Inscriptions in Bronze
Tapas Biswas has been consistent in his predilections to raise the concern, to proselytize and to render the poetic space which holds his bronze sculptures. In the present exhibition titled 'Inscriptions in Bronze' Tapas expresses himself without hectoring stridency surfacing with a surprise. His bronze sculptures, despite the human effort, the electrical power, casting and other means used to create the sculptures act as homage to 'paved down simplicity' of the metal and grid. The diagram that joins the matrices is never an optical effect, but an unbridled manual power, a spectacle that forces the eye to confront this manual power as if it were a foreign power. However his hands exude with cerebral potency and deep, primal energy- figurative markers celebrating and filling up the space that they navigate vividly rendered and studded with astringent apercus. This patient construction, this sense of the intrinsic worth of seeing, combines with his feeling for the poetic moments of human gesture, as he creates the "Solitary Prince". The world that the sculptor imposes on his images is a closed world, a world at rest, dances in frieze, a world of infinite duration"-a blend of intimacy and decorum that stands as a unique example of the sculptor's verve and language. The conceptual space is like quartet in an analysis of ideological mechanism: It neither judges the viewer or makes an appeal but posits us, implicates and makes us exist. This creative gesture is endless, it keeps us being born, sustained, carried to the end of movement which is one of infinite origin, source and appears in an eternal state of suspension. The entire site reaches the grandeur of its own mystery in an endless look. He embellishes this process with an imaginative use of artistic license in the compositions in order to convey a greater sense of the overall site than a narrow perspective could accurately portray. Within the relatively quiet construction there is intense activity, a narration, nuances; the energy made visible is controlled, his special intimacies of readings of cities and its environments, its architecture, its holocaust and vestiges, dwell, not in the particularities of place and telling, but in the amplitudes of connection, of emotions that attend a tale.
There is an attempt to utilize aspects of the language and thought of each that has evolved out of a desire to develop a language that welds together figures and deep space- a tightly knit surface web of interlocking shapes. The language with its subtleties is largely to allow the expressions, which is both simultaneous and unfolds in time, as well as the juxtaposition of elements from more than one narrative. The concept of time is rather of a continuous unfolding rather than a series of static incidents. Tapas's imagery leads to a sort of sensation of meaning and significance cramped and obscured than of the unfolding of meaning through its metal structure largely because, for him, the imagery is not much that can be ordered within any framework based on the historical progression or retreat of time confined by the sense that movement happens within the province of proportional space or of measurable historical time. Instead the flow of mnemonic images creates a different sense of movement and a different hierarchy between objects. This is also linked with a deeper realization that the handling of bronzes, its articulation and sense of gesture as a medium, are largely capable of an immediate registration of the movement in time of an intuitive-subjective experience with the culmination of a romantic apogee in these 'inscriptions in bronze'
“I always want to create a sculptural space through a run down simplicity of the metal and grid.” However in his hands, pieces like “Urban Struggle” they are invested with a deep, primal energy- figurative markers celebrating and filling up space that they navigate unabandon. He draws the attention of his spectator to some bare movement and the collective force of human activities. The conceptual space is like a quartet in an analysis of ideological mechanism- space that act as a site where humans work out their destiny, experience the “wholeness' of existence for to exist and engage the violent dynamic that has no other object than the return to a lost totality. Such encounters open the interior experience of wholeness and their truth is known only because of a set of accidents. There is no more reality that meets the eye, and then listens to what is produced in addition to exchange identifiable in the dialogue to keep the record of these invisible events, nearly effaced, self-effacing, but altogether real, a breaking or a wounding on the subject of breaking and wounding inscribed into the very body of this faithfully produced sculptures that helps him to give birth to a dialogue, and the question of interpretation of an encounter. This sculptural ground, rhythmic unity of senses, as in 'shahi snan', can only be discovered by going beyond the organism. The phenomenological hypothesis is perhaps insufficient because it merely invokes the lived body. Tapas covers up with sheer power. We can seek the unity of rhythm only at a point where rhythm itself plunges into the chaos of the even, where the differences of level are perpetually and violently mixed. Doubtless there are some traits, rectilinear or curvilinear, that already delineate a contour that belongs to his figures, seeming to reintroduce a kind of tactile mould that simply serve to establish the different modalities of construction; for on the other hand, there is a third contour, which no longer belongs to either the structure, but is raised to the status of an autonomous element, as much a surface or volume as it is a line which is like a single act which prevents the unlimited expansion of movement through a double spatial effect that confines the structure locally and fixes it, in such a way it enhanced or accelerated. He varies staccato rhythms with fluid ones.
The nature he adopts rarely commands the space, they filter, and they intuit. In “The Solitary Prince” Tapas recreates for the eye something of the pleasurable hindrances of a winding progress through Nature. At the last moment, a few touches of markers are added: earlier they would have threatened the tone of an essential eclectic exercise. In one work a foliage diffuse and atmospheric overlay the entire space, a coarsely woven veil of branches at once dark and shining. It is a perilous moment. The sculptor is intoxicated by the degree to which his own powers can enter the serene landscape, can alter, withhold, made precious the clear view beyond, which they are in danger of shutting off forever unraveling of the innards of a form. This change has given rise to a visual text charting the mind's subterranean terrain with a blood-rushed ecstasy. These works show a move back towards the landscape but with newer and stronger symbols filling the space (-“The Death of a Butterfly”); they seem to suggest an earlier preoccupation with his fundamentally elegiac temperament. In another a shifting weave of memory, his gaze is intimate and penetrating. Texture is an important attribute here which is achieved through intricate and patterning and layering of the grid. The patterning of separate areas sets off these spaces giving each its own depth and providing body to the visual text. His images stem from their environment. These come to him in the way of revelation- the specific context in which a human being would limit and define significance. Considered or hieratic, almost arresting each has its own story to tell; one face seems shadowed with reverie. He animates his protagonists with varied layers of slips and glazes.
“I invite my viewer to that space as my own experience abides in another space.” Entropy is not the reigning spectre in these bronzes; instead, they are pervaded by lightness, exhilaration to maintain a realist balance that has long ceased to be a picture fable. He puts them together with a calm detachment as possible in which a clear structure combines with an intimacy and expressiveness to achieve a paradoxical visual image to create scenes of artifice. Since the visible movements of his figures are subordinated to the invisible forces exerted upon them, one goes behind the movements to these forces that Tapas detects and captures. Although he likens himself to a 'pulverizer”, he is more like a dramaturge. The first forces he creates are those of isolation, they are supported by the fields of wire, and become visible when they wrap themselves around the contour and wrap the fields around the figures. Along with the forces of dissipation, when the figures fade away and return to the field, renders the sculpted forces visible that sweeps with an extraordinary energy, but which they render visible by extracting from it a kind of polygon or diagram and beyond that, the mysterious force that can only be captured or detected that rents a scream in “Scream”. The entire body escapes through the screaming mouth. The sculptor suggests that beyond the scream there is an innocent smile to which he does not have the access. One senses the smile will survive even after the effacement of humanity or the holocaust. Isn't it a task beyond all measure and cadence?
“But I do not allow these artifices by any means to resist my emotional identification or intellectual response. For me the language provides unending possibilities for learned exegesis and decoding of any gestural rhetoric- images that refuse to disavow their own separation in a narrative splurge.” The untimely rhythm in order not to eschew the real to pitch its sanity in a new political sign keeping us on the edge. “My inspiration in some broader sense derives from Kafka's novels like The Trial of Joseph K or Metamorphosis. Kafka's writings send shivers down my spine. De Sica (Bicycle Thieves), Leni Riefenstahl ( Truimph of the Will) or Antonioni's films like Open City or La Notte or photographers I admire, admire and admire like Henri Cartier Bresson, Dorothy Lange or Lewis Wickes Hine. I see the large modulations and brilliant monochromatic fields obtained through the difference of values spread before me in my bronzes, which does not consist not only of relations of warm and cool, of expansion and contraction, which vary in accordance with the regimes considered between poundage and weight.” Like successively veiled by metal grid, like toned varnishes, these subsequent patches not only reduce and make them recede in shadow, but their liquidity responds to the material texture of the bronzes and curdles into the weave and seductive lines, restoring its physical presence. The other part of the oeuvre is in his extraordinarily sensitive modulation of tints and shades. After having reduced his bronzes to no more than a scale of values, he pursues the construction with fervour and discipline valourizing the activities of his mind, evaluating, weighing and balancing the relative strengths of all that it encounters in its search for order and the unresolved complexities. The erased areas between them have taken on a new resonance that pushes us to the figurative markers. Grotesque canine or beasts act as metaphor of our own bestiality. The sculptures work best when the salient elements are all held in tension on the same plane, with no element appearing to overlap or underline any other. This gives the sculptures that quality of a world whose contents might be said to be suspended in a simultaneous presentness of being.
The flat bed space in 'post mortem' is stirred with a new tumult based on a single, niggling three tiered theme of death, mourning and reparation. Though his early works are related to oriental and occidental origins, the course has taken a sharp turn in the last few years. Today his friezes build up and occupy a space that carries markers in veils of anguished narratives that share his concern for the existential epoch he lives in. His sculptures arrest the viewer to its bare movements. Its essential emotional content extends far beyond its socio-political context and stretches itself to touch the eternal human spirit- for which he has more faith and appetite. Semiotically he is the signifier- author and we are the participants- 'signified' negotiating the distant Tapas with the presence of a compelling text made in bronze. He loves it that way.
- Nanak Ganguly