whole”. So in his work, too, he completed the circle as it were, by returning to doing the kind of work at the end of his life that he had started out doing in the early 1960s. To trace the arch of his oeuvre, as it were, this showing also has some examples of his later paintings from the two most well-known stylistic periods of his life—The Bird Tree Mountain series and the Tribal/Folk inspired abstracts.
Resonating with his Tamil ancestry, the exhibition loosely observes the aham-puram demarcation of Sangam literature where aham the ‘inner space’ (themes of home/ women/ love) contrasts with puram the ‘outer space’ (themes of the city/man/heroism)”.