It is his love for Indian artworks and culture that compelled French –German artist Edouard Baribeaud to curate and showcase his exclusive artworks at Mumbai’s art gallery, Galerie Isa. On display till early November 2016, the exhibition, titled ‘The Nocturnal Vault’, is a stunning coming together of the artist’s works that paint a picture of the Mughal era.
The journey of this collection began two years ago when Edouard travelled to India for a month-long research. Visiting museums across Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur left the artist intrigued; especially the use of colours to narrate the Mughal folklore through art. “I discovered Indian miniatures, and was impressed by the beauty of the paintings I saw on my museum trips. I fell in love with the incredible variety of miniatures styles and schools; from the very graphic and colourful paintings from Rajasthan to the delicate and pastel tones scenes from the Kangra region.”
As an artist, Baribeaud has held close a fascination for merging artistic styles with different histories and cultures. And, to a great extent, it is this fascination and style that has earned him a successful name in the world of art. In fact, even ‘The Nocturnal Vault’ sees works that are a beautiful blend of Indian miniature style with contemporary art.
Baribeaud’s first brush with India was in his childhood, when his father first introduced him to the Beatles track ‘Within You Without You’ penned by George Harrison. “It was after listening to that Beatles track that I started to take interest in Indian art, music and films as I grew up. I was also very curious to follow contemporary Indian art after I spotted it at the Venice Biennale; artworks and sculptures by artists Gigi Scaria, Zarina Hashmi and Subodh Gupta impressed me.”
Talking about his show, Edouard says, “My show explores the theme of the night. I imagined it as a journey from dusk to dawn, where mundane and modern everyday life elements contrast with mythical elements.” One of the paintings exhibited, titled ‘Hold Onto Me’, shows a woman showing her bare back, lying in a puzzling mise en scène of abstract patterns and shapes. Elaborating on his intent of the show, he further adds, “To me each body of work generates its own individual world, with its own language, and tells its own story. I wanted this show to create a dialogue between Indian and western myths and stories on an imaginary stage.”
Creating the collection did take him some time. He would sit for stretches in his Berlin studio, recollecting the beautiful vistas of Rajasthan. “All my ideas begin in my sketchbook that I carry around with me at all times. I consider it a laboratory, and the sketches outline the themes and motifs to be captured later in the series.” Breaking his technique down, he explains, “From a technical point of view, I paint like a printer; which means I apply the bright colors first and finish with the dark ones. The brightest element in the image is the white of the paper. So I construct a painting in layers, from light to dark. It is practically a philosophical process. I tend to compare the creation of a series of drawings to the editing of a film. Some are static but I can feel movement or hear a sound in certain pieces.”
What is being showcased at Galerie Isa since September 6th, 2016, is sheer hardwork spread over 6 months. “I am very happy to do this show at Galerie Isa with gallerist Ashwin Thadani. I wanted to, for a long time now, introduce my artwork to the Indian public. So far it has been an amazing experience. I was very touched that Indian collectors and audiences have responded so well to my paintings; the show has been successful,” confesses the ecstatic artist.
In every sense, this is just the beginning for Baribeaud. He even intends to travel to Rajasthan before returning to Berlin. And just before we got on with our lives, he let us in on some exciting news. Make sure you watch out for the artworks he will be creating for Hermès’s Christmas ad campaign this year end.
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