Abir Karmakar

Baroda, India
Willem de Kooning once said: “Flesh was the reason oil painting was invented.“ The realistic paintings by Indian artist Abir Karmakar often show a nude, which at first glance seems to be clearly male. The soft contours and the often-lascivious pose of the painted figures however suggest a certain femininity.

In his paintings Karmakar questions the core concept of gender roles in today’s society. Whether lying, sitting or standing the painted character always faces the viewer in front of the painting. The viewer is observing and being observed at the same time. The provocative gaze, directed at every single one of us asks for response.

Nude painting is one of the oldest genres in the history of art. While the nude in the Middle Ages was without exception pictured in religious contexts, since the 19th Century and primarily with the works of the French impressionists, nude painting became a genre that illustrates human beings in ordinary situations. An artist who uses this genre does not just study the anatomy of the human body but expresses the inner-self of the individual: emotions, dreams, fears, hopes and desires. In order to illustrate these abstract terms artists often employ models. Not Abir Karmakar however, he himself is the model for his own paintings. The process of painting himself is a possibility to explore his “other” self. In other words, it is a strategy to learn how to see. The result is represented in his intimate paintings. Showing those to the world he asks people to question their own identity and to allow desires and emotions.

place & year of birth
1977, Siliguri, India

featured galleries
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

Abir Karmakar studied Painting at the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata (B.V.A.) and at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University in Baroda (M.A.)

solo exhibitions
‘Within the Walls’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

group exhibitions
(selected group exhibitions)

‘Failed Plot’- curated by Gayatri Sinha for KIAF

‘Shifting Shapes – Unstable Signs’ curated by Robert Storr and Jaret Vadera, Yale University
School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

PANORAMA: INDIA at ARCO_Madrid, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

‘Mutant Beauty’ curated by Gayatri Sinha, Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi

Gallery weekend at the Baumwollspinnerei Factory Complex, Leipzig, Germany, presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

‘A MAZ ING’, curated by Anupa Mehta for Harsh Goenka/RPG Academy of Art and Culture, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai