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From the curator’s desk

“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration” – Frida Kahlo

A woman of the present Kanchan Chander creates expression and her artworks are manifestations of her own journey. A prominent face among the contemporary art fraternity she has been written about by several well know Curators and Art Critiques. Collectors, prestigious Galleries & Museums
worldwide include her works in their collection. Like National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; Fukuoka
Musuem, Japan; British Museum and V&A Museum, London; Tijara Fort, Alwar; The Neemrana Group and many more. Her Paintings, Drawings,
Mixed media on canvas & paper, installations and sculptures form ripples of a unique charisma to engage art connoisseurs to feel the essence. After an active quiescent of six years, exclusively working on Torsos for the past two decades gave inception to conceptualizing this show as a bold satirical expression.

TORSOS communicate the physical and mental being of a woman of substance which she carries in the aura of her personality with esteem. In the anatomy of a woman the’ Torso’ is the most vital part that cages emotions, sensuality’s, sensitivities and probably is the most attractive. Evidently, Kanchan’s torsos are headless and limbless, this is a deliberate exclusion to emphasis and treat the object as the subject henceforth giving her the liberty to experiment with extensions and additions of other forms to the torso. The retrieved desires that were once upon a time – anger, rage, lust and betrayal are now replaced by the poised celebration of experiences aesthetically portrayed in the installations of torsos; draped by assembling of paper collages from magazines cuttings, wrapping papers, stickers, laces and embellished with sequins and swarovskis. As life unfurled each day for Kanchan, so did the torsos gently evolved. Earlier installations had minimal, monumental kitsch material, with sparse decorative motifs. But by the years, these torsos became more intricately adorned with decorative motifs which were vibrant and refreshing, they arrested forms of the torso using different mediums so naturally. The works resonate her style and all the tedious intricate detailing surrenders to perfection. “ I too wanted to dress up and look good after a long time” says Kanchan. The Torso installations are among the several highlights of the show “Whispering Torsos” – very bold & funky they come alive with vibrant colours.
Kanchan’s paintings are full of textured lines— subtly depicting semi abstraction and her journey encapsulates her ongoing time line; from where she began to how she now believes in engaging her subject before breathing life in them with all kinds of mixed media objects found at home, on streets and local bazaars. Influenced by the works of the much celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and the cinema, makes Kanchan revisit the actress in her, time and again. The embellishing and applying of layers upon layers of paint gives Kanchan a meditative & therapeutic solace. Ensuring all art elements – composition, tonality, lines, colours, mediums and placements are
summarized with precision. Her thought process is more human and intuitive
as she continues to work.

Most of her highlighted Paintings & Drawings are titled with phrases from old songs “Koi louta de mere bitay huai din”… sung by Kishore Kumar and “Woh kagaz ki kashti” sung by Jagjit Singh, through the titled paintings Kanchan portrays the eagerness to return to the time machine and re-live the moments once again and rectify all the errors. Other titled works with are part of this show are “Jio aur Jeene doh”, “Yeh zindagi usi ki hai, jo kiss ka ho gaya” old melodies like “we had joy we had fun, we had seasons in the sun”.

The ‘Que Sera Sera’ series, is an exclamation to the future happenings that life
is yet to reveal, which are not in our control. “I have wings & wanna fly”……enough is enough and I wanted to move on in life, says Kanchan.

‘Drawing Assemblage’, also part of this show is a set of 12 drawings of acrylic
and charcoal on handmade paper, a mixture of aesthetic play with monotones
and colour conveying through the visual language a message to the present women concerns in the present society at large; “Pinjare ke panchi, tera daard na jane koi” sung by Kavi Pra deep. These drawings express ultimate climax, a satisfaction of the inner passion of the artist who once choose to live in a cocoon with restrictions, norms of the society constantly jostling to make it !

Today she has consciously decided to break free and be herself. Kanchan! Accepting and dealing with all the rugged and raw realities of life, the notable impression is seen in her etchings & prints, drypoints and wood cut works.

Consciously quaint objects became part of her Sculptures “Whimsical Torso”,
displayed in this show. The two sculptures created from iron rods in forms of a male & female torsos, stand tall mischievously holding all kinds of kitsch material and strewn household objects. Collected over a period of an year, such as locks & keys, nuts & bolts etc. ” I never throw even a small pin”, says Kanchan. For her its has been a challenge everyday of being a woman in this male dominated world; the reversal of roles of being the man, had begun very early from doing basic errands of fixing flushes to minor electrical repairs in the household. Simultaneously managing elderly parents, a growing son after sudden demise of a young brother single-handed was quite a battle in itself, but here is where the warrior in her gathered all the strength and stands victorious.

As a curator, my very first polite interaction with her was at common social art gatherings followed by a visit one day to her studio. Instantly we clicked and discovered the common connects we shared, fairly a few as Delhi was home to us for years now. Positive vibes lay foundation to a great sense of bonding and the generous hospitality paved way for working on this show.

Kanchan showed her belief in me and motivated me to take this one step ahead. Having existed in the art fraternity for more than 15 years, this was a completely different kind of a professional challenge even though one has been part of many such in the past but here it was a question of trust entrusted on you to make it the best. Each visit to the studio made me more and more curious about the works, to observe and understand the sensitivities each artworks embraced in itself.

Each day comes knocking to find a place in her studio where she painstakingly works to nurture strength and joy that would burn out the pain in her and is fascinating to see the teacher in her who gives her students the freedom to explore, gradually guiding them to bring out the finesses in their works.

The discipline and managing of time she follows is what puts a system to this
creative madness, which is worth emulating. All the painting ad artworks neatly stacked with all precautions taken to safely house them. The sound of the dehumidifier in the kitchen area very interesting accommodates small transparent containers, filled with colourful laces, different kinds of embellishments, sequins and swarovskis shelved in rows that replace our day to day Indian masalas and spices. A refrigerator well stacked with all kinds of beverages and a microwave, an electric kettle are permanent company to Kanchan while she works in her studio and entertain her guests and visitors.
She enjoys her work thoroughly and at times her mind wanders in and out of the memories. The music system modestly obliges seated next to the printer & laptop while she works listening to all kinds of songs starting from the ones sung by Geeta Dutt, Hemant Kumar, Jagmohan to the Western Classics by Mozart And Pavorotti.

Her soul finds a sacred space here, where she continues to age graciously along with her promising artist son, Pallav. Having personally followed her as an artist over the years and silently related to her works, ignite desires and impart strong and thought provoking messages on issues concerning the women in our society where we choose to coexist.

To this new beginning, I wish to thank Kanchan for this privilege of knowing you, the core essence of your works and sharing the insight through this show.

A special thanks to Sangeeta Kumari and all individuals who have contributed and supported in putting up this grand epic show – Whispering Torsos.

Kiran K. Mohan
Curator
2017
IF

From the curator’s desk – Kiran Mohan
September 7, 2017

Written by Kiran K. Mohan | Curator 2017

A woman of the present Kanchan Chander creates expression and her artworks are manifestations of her own journey.
August 12, 2015

By Dr. Alka Pandey, Independent Curator/writer

Kanchan Chander has undoubtedly come of age. Her chosen path has been a constantly evolving one. Yet the recurring leitmotif of the ‘body’ has been constant in Kanchan’s visual vocabulary. At home in the world, Kanchan is very much embedded in the present.
August 12, 2015

By Dr.Seema Bawa, Art Historian

The body is important for the woman, it is a symbol of her identity, nay her identity itself. Therefore she constructs a language that enhances this identity through the use of ornamental accessories, be it a piece of lace or zari or buttons.