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Artist of the Day | Atin Basak

Atin Basak



Colour etching

22 X 30 inches


Atin Basak uses cultural and historical literature to reconstruct his works. Blending historical, ethnographic, and anthropological references, he creates fictitious versions of history, calling into question the "truth" established by historical documentation through an intense investigation into anthropology, colonial trade, demography, and racial identity. Basak's works confront this fact of history by turning colonial imagery back on itself to expose its own fiction and biases and continues through modern globalization. His approach has resulted in a diverse body of work that can be both humorous and grotesque in its assessment of humankind's history of coexistence. In the current body of works both the painting and prints, weave together stories of distinct artistic traditions to emphasize the constant evolution and exchange of influences that shape culture and identity. Atin Basak expands his signature style and themes into subtle, but no less complex directions, while maintaining the visual poetics and conceptual impulse of his earlier work. Although references to colonialism remain in his work, Basak has converged this theme with theoretical issues around painting and prints: the latter is reconfigured into the former in a painting that seems to explode from pictoral space beyond the frame. The grids that constitute some of his paintings recall their use in modernist aesthetics. The portraits present the artist in identical three-quarter profile view interlacing representations of historical narratives, Basak elucidates how the merging of people and cultures as a product of colonization, and now globalization, results in a kind of contamination that can be seen in the alteration of aesthetic standards and the presence of discontinuities in perceived identities. His use of and reference to anthropophagy allow him to deconstruct these old historical narratives while constructing a new history that is alive and constantly shifting. Hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, ideas, politics, movies, songs and which rejoices in the absolutism of the pure.

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