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Passage, an exhibition of six free-standing double-sided paintings of cut out domestic walls by Abir Karmakar are two things at once. They are images of frozen time and objects in real time. Painted in the Trompe-l’œil tradition, they bridge two worlds – one seen through a camera lens and the other of the physical world.

Abir’s painting practice aligns with the continuing conversation around how to integrate and subvert the role of the camera as a truth telling device. He turns the vastness of a stretched canvas surface into a map where the disembodied eye travels  laterally  and  vertically,  contrasting  how  both  human  eyes  and  mirrored lenses are affected by perceptual distortion. In Abir’s world, every square meter is meticulously re-presented, even the shallow world of reflections on TVs, mirrors, and glass cabinets. Through a deft translation of light on a surface he brings us to places in real time.

What if the painted surface and the depicted place are one and the same? There is no fictional door, window or a screen to pass through to get to these paintings. Instead, the faithful refabrication of the walls insist on a suspension of disbelief that we are in fact there. In Abir’s work, the familiar and the banal seamlessly transform into the peculiar and the particular. His embodied practice of representational painting invites us to not only simply recognize through sight, but to feel through touch.

Sangram Majumdar

Seattle, USA

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