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b. 1960, India

Jyothi Basu Biography

In Jyothi Basu's detailed drawings and paintings, disparate spheres of the urban and rural, ancient and futuristic, and organic and geometric converge to create fantastic landscapes.

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Jyothi Basu studied at the College of Fine Arts Kerala in the 1980s, during which time he was affiliated with the Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors Association. The short-lived movement, led by K.P. Krishnakumar and based in Basu's home-state of Kerala, opposed the increasing commodification of art and called for social awareness and rejection of academic-style painting in India.

Many of Jyothi Basu's works from the 1980s are portraits of his friends and colleagues, as well as self-portraits. Charcoal drawing Chittrabanu (1983) shows a seated figure absorbed in reading; Yohannan (1986) emphasises the silhouette of another seated figure by varying the weight of the outline.

Upon completing his studies at the The Maharaja Sayajirao University Baroda in Gujarat in 1991, Jyothi Basu decided against pursuing a career in art and worked instead as a set designer for television channels. Returning to painting in 1998, Jyothi Basu began to explore the themes of death and resurrection. The resulting paintings, such as the iconic 'Resurrection' series of the late 1990s, depict fantastic landscapes rendered in vivid colours.

A sense of the monumental looms large in works such as Resurrection series (Rays 2) (1999): a single curving tree-trunk hovers over an ocean, appearing massive and evoking a gigantic creature. In the background, clouds modelled as masses of grey recall alien spaceships, while the rays of sunlight that pierce through them accentuate the sublime atmosphere.

Jyothi Basu has continued to create paintings that exist in an ambiguous time. Tall, column-like structures occupy the canvas in Farewell Party (2004) or Order Breaks from Within (2005). Though devoid of human figures, activities such as flames bursting from the necks of towers and objects hovering in the air suggest the presence of a civilisation. Basu employs a range of patterns and textures for his structures: irregular and regular, geometric and figurative, as well as symbols rendered in neon-like lights, offering a sense of both the archaic and the futuristic.

Jyothi Basu Solo Exhibitions include:

V. N. Jyothi Basu—Portraits and Landscapes on Paper, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2018); Landscape towards a Supreme Fiction, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York (2006); Visionary Antiquities, Nature Morte, New Delhi, and Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2006).

Jyothi Basu Group Exhibitions include:

Nine Painters from Kerala, Galerie Mirchandanie + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2018); Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012); India Inclusive: Contemporary Art from India, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland (2011); Santhal Family, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (2008).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

Jyothi Basu Featured Artworks

View All (21)
Sleeping Fear and Sleepless Ancestors by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuSleeping Fear and Sleepless Ancestors, 2005Oil on canvas
183 x 214 cm
Thomas Erben Gallery Contact Gallery
Study for Seeing - II by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuStudy for Seeing - II, 1998Pastel on paper
23 x 29 cm
Thomas Erben Gallery Contact Gallery
Separated to Unite by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuSeparated to Unite, 2005Charcoal on paper
43 x 29 cm
Thomas Erben Gallery Contact Gallery
Farewell Party by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuFarewell Party, 2004Oil on canvas
183 x 214 cm
Thomas Erben Gallery Contact Gallery
Chittrabanu by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuChittrabanu, 1983Charcoal on brown paper
91 x 58 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Untitled by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuUntitled, 1996Paint on paper
21.5 x 30 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Untitled by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuUntitledCrayon and watercolour on paper
56 x 38 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Resurrection series (grass) by Jyothi Basu contemporary artwork
Jyothi BasuResurrection series (grass), 1999Oil on paper
53 x 71 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery

Jyothi Basu Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Jyothi Basu, Portraits and Landscapes on Paper at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Closed
13 July–24 August 2018 Jyothi Basu Portraits and Landscapes on Paper Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Nine Painters From Kerala at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Closed
9 March–3 May 2018 Group Exhibition Nine Painters From Kerala Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Jyothi Basu, Landscape Towards a Supreme Fiction at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York
Closed
19 April–20 May 2006 Jyothi Basu Landscape Towards a Supreme Fiction Thomas Erben GalleryNew York

Jyothi Basu Represented By

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