17 Oct 2014 – 22 Nov 2014


West Bengal, India



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The above quote was found in one of Pyne's Jottings, noted in the artist's own, neat hand. The relationship between literature and art is well known. The intermediary level between these two expressions, for the art viewer, is dimly lit; the processes the artist undergoes is effectively invisible to us. When we reach out to an artist through their work, it is this stage which pulls us in and it is this which lends the aspect of mystery to the art. What was going on inside their head? Inside their self when creating the work of art? 

The path which leads us to some light and clarity, are the scribblings or writing by clear hand, within the artist's notebooks, sketchbooks and diaries. Consider the notebooks of da Vinci and Michelangelo; the sketchbooks of Goya and Van Gogh and closer to home, Abanindranath Tagore's Khuddur Jatra. 

Ganesh Pyne through the words along with the scratchy drawings, opens the window into his mind. An introverted and withdrawn man, Pyne's Jottings have quotes from books he might have been reading, or his own thoughts (almost like he was whispering aloud to himself) about art, life, questions, even calculations and on one sheet, there is an LIC policy number, in another sheet, the time is noted - 3am. Ganesh Pyne would usually do his sketches late at night. He was in the habit of going into his studio if he woke up in the middle of the night. There is no colour used in the Jottings; the predominant colour is black. The pages were mostly graph paper, which reinforces the idea of construction, in this case, of a painting.

Interestingly, these words never found their way into his paintings. It would seem, by the painting stage, he had worked the demons out of his head. Pyne's admirers would recognise some of the imagery in the sketches – the toy horse, the monkey, the straw, puppet-like man and Chaitanya. Perhaps it is the coupling of imagery and text, which lend the Jottings a sense of theatre. What engages us, the eavesdroppers, the most is the dialogue through the writings, between the artist and the intensely reclusive man.


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