"Painter Abir Karmakar's 'transgressive eroticism' is certainly provocative but more subtly it is aesthetically provocative. It's not so much the seductive nakedness of the body that is starling in Karmakar's In the Old Fashioned Way but the lowly position Karmakar put it in," says Donald Kuspit. Karmakar is an artist who explores his feminine side through photorealistic work evoking the living environs of the global citizen.
Through this gender play, he presents an alternative reading of masculinity in a society post-Internet. "The queer identity is part of my work but is not the only factor. I hope to evoke debates on how masculinity is viewed and interpreted," says the 32-year-old whose latest series, In the Old Fashioned Way showed at London's Aicon Gallery. The paintings of male nudes present the men in poses attributed to women and throws up questions about male sexuality and gender roles. "I wanted to hold a preview of this exhibition in Vadodara but I dare not because of the kind of policing that is still on in and around Maharaja Sayajirao University. I also couldn't find a venue in Mumbai that was willing to show these works," says the artist whose latest paintings feature in Changing Skin, curated by Geetu Hinduja.