Artists > Abir Karmakar

Installation View - I, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2016-17

Introduction

Inviting the viewer to assume the gaze and role of the voyeur, Karmakar's video installations adopt an economy of means, his palette tending towards monochrome, the austere grammar of the work parsed from the movements made by the figures. In viewing it, we become painfully aware of the depredations of time on the body, of the gradations by which the body casts off security and social propriety, like so many suits of clothing, as it descends into sleep, to reveal the primal motors of selfhood. And as we watch Karmakar's this ad  protagonists and become involved in their dramaturgy of involuntary disclosure, we too find ourselves inveigled into dropping the customary defences of adulthood.

In Karmakar's handling, the body's urges and discontents, its shapes and impressions, leak beyond their physical confines and imprint themselves on objects and across spaces. The domestic interior records the extended presence of the bodied self, which claims it as habitation and, indeed, as habitat. Equally, alongside these lavish flows of desire, Karmakar's art bears testimony to decay and desuetude: he identifies the processes of ruin, in anatomy as in architecture, on toned flesh as on a window frame. Of late Karmakar has turned to installation, translating the very concerns and preoccupations that animated his paintings into a three-dimensional vocabulary. "I have always been interested in the periphery," the artist says. But it's not just the in-between-ness that Karmakar points to, but also the aperture's capacity to clarify and also obfuscate, to reveal a world beyond even as it conceals the one within. It's a blind, thus, in more ways than one, quite like the rooms in Karmakar's paintings which function as a kind of spatial metaphor for and an extension of a frame of mind.

Born 1977 in Siliguri, India
Bachelor of Visual Arts in Painting, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta
MA in Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda
Lives in Baroda

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2015
    ‘Uncanny Space’, Aicon Gallery, New York 
  • 2012
    ‘Room, Interrupted in Passage’, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, catalogue essay by Ranjit Hoskote
  • 2011
    'The Morning After', Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2008
    ‘Within the Walls’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi and Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, catalogue essay by Gayatri Sinha
  • 2007
    ‘In The Old Fashioned Way’, Aicon Gallery, London, catalogue essay by Donald Kuspit
  • 2006
    ‘Interiors', Galerie Heike Curtze, Berlin, catalogue essay by Kamala Kapoor
  • 2005
    'From my photo album,’ The Museum Gallery, Mumbai, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumba, catalogue essay by Kamala Kapoor

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2016

    Kochi Muziris Biennale

  • 2016
    ‘Abir Karmakar, Sunil Padwal,’ Gallery SKE, Bangalore 
  • 2014
    'Residual Remnants’, SITE art space and The Collective Studio Baroda, Baroda
  • 2014
    ‘India Art Fair,’ New Delhi, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
  • 2013
    'Touched by Bhupen', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke and Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai
  • 2013
    ‘Peak Shift Effect’, Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi, curated by Gayatri Sinha
  • 2012
    ‘Four Projects’, Gallery SKE, Bangalore
  • 2012
    'Cynical Love: Life in the Everyday', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi
  • 2011
    'Adbhutan - Rasa in Indian Art', CIMA Gallery, Kolkata and India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
  • 2011
    ‘Window in the Wall: India and China - Imaginary Conversations', Pearl Lam Fine Art, Shanghai, curated by Gayatri Sinha and Gao Minglu
  • 2011
    ‘Dolls’, Gallery Sumukha and Rob Dean Art, Bangalore, Chennai and London, curated by Marta Jakimowic
  • 2011
    ‘Of Gods and Goddesses, Cinema, Cricket: The New Cultural Icons Of India’, RPG Academy of Art & Music, Mumbai, curated by Arshiya Lokhandwala
  • 2011
    ‘Yeh Image Mahaan India meets Bharat’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, organized by CIMA Gallery, Kolkata
  • 2011
    ‘Pills', Latitude 28, New Delhi, curated by Avni Doshi
  • 2011
    '5th Anniversary Exhibition', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2011
    India Art Summit, New Delhi, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
  • 2010
    ‘Changing Skin’, presented by The Fine Art Company at Coomaraswamy Hall, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, curated by Marta Jakimowicz
  • 2010
    ‘INDIA AWAKENS - Under the Banyan Tree’, Essl Museum, Vienna, curated by Dr. Alka Pande
  • 2010
    'Have I Ever Opposed You?- New Art from India and Pakistan', Gallery Faye Fleming and Partner, Geneva
  • 2009
    'A New Vanguard: Trends in Contemporary Indian Art', Saffron Art and The Guild Art Gallery, New York
  • 2009
    'Failed Plot', KIAF, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2009
    'New Fables: Contemporary Voices', Gandhara Art Gallery, Kolkata
  • 2009
    'Long Gone & Living Now', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinreucke, Mumbai
  • 2009
    'Threshold: Forging Narratives in South Asian Contemporary Art', Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2009
    'Shifting Shapes Unstable Signs’, Yale University School of Art, Connecticut, USA, curated by Robert Storr and Jaret Vadera
  • 2009
    ‘PANORAMA: INDIA at ARCO_Madrid’, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2009
    ‘Mutant Beauty’, Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi, curated by Gayatri Sinha
  • 2008
    Gallery weekend at the Baumwollspinnerei Factory Complex, Leipzig, Germany, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2008
    ‘A MAZ ING', Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, curated by Anupa Mehta for RPG Academy of Art and Culture
  • 2007
    '1st Anniversary Exhibition', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2007
    'Reality Bites', CIMA Gallery, Calcutta