by Françoise Monnin, Contemporary Object, special edition, Azart magazine

The basics. On settling in Paris in 1988, Madhu Basu initially painted the couple, the family, man. Ever more "prehistoric", his characters, previously expressionist, gradually adopted simple silhouettes and universal attitudes. The artist is interested in all that is transmitted and endures. In 2000, he began a series of paintings (still unfinished) on the theme of the elemental chalice. Its universal form replaces the human figure, occupying the entire space of the canvas. Madhu Basu is fascinated by this "very simple and familiar object which is at the same time enormously powerful, an object of basic utility from birth to death. It is spiritual in element, meditative in nature, essential to any ceremony, a feature of all civilizations and all ages. As the primary expression of human creativity, it represents the birth of civilization. Whether constructed of earth, porcelain or metal, the material may change, but its shape remains the same." An allegory for offering and peace, the shape is always drawn with restraint, and is almost monochromatic on a blank background composed of thick cotton canvas made to look transparent and thick in parts, resembling the original magma. Three or four different black pigments are mixed to obtain a "controlled intensity, a deadened effect, great power". The artist has already devoted some two hundred paintings to this theme -- variations, which "makes the imagination work and talks of evolution." Is this still life? A "very European" concept that he no doubt learnt at the School of Fine Arts in Calcutta, the concept of “still life” lacks the Indian tradition of the image... Rather than the object, it is human nature that is being depicted here and this is what makes the representations of objects so different in Madhu Basu’s paintings.







by Jacques Depauw
by Gérard Xuriguera
by Françoise Monnin

by Christian Noorbergen