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Abir Karmakar's alluring images are as seductive as they're spooky.

it isn't a photograph. Nor is it a depiction of Kate Moss after one line too many. The image below is of a painting by a 28-year-old artist with a penchant for slipping himself into the frame and testing the boundaries of representation. Abir Kar-makar's paintings are alluring (and often erotic) snapshots of an androgynous male - meant to represent the artist himself - in various poses in posh, Westernised interi-ors, the kinds seen in fashion catalogues. His warm-toned works, with a fashionista's attention to costume, are as escapist as they are entrapping.

"I'm interested in creating a world of virtual reality that features another self," says Karmakar, who graduated from the MS University in Vadodara two years ago. "I want to create a parallel world for me through painting."

The works will be on display at the Vadodara-based artist's first solo show, called "From My Photo Album", which is underway at the the Museum Gallery. (His work is also part of the Met Fest at Kitab Mahal.) The 12oils on canvas spin through the life of a gender-bending male (and occasionally of a female) in a beauty salon, at a bar, at a fashion show, in bed.

"The spaces in my paintings are private, and Westernised, (" says Karmakar, who wasborn in Siliguri in Bengal. "I'm from a lower-middle-class family, and the desires and dreams I depict are constructed by media and magazines."

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