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Lot Details

Signed 'Sakti Burman' (lower right)

Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi
Private collection, Dubai

Sakti Burman: A Private Universe, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, 13 February - 30 April 2015

Sakti Burman: A Private Universe, Exhibition Catalogue, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, pg. 54 (illustrated)

"Sakti Burman’s tableaux came to life only because he has organized personal narratives, chance events, archival borrowings, and iconographical references into a coherent pattern for our delectation. He is a storyteller who invigorates our imagination by reminding us that we are not simply made of muscle, nerve, and bone - but that we are also made up fo the words and images, the poems and stories that we inherit from countless previous generations with our genetic code."

More than the particularity of the stories they hold, Burman's paintings excites the imagination and fascinates onlooker by giving us a peep into his personal life. His favorite protagonists are his own family, especially his grandchildren who would often be accompanied by figures culled from the artist's fecund imagination.

Here, plumed birds are set amongst playful children in pointed caps and animated gestures. Harlequin sits on a stuffed chair wearing a colorful costume and a checkered hat. He wears a withdrawn look on his face, lost to the merriment around him.

Embedded in the current narrative are alter egos - Harlequin and Pierrot, the best-known characters from the repertoire of the commedia dell’arte and the pantomime. Presented as opposites, Harlequin and Pierrot can be considered twin aspects of the same personality manifesting against itself. Wearing a somber look on his face that exposes the sadness the colorful costume concealed, Harlequin borrows Pierrot's melancholic outlook showing a version of Sakti’s multifaceted brand of portraiture - as an artist who participates and witness and as an actor and an observer to his creation.

Text Reference:
Ranjit Hoskote, In the Presence of Another Sky: The Confluential Art of Sakti Burman, Art Musings, Mumbai, 2017, pg. 35

Sakti Burman

(b. 1935)
Born in Kolkata, Sakti Burman graduated from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, in 1956 and then went on to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, where, in 1956, he won the Prix des Etrangers. Some of the most recent solo shows of his work include a retrospective at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata and Maison de I’Unesco, in 2008. Burman’s works have also been featured at various other international gallery exhibitions; including at the Rand Palais, Paris, in 1975 and 1994; and at the French Biennales in 1963, 1965 and 1967. The artist lives and works in Paris.