The French artist Christian Boltanski once remarked: "The task is to create a formal work that is at the same time recognized by the spectator as a sentimentally charged object. Everyone brings his own history to it."
Possibly Bose Krishnamachari`s current project as an artist too is to present the viewer with a trigger point of images/icons that can, (along with the formal construction of painting/installation), function as symbolic devices with which to speak of an entire culture, its shifting mindsets and, its eclectic borrowings.
Born in Kerala in 1963, Bose recently completed his MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His work, thus reinforced by a `here and now` understanding and awareness of contemporary culture, borrows effortlessly from various disciplines, including literature and design, and time periods.
This current body of work spotlights figures (and by dint of association, cultures) as varied as those of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, and Rabindranath Tagore. Spirituality, epic style and (in Kahlo`s case) a focus on the self as means to explore larger concerns, are some features that engage the viewer. However, it would be a mistake to read these works as "tributes" to the icons, as Bose uses the device (in this case, figures from art/history) more to draw attention to his own project.
Interestingly, Bose pays as much attention to form as he does to conceptual and/or contextual concerns. Startling planes of flat color juxtaposed against skilful, almost photographic, representations of identifiable persona, imbue the work with an `international` sensibility. Bose admits to combining western image-making techniques (such as the installation) with the vernacular, in a bid to arrive at an idiom that is entirely contemporary and brisk.
In an earlier interview, he has said: "I refine my color to brightness. I have learnt this usage from the alternately subdued and lavish color codes of Indian ceremonies and ritual performances; the costumes, the gestures of enactment..." The current body however, brings with it a whiff of minimalism. There is little room for excess. But the minimalism is effective.