My work moves in different directions simultaneously: Artist Sudhir Patwardhan


Leading contemporary artist Sudhir Patwardhan started off on the works displayed in his latest solo exhibition ‘Portraits of an Existential Artist’ (February 4-23) being shown at Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period marked by pessimism when every shade of gloom eclipsed the world — empty streets and shocking visuals on television screens.

For an artist who has always drawn from the external to precipitate a reaction inside him, getting cut off from public experience and human interaction, being confined to his studio brought forth a different kind of work.

“I started work on what you see in this exhibition in mid-2021 and continued till November or so. But yes, it has passed for now and I am working on a different kind of work,” he tells IANS.

A radiologist who practised medicine for three decades and started painting during his medical college years, Patwardhan says healing is a part of both — medicine and art.

“As a radiologist, I was more involved in diagnosing what ails somebody. In art, I am critically looking at society around me. In both, healing is always present in the background.”

For someone who has always moved back and forth between realism and expressionism, he adds, “I guess you will always see me doing realistic paintings and more expressionist drawings.”

In Patwardhan’s works, Mumbai has always been an important subject in his work, a city he moved to in 1973.

“I am soaked in Mumbai — in its colours and thoughts. When you live here, it is impossible to get it out of your system.”

The lives and problems of everyday folk have always been part of this artist’s works. He says that this was the world he has been seeing all around him.

“And I have always had a strong empathy for them. There is always this feeling of being a participant in their lives, and so I continue to paint that life,” he adds.

Not believing in planning any project and letting his work move in multiple directions simultaneously, Patwardhan says he keeps looking around — at the streets, his home… everywhere.

“I read, watch cinema, and an idea can come from anywhere. I make a lot of sketches, and when something clicks, one follows it into a painting.”



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