Madhu Basu And His Universe-Men

by Christian Noorbergen, Est Clair (Daily News Paper), august 1996



Less than ten years ago, the indian painter Madhu BASU,  left Calcutta to go to France. He has not forgotten India, the sense of soul and emptiness. He discovers western art and the spell-binding power of the great magicians of the 20 th century.

It is very strange and fine Madhu BASU’s painting. At the same time, very contemporary, subtly archaic and very troubling.
One has to go very far back to approach the origins of his diverse and thought-provoking art. It is necessary to go back before the emergence of words, because painting is a language older than the written language.

For more than twenty or thirty thousand years, human beings have been trying to bridge by art, the distance which exists between nature and themselves. And, since the end of the Middle Ages, the body has been separated from the foreground of the painting.

After Masaccio (« Adam and Eva expelled from Paradise ») painting represents people living with their bodies separated from the landscape. They have left space which turns around them unable to live with in it, and unable to in-corporate it.

Madhu BASU, the Indian who came from Calcutta, comes back to the origins of the creation. Art and the world are born together. Creation : co-birth. His painted bodies, concise and bare, are wrapped in pure space.
The whole universe is in the painting : there is nothing beyond the body and nothing exists beyond of the painting.

Projected by the canvas, becoming by itself its own landscape, the body is carnal dust of the universe. Madhu BASU, holding fast to the origins, is not fascinated by achievement, finish or finishing. Blocks of hazard « world in small habitable pieces » make loneliness vibrate in an infinite without reference.
But man is stronger than what he has abandoned, he does not crash the universe with his too pretentious rationality ! Empty space, by Madhu BASU, is a deep grey where everything breathes and has taken the place of nothingness.

The artist rediscovers the bare condition of creation. His space is virgin such as a vertical, absolute and fundamental plain.
Something which exists and which is called man is torn out of the most distant of all the mineral, vegetable and organic states.

Violating the abyss, the infinite body delivers the universe from its tragedies.

The beings of Madhu BASU symbolise humanity. They amazed at being alive, they are discreet, full of humanity. Through the magic of art, these universe-men are silently alive.






by Christian Noorbergen
by Gérard Xuriguera