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Satish Gujral

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1925, Jhelum (present day Pakistan)
Lives and works in New Delhi

Satish Gujral is one of the pioneers of contemporary Indian art whose creativity and versatility have been seen in a variety of mediums and art forms such as painting, graphics, sculpture, murals, architecture and interior design. Much acknowledged for his architectural design of the Belgian Embassy, he also has been honoured with the ?adma Vibhushan?award.

Education

1954

Palacio Nationale de Belles Artes, Mexico

1947

Diploma in Fine Arts, Sir J. J. School of Arts, Mumbai

1944

Mayo School of Arts, Lahore

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Satish Gujral

His work exhibits traditional art and culture through modern techniques

To pursue painting, Satish Gujral joined the Progressive Artists Group but couldn’t get along with many of their concepts and techniques like European Expressionism and Cubism. He created artworks with modern techniques that were much inspired from Indian culture and tradition and Indian architecture.

Pensive and elemental, his aesthetic world rises from a complex matrix that encompasses both the ancient and the modern. His paintings and graphics were dominated by the social content and the anguish of the nation who lost their homes and families during the partition of the country.  He gradually evolved his style that exemplified line and texture over explicit subjects, relying on form and design to its idea and mood.

Satish Gujral, Untitled, 2010, acrylic & gold leaf on canvas, 34 x 42”

He works in a wide range of mediums and art forms

Gujral is a multidisciplinary artist who has been internationally acclaimed for his creativity and talents that cover a wide realm of art forms including painting, graphics, sculpture, murals, architecture and interior designing.

“Material is the language of the idea. If you change the idea, the idea will find its own material,” Gujral states. He alters his style and mediums every few years which ultimately leads to a change in the very language of expression. He reckons that whatever the medium, art is an expression of the adventures and discoveries of the human organism reacting to the environment and that it is the continuous readjustment of style to the process of changing facts.

Satish Gujral, Untitled, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24”

He brought an organic evolution with his interplay of mediums in sculpture

He created sculptures of deities, tribal forms, animals and humans, geometrical projections and mechanical devices in different mediums such as metal, ceramics and bronze. He diversified his sculptural materials with machined industrial objects in steel, copper, glass. He also tried out junk sculptures, introducing light and sound in them.

His experimenting and creating new forms in different mediums initiated an organic evolution from lived reality and delving into the very essence of the substance – this has been epitomized by his burnt wooden sculptures. He liked the sooty blackness of burnt wood from which he created deities and other forms combined with a hint of vermillion and gold like glowing embers of the elemental fire. This medium interconnected the tradition with contemporary sensibilities which he infuses into his work. He later started exploring the colours and textures of granite.

Satish Gujral, Raising of Lazarus, 1992, burnt wood, leather, cowrie shell and ceramic bead, 55 x 39.5 x 8”

His style has undergone several changes

Change defines Satish Gujral’s art. Whether it is his paintings or his sculptures, he has never submitted to the concept that once one has created a style one is sold to it. He started off his artistic journey by painting scenes that depicted the feelings of people during partition of the country. His art has unceasingly evolved in search for his roots.

The themes of his work have been taken from myths, folklore and history, in addition to the lives of people around him. Images from mythology have been used and assembled in current realities. He has let his ideas and feelings convert itself into a form. This ultimately has made explore with different styles and mediums.

Satish Gujral, The Magicians, 1991, mixed media on canvas, 60 x 42.5”