Reverie & Fantasia | Group Exhibition
29 November 2023
Art Musings presents a rare treat for art lovers in the city of Mumbai, with their next exhibition ‘Reverie & Fantasia’, a group exhibition featuring the family of Indian master Sakti Burman, his illustrious wife Maïté Delteil and their daughter Maya Burman.
At the core of each of their practices is the confluence among cultures, mythologies, periods, and places. As they shuttle between societies and cultures, articulating in their work all the legacies they have inherited, the artists give themselves the freedom to select materials from the archive of global culture. Various Indian and European pasts inhabit their art, drawing from mythology, the Mughal miniature ateliers, from Kalighat as well as West European art history and Bengali popular culture.
Art historian and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote has written extensively about the works of all three artists. To quote from some of his texts from various books and catalogues with Art Musings,
“To enter Sakti Burman’s landscapes and tableaux, is to submit to the measures of a dance that takes us deeper, not only into the recesses of a possibly shared mythic consciousness, but also into the complexity of the artist’s particular life – in the space of excitement, exhilaration, anxiety and epiphany between two cultures. Burman’s art is resonant with the metaphor of the actor, the theatre, the masque. We are in the landscape of lila, where everyone plays a significant part and no detail is irrelevant. Burman the storyteller reinvigorates our imagination by reminding us we are not simply made of muscle, nerve and bone. We are also made up of the words and images, the poems and stories we inherit from countless previous generations.
When we stand in the presence of Maïté Delteil’s art, we recognise instantly that, at its core, there lie the regenerative powers of the garden, the orchard, the meadow, the pasture, and the forest. No matter what the scale of her paintings, each frame breathes the life force of an earth that has been tilled and harrowed, tended and nurtured, or protected from intervention. In her vibrant images, we encounter earth as it has been cultivated or left to its own ebullient devices; we hear the voices of the natural world here, with the wind blowing through branches and the choric intimations of birdsong. Delteil’s attentiveness to detail is a form of devotion: her paintings are songs of praise, in which she exalts the beauty of things even as they pass into decay and dissolution, as creatures of time.
Maya Burman’s watercolour and pen and-ink works are peopled by pneumatic figures, usually depicted in moments of play, festivity or ceremonial, expressive of an abundant joie de vivre or what, in the Indic tradition, would be celebrated as lila, the cosmic spirit of play and creativity. Drawing on diverse genealogies, among them Degas’ ballerinas and folk and classical dancers of eastern India. Maya portrays her protagonists in postures of heightened play: leisure as a form of gracefully slowed down athleticism, expressing itself through a finesse of gesture in a pictorial space that appears to have been shaped as textile, as tapestry. The artist’s immersion in the European and Indic civilisations manifests itself, as does her lifelong exposure to the history of art, through the details of her work.”