Don’t feel excited about exhibiting my work anymore, says artist Jatin Das | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Don’t feel excited about exhibiting my work anymore, says artist Jatin Das

Jatin Das, whose latest show opens at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai on October 4, says increasing commercialisation of the art industry is to blame.

art and culture Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:40 IST
Returning to Mumbai after a hiatus of almost seven years, the Padma Bhushan awardee has come up with a new show, Figures In Motion.
Returning to Mumbai after a hiatus of almost seven years, the Padma Bhushan awardee has come up with a new show, Figures In Motion.(HT Photo/Sunil Saxena)

It is difficult to fathom a painter unwilling to exhibit. But, renowned painter and sculptor Jatin Das says the excitement to exhibit his work has been on the wane over the past several years.

The increasing commercialisation of the art industry is to blame, he says. “Art has become a business, something else altogether. The dichotomy is that one still has to show,” Das told PTI.

Returning to Mumbai after a hiatus of almost seven years, the Padma Bhushan awardee has come up with a new show, Figures In Motion. The fortnight long exhibiting will see his deep- rooted and honest artistic expression resurface, as he immortalises his figures on the canvas, with his effortless strokes.

According to him, the art world has undergone “a sea of change”, with the use of words like market, business, players and clients becoming an everyday affair. This world, he says, is contrary to the times when “great camraderie” dominated business.

Another factor discouraging him from showcasing his work is the decreasing number of people who can understand and appreciate the art he creates.

“Art students are more interested in commercial art or to go abroad to study about art investment. This world did not exist before. People visited studios, sometime multiple times, to look at the works and gave money in installments,” he said.

Das’ latest show that opens at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai on October 4, exemplifies his inexhaustible energy, through his powerful lines and his unending desire to explore human figures, beyond time and space.

For the 76-year-old artist, who believes, “creativity is a transfer of energy”, it is difficult to come to terms with artists today hogging for limelight or media attention.

“I genuinely believe that any person in a creative field has to distance oneself from public for one’s own freedom and one’s privacy and space for one’s creative expression.

“I also don’t like giving interviews. But if you have a show coming up, I guess you have no choice but to give interviews and spread the word,” he said. Another factor discouraging him from showcasing his work is the decreasing number of people who can understand and appreciate the art he creates.

“In Bombay, I had so many of my friends – Sukhdev, Chari, Pratap Sharma, Dom Moraes, Leela Naidu – who are just not there anymore. So, when I have a show, I think, ‘who am I showing it to?’ Of course, the show is open to all, but you think of your friends and wonder what they would feel. It becomes a very personal experience,” he said.

Das’ first show was in 1962 at a newly opened gallery at the J J School of Art in Mumbai, where he showcased his sketches. “We all had the idealism to work passionately, with commitment. The idea was not to become an artist or earn money. That was not the concern for any of us,” he recalled.

Figures In Motion, presented by Art & Soul, will be on display till October 16.

As for exhibiting in Delhi, where he hasn’t had a show for quite some time now, the artist is bringing to town a huge body of work – about 800 portraits – which will be on display at the Lalit Kala Akademi here from November 16.