Visible Arts | Magnificence in ravaged landscapes

What constitutes a land­scape in the Anthro­po­cene Age? The rolling meadows of Constable have extensive turned into condominium blocks and industrial complexes and Gopal Ghose’s idyllic countryside is increasingly becoming gobbled by a hungry town. In which, then, does the artist seek aesthetic enjoyment? Suman Chandra, the winner of the fourth version of the CIMA Awards, finds elegance — albeit just one that is dirty with horror — in and all over landscapes that have been ravaged by coal mining in his solo exhibition, Silent Vision (till August 19 at CIMA). The subterranean globe of coal mines and the lives of miners have been a matter of interest to a variety of wonderful artists, which include Vincent van Gogh, Constantin Meunier and the Ashington Team, whose users were miners themselves. When the squalor and darkness in the is effective of Meunier or the Pitmen Painters (as the Ashington Group is commonly acknowledged) make them instantaneously recognisable and mournful, Chandra’s vocabulary is extra terrifying in its virtually clinical
depiction of coal mining by way of his work of a deeply technological idiom.

Chandra makes use of engineering grids, graphs and other technological representational traditions of collieries to map these minescapes. The unique levels and geological substances of the mines and the land all over them are marked out with numerous patterns painstakingly loaded out on meticulously hand-drawn graphs (Mauna Mukharata, picture). In this purely materialistic vision of coal mines that seeks to extract utmost benefit from the land, there is no house for human presence. The ‘neatness’ of these avaricious patterns is sullied by the undulating land formations produced from coal and brick dust, sand and charcoal, reminding viewers of the hideous disfiguring of the landscapes that these sanitised maps signify. What helps make this juxtaposition more hanging is the contrast involving the shades of pink and purple applied in the graphs and
the dark tones of the coal dust and sand.

At instances, the neatness of the graphs is overlaid with round shapes that do not stick to any pattern — are these unlawful rat-gap mine chutes that endanger the life of people today who are pressured into these slim, unstable openings to eke out a dwelling? Elsewhere (Pelabata14), the orderliness of the reddish graph strains is broken by white damaging area in the shape of a tree at the margins of a cavernous mine as if the tree exists only in memory, its existence swallowed up by the yawning chasm of the mine. Misshapen patches of gridlines are also cleverly applied to signify torn bandages caught on the earth’s wounds in some of the is effective.

Symptoms of lifestyle, when they do surface, are pushed to the margins by the ever-spreading mines. In Niyamita Abadhyata – 1, for occasion, daily life and livelihood overlap in a set of five is effective. Human beings and animals are lowered to white silhouettes in the mainly barren foreground, while charcoal-coloured hills get about the horizon. Cabbages and coal chunks lie strewn aspect by aspect, practically inseparable. Very small black dots shroud the landscape and all hints of daily life: the coal dust is almost everywhere — on develop and inside of one’s pretty veins. Hints of the living can also be found in the collection titled Prabaha – sanketa. Chandra pays tribute to the Sohrai custom of wall paintings. But these indigenous patterns are singed on to the partitions of the hut, indicating the awful impression that coal mining has on miners and their people. What heightens the stress is the know-how that in buy to accomplish this singed outcome, the artist uncovered his operates to coal-mine gases like methane and carbon monoxide, substances that miners inhale on a day by day basis.

The qualified use of media — mine gases are just 1 occasion of this — lends to Chandra’s works a powerful textural ingredient. Charcoal as a medium is currently textured, but the use of true coal dust and sand helps express the ruggedness of the terrain. This is contrasted in locations with the flatness of watercolour or the plainness of white paper to excellent result in some of the performs.

Whilst most of Chandra’s functions are indictments of the exploitative follow of coal mining, his nightscapes supply some aid. The darkness of the night time cloaks the gaping lacerations on the area of the Earth and the Moon shines in an inky black sky, providing a glimmer of hope and an escape from the darkness of truth.