MAC2000 : Madhu Basu

by Gérard Xuriguera, Nouvelles de L'Inde, june 1999



Madhu Basu’s exhibition at the Salon Mac2000
Not long ago, Madhu Basu’s paintings offered us groups of humans, split and in negatives, or static or dynamic shaded volumes, watchful and waiting or in frustrated dialogue but always indistinct. In recent years, his austere and sequestered humanity, born of the vast reservoir of images from the India of his origins, has gradually focused, converged and become individualised to preserve only the purified essence of the organic mass of his semantics, as if petrified.


Tinged with primitivism, his characters even when they adopt a seated posture or stand under a door frame, seem to be engaged in strange activities. They drag in their wake unnameable objects or enormous loads that highlight the mystery of their presence. From the back, front or in profile, the structure of these mummified creatures of the Bengali artist, both in movement or perched on geometric constructions, appear blurred, their facial masks uncertain, indicating a move towards other becomings.


This is, however, not a symbolic transfer with dream-like connotations, but reality itself and a reality that is powerfully expressive, resulting in a worrying dull underground life that cannot be deciphered in its entirety. Most of all, it is dialectical in nature, and demands active deduction on the part of the viewer, who is constantly torn between the fictionality of familiar situations and the uniqueness of their pictorial resolution reduced to a pattern. The surrounding space is occasionally split into reverse shots, but on the whole it is bare and monochromatic and contributes in an interdependent way to give the whole a sense of balance and density. And this context, which is austere but without pathos, speaks to us in the background of confinement, solitude, motionless time and a subterranean search for a less troubled tomorrow.


Using a deliberately limited range of colours , Madhu Basu plays on contrasts and opposites, blanks and inhabited areas, using conscious and directed gestures to organise the composition with a stimulating efficiency.


Now, even when addressing new issues, such as recurrent still life, Madhu Basu does not change his stylistic approach. His perception of the referent remains envelopped in hidden ebbs and flows, drawing from the intensity of his fervour and the accuracy of his vision.





by Christian Noorbergen
by Gérard Xuriguera