Launch of Sujata Bajaj’s book "Ordre du Monde", November 2007
Sujata Bajaj’s book Ordre du Monde was launched at the French Embassy on November 6th in the presence of the French Ambassador, Mr Jérôme Bonnafont and several personalities from the world of fashion.
By Jean Claude Carrière
, Paintings by Suajata Bajaj
The work of a painter is often like a passport which helps in moving from one country to another - and the other is always the country of the painter to which he draws us back again and again.
Sujata Bajaj’s latest compositions may be seen as pages of this passport: what we find in it are imprints, fragmented writings, unknotted cords. But this time each page appears more dense. The mystery at work is nearer, more compelling, on the verge of being revealed.
The signs of the journey open up a vision that is more assertive, its stages are more unusual.
We come from distant planets, in out-of-the way vehicles and we have halted at lonely stations. And at every stop Sujata has left her imprint.
Let us draw back. Let us see the passport in its entirety. That is when the artist offers us at a single glance all the worlds together in one, her own.
Reviews: (Le Figaro)
Sujata exudes strength. More. She exudes light.
She has blossomed at her own rhythm, slowly, obstinately. She has been liberated. And here she is, radiant, transformed by her young maturity.
I have known her for only a short while, may be four or five years when she was showing at the Grand Palais, in Decouvertes, this unseasonal spring of the FIAC on which you found young artists and young hopefuls.
Later, from one exhibition to the next, I witnessed her continued metamorphosis; I saw how a revelation unfolded itself within her and within the depths of her painting. This is a territory where desire can lose its way in the multitude of what Borges calls The Paths which Bifurcate.
For the freedom of the artist is unlike the freedom of anyone else. As Henry James said : You need to work and, at the end of work, you need madness. Today, one dare not call this inspiration. But what do you call it then? What happens when Rilke, this prince of poets, remains speechless for ten years, troubled because he cannot summon the words, the spark in him yet to be kindled, and then suddenly one day, from heaven knows where, the first lines of Duino’s elegies visit him? Who, among the hierarchy of angles, would hear me if I cried? / and what if one of them were suddenly/to take me to heart: I would succumb, die before a stronger existence! for the beautiful is nothing/ but the first step into the terrible.
When Sujata was still a child, poetry flowed from her lips spontaneously, like a blessing. Her mother who attempted to give this miracle a shape, would transcribe a line or two. And then, as little Sujata began to draw at the age of five or six, poetry vanished. It departed as it had come.
I believe it resurfaced much later, in these last years, in slow, open papers on which colours sing and energy
dominates, making the very air quiver.
Sujata Bajaj arrived in Paris in 1988. The painter Raza who means a great deal to her, had advised her to come to Europe. In India, she had been working on a thesis on tribal art, living in what she called an extraordinary milieu.
At the Beaux Arts in Paris. the milieu was, to be sure, less extraordinary. But her meeting with Claude Viseux was decisive. He is a professor. He uses the monotype. His manner of working fascinated Sujata Bajaj. What did it involve? It involved inking a metal plate, working on the black, placing a leaf underneath and setting the press in motion. The metal plate could be substituted by a glass one. Degas greatly admired these quaint little techniques which in fact could be used for making no more than one print.
To Sujata Bajaj Claude Viseux declared: With the monotype you will be able to find our own Language. His words were prophetic. In the beginning Sujata dazzled herself with profuse orchestrations and unusual elements. She overnourished her plates and paper. It was the excess of a debutante but, all in all, a necessary excess; it bespoke a generous nature which was astonished by the happy accidents emerging from the press. These she would later control.
Currently she is working inside the paper paste over which she sticks papier de soie, traces the surface with chalk, changes her technique incessantly, burns the edges of certain papers and harnesses a variety of scripts. However, there is one signature that is stamped on all her recent works: OM. OM, a primordial cry, the original word, OM energy. This signature, these letters, are organized in every conceivable way, in equilibrium; they dance at the opposite extremities of her composition, they breathe vitality. Around them, stars and planets are born and die. Forms. A painting that is a becoming. Open-ended.
By Christine Marquet de Vasselot
Sujata Bajaj or the incantatory magic of an ever alert talent.
The forceful energy of this artist, as we have seen, goes hand in hand with an exacting rigour. And a profound Indianness asserts itself through an underlying theme and hues, whether these are sharp, lively or imbued with traces of Hindu peace: a vivid and paradoxical demonstration of absolute modernity.
Ever since her exhibition held in September 1991, and especially since ’Decouvertes 92" at the Grand Palais, Parisian and European art circles have been assessing the talent of Sujata Bajaj and keeping a watchful eye on its growth.
Discreet in her bearing, reserved, her smile, like her painting, flashes suddenly, a smile which at once disarms and, in a way, avows her very strong will. In keeping with the image of the artist, her work never allows the eye to rest. A marked evolution is visible in her technique; the monotype has grown more discreet, voluntarily ceding place to the brush and collage.
Equally certain, if not so obvious at first sight, is the evolution in the nature of her abstraction: traditional signs and language get progressively effaced, the better
to emphasize a perfect construction and to redefine the space on the paper.
Sujata Bajaj, who is so deeply rooted in her culture, sets a fine example of conquest: the serenity which she has attained enables her gradually to bring her inner struggle to a close; her eyes appear calm, they show a better grasp of the universality of things, attentive to the beneficial influences of these two worlds which, in her view, lend themselves definitely to a symbiosis...
What does this amazing artist have in store for us at this turning point in her life? Such a special magic...
By Anahite Contractor
”…that violent energy, which is like a fire of straw, consumes in a few minutes the nervous vitality, and is useless in the arts. Our fire must burn slowly, and we must constantly turn away to think, constantly analyze what we have done …”
The world of Sujata Bajaj is indeed simmering with “nervous vitality”. A variety of media, pigment and techniques gather on the surface of the artist’s picture plane, somewhat like memories which converge in a rare moment from several different sources and rush into an effulgent flame nonchalantly and with spontaneity. Numerous layers are worked upon with an admirable blend of impetuosity and restraint, and not even the minutest denudation will ever reveal the private meanderings which constitute these translucent veils.
Vigorous strokes perform a ritualistic dance; forms emerge magically from abstractions and even the script (devanagari, in this case) attains a legitimate persona. A scintillating metaphor arises thereof, defying the spectator to attribute any one interpretation about itself. A conglomeration of smudge, stroke, smear and flourish conciliate adamant individualistic forms to co-exist harmoniously. Even so, the innate rhythm of Sujata’s works is formidable; it may not always be as calm as it poses to be; a sudden vociferous contradiction balances an ongoing dialectic. In these works one observes a masterly tightrope walk between restraint and abandon. Mellifluous, fluid images are in graceful juxtaposition with fiery tempestuous ones.
Aqueous forms constituting layers of memory palpitate with quiet energy. In Sujata’s one views a style brimming with this energy, whatever the medium might be. Even the paintings in this exhibition enmesh the vital core of the artist’s vision and amplify the indefatigable spirit of line, space and pigment. Internal structures possess a rhythm of their own and create a labyrinth of private spaces with an occasional beam of light on a fragment of alphabets. Such luminaries pose as potential points of reference in Sujata’s work, but are, most of the time, titillating forms used more for their corporeal presence than to reveal meaning per se. It might be possible, however, to apply the rudiments of semiology here, though this interpretation may not necessarily be shared by the artist herself. Sujata’s use of fragments of manuscripts and her own graceful transcription of letters constructs a dialectic of sign, syntax and signification, all of which throw themselves open to yet another frame of analysis. This is, to the artist, what notes are to rhythms, images to a poem, analysis to research, and colours to a rainbow.
The Yeatsian “fire” in Sujata Bajaj does burn slowly as we have watched it meander from coal to thunderous flame. The dynamics of her style arise not from lean logistics of line, space and colour alone; the pregnant energies of Sujata’s works get incarnated in diverse forms and in diverse ways they remind us that some fires do not burn out.