Chittrovanu Mazumdar, the only artist to have a solo show in the ongoing India Art Summit in Delhi, talks about his latest works.

Even as hundreds of art works jostle for space and attention of art buyers and enthusiasts at the second edition of India Art Summit, in a 60 square metre stall at Pragati Maidan, the 27 cutting-edge creations of Chittrovanu Mazumdar sit pretty in solitude. The Dubai-based 1x1 art gallery owned by Malini Gulrajani has decided to foray into India’s art market by presenting a solo artist, which makes it an exception in this year’s summit. Just one glance at the body of mixed-media works created specially for the show, and it becomes clear why a viewer would need to see them in totality. Using mediums like tar and beeswax combining them with photography, acrylic paint and bold brushstrokes on plywood and steel, Chittrovanu plays on the subject of memory and unlayering. Born in Paris, Chittrovanu graduated from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, and went on to study painting and printmaking at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris. Excerpts from an interview:

On the theme of memory

I wanted to go back in time and travel into the unconscious. It’s like uncovering what we forget and what we remember. It’s dark. Sometimes you read something in a newspaper or you see something, you get disturbed and it comes out spontaneously on a canvas. For me, I have to live it, be in it and believe in it.

On the execution

There are no canvases. There is wood and metal, tar and wax, digital imagery. There are works made of lights on mild steel panel with dimmer, speakers and soundtrack. The sound piece in which each note ranges from 520 to 570 megahertz and gives out primordial sounds. There are a few digital works of human and landscape imagery with wax and tar on mild steel.

On being fascinated by unconventional materials like tar and beewax

I saw it being laid on road and was taken aback by its density. Its extraordinary darkness, it emits light, it shines… impresses me. You can’t control it so it’s partly treated as a sculptural body and partly as paint. I get huge chunks of beeswax from the Sunderbans, get them melted and cleaned up. To harden it, I put resin in it and then pigments are added. They are poured over one another making it appear like memory being unlayered and skin being uncovered…

On inclusion of technology, photography in his works and being different from Bengal school of art

Art is the only thing that allows you freedom. You go trans-boundaries, materials, you break the system every time.

On being the lone artist to go solo in the show

Frankly, I wasn’t aware of that. I am extremely lucky to be able to get that space but a good work is a good work, be it a solo or in a group show. It’s a risk that the gallery has taken and it might or might not work.