I don’t remember exactly when and how I met them, but I do remember the time I first saw the stunning work and simultaneously met and realised how ‘real’ this duo was. The warmth and grounding, was perhaps the byproduct of a curious combustion of Jalandhar meets Delhi, or could well have been the resultant of discovering a creative soul-mate in each other …Whatever be the reason, Jiten Thukral & Sumir Tagra were a very welcome addition to the Art scene of India.
The reality aspect of course ends right there… for when it comes to their work (and their creativity in personal dressing), a pair of unconventional dreamers indulging in surreal expressions start to make their presence felt. T&T (as they are known) are like young scientists let loose in a laboratory, constantly experimenting and discovering newness. If not jet-setting across the planet, they will almost always be found in their studio spaces in Gurgaon. For artists who express in vibrant colours, the various shades of grey that surround them here are almost the perfect backdrop for their richly detailed canvasses.
They do work hard…very hard actually… and the effort in conceptualising and detailing is commendable. I also laud the fact that their works are so much more than just paintings or sculptures. In their own communique: Thukral & Tagra work on new formats of public engagement and attempt to expand the scope of what art can do. They break out of the mediated and disciplinary world and create multi-modal sensory and immersive environments. An unknown fact to most is that a fair amount of their work and creative expression revolves around games. They’ve taken some rather obvious everyday games (ping pong, snooker etc) and tweaked them into very original and meaningful activities… the resultant quirkiness and ingenuity, culminating in profound and important messages, reflect a unique creative prowess and a deeper thinking silently lurking somewhere beneath the art of the detailed brushstrokes.
Finally, and as always, I shall let the images say the rest.
PS* For those who may not know, the Indian art scene is a bit confused at present, having seen its glorious highs and its lamenting lows….the old masters still attract an impressive demand whilst the contemporary artist tries hard to make his presence felt. Barring the husband-wife team of Subodh Gupta & Bharti Kher, contemporary Indian art is slowly but surely finding its footing, both in India as well as Internationally. But as they say, the pleasure of life is in the journey and not in the destination; and it this very spirit that will continue to create great creativity and creators, and make the world a more beautiful place.
The masters too, after all, were newbies once…
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