Born 1956 in India
Lives and works in Kolkata, India
Jayashree Chakravarty works with a multi-faceted, ambiguous visual language teeming with detail and idiosyncrasies. This visual language is based on personal experience and images from her childhood, from her many travels around the world, and from her school days in India and France.
In Untitled 1 (The Evolving Space) from 2009, Chakravarty has created a detailed, painstakingly constructed image. It consists of a number of densely woven layers that whirl dramatically in and out of each other, an effect rather like a tornado raging. The work shows the contours of landscapes and buildings, seemingly casually tossed aside for destruction, intermingling with suggestions of insects and a giant fish. However, the hinted-at fauna would appear to be of the petrified kind; reminiscent of prehistoric beings that once roamed the Earth. Sections of maps and drawings of pathways and roads can also be glimpsed in the work, prompting spectators to seek to orient themselves within the motivic overload.
Chakravarty’s work appears to want to refer to a natural disaster, but does not do so in an apocalyptic sense. The animals are reproduced in a graphically stringent, stylised, beautiful manner, while the buildings are tossed up into the air like dice in a game. They are visually appealing, abstract shapes, rather than evidence of a malevolent force at play.
Chakravarty borrows her subject matter from nature, cartography, and geology. But in Untitled 1 (The Evolving Space) she might be more accurately said to be exploring a psychological terrain: The landscape of her own mind. The artist’s use of chaotic, layered effects and muted, semi-transparent colours form a non-linear narrative eloquent of her complex consciousness. The work appears to be the product of both conscious and unconscious levels of her mind; layers through which her artistic subjectivity is expressed.
Chakravarty’s work explores how human beings and the world can be said to be the result of an accumulation of memories about past events. Her work investigates how everything is determined by past, present, and future; when spectators encounter the work, they should be inspired to make their own mental and physical journey forward or back in time.
Stine Kleis Hansen
Untitled 1 (The Evolving Space), 2009