Art Basel OVR:2021: Sudhir Patwardhan: Portraits of an Existential Artist

9 - 12 February 2022 
Online Viewing Room

Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the upcoming edition of Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms OVR:2021, dedicated to works created in the year 2021, with a collection of canvases and works on paper in a presentation titled Portraits of an Existential Artist by artist Sudhir Patwardhan.


Leading contemporary artist Sudhir Patwardhan reflects on the personal experiences of being a working artist during the last year, overshadowed by world events and the pandemic, and tips the scales in favour of philosophical scepticism. In this series of paintings made over the course of the year 2021, the passions of anxiety inextricable from creative impulses in the studio are transformed into fierce acts of vexation, as Patwardhan himself departs from the familiar contours of his dominant realist language for powerful expressionism. He speculates on the cause: Dadaism, or the artist’s destruction of art as an anti-systemic declaration; nihilism, or the artist’s rejection of the arbitrarily assigned values of art; fundamentalism, or the artist’s extreme attitude towards purist creation and perfectionism; or the seismic effects of the global pandemic, especially in India, where much of life’s experiences and inspirations continue to be fabricated because of an ongoing restrictive lifestyle. In illustrating the frustrations of the artistic process, from physical studio anxieties to cognitive doubts about art, Patwardhan eloquently presents us with a moving narrative that explores the human condition as manifested in the social roles and experiences of the constrained artist. He reveals the underbelly of creation and creativity through the trope of the aggressive artist who is not only cut off from public experience and circulation, but is also grappling with perpetual dissatisfaction, as artists have throughout the ages, with feeling as if they have failed to say what they set out to say.

of 35