ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 41 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’ – 2015 – Oil on canvas – 63.8 x 51.2 in. (162 x 130 cm.) – Lot 41

ARTIANA’s upcoming auction on December 6-10, 2018 features an important painting of Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’. Painted in 2015, the notable work showcase Burman’s exceptional technique and whimsical ethos. 

Sakti Burman’s artistic vocabulary spawned from a mutually replenishing relay between two levels of mythological narrative. Much like his influences from both India and France, he organizes the narratives of his work from grand mythologies of the world with its vibrant iconography and from personal myth. He draws instinctively from varied religious traditions and folklores as much as he borrows from his everyday encounters. His frames are graced by families and friends often seen accompanying gods, nymphs, heroes and celestial emissaries into ethereal fantasy and reverie.

Sakti’s fascination with demotic imageries is apparent in the current lot. Employing the Kalighat ethos, he humanized Lord Krishna in the picture. Here, he presented the god as a child dancing with the cow as his mount. Lord Krishna as dancer and flautist is a recurrent object of painterly devotion for Burman. To one side stand a human father carrying his child and on the other side is a flautist. Seated below is an accordion player. Both musicians playing music to Krishna’s dancing and blurring the boundaries between the world of mortals and gods. The picture also includes Sakti’s recurring characters like harlequin and other mythical creatures joining in a blissful coexistence. Sakti conceives paradoxical imagery depicting familial relationships, celestial and terrestrial figures of dreams and perceived reality cohesively tying them in a powerful narrative.

“Child and Supreme God, serenader of women and killer demons, the divine flautist is often at the centre of a dance of other figures from Burman’s ongoing fantasia: sometimes, the peacock; at other times, a chorus of adolescents; on occasion, a centaur-like figure who prances yet remains melancholy, keeps the beat of the dance yet retains the detachment of the observer. Perhaps that centaur-like figure is, once again, the artist as chronicler and archivist of human dispositions, marking the rhythm of point and counterpoint.” (Ranjit Hoskote, Sakti Burman: In The Presence Of Another Sky, Art Musings, India, pg. 245)

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

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