Nestling in the studio of Russian painter Marie Vassilieff (1884–1957), the former Musée de Montparnasse is arising from its ashes like a bucolic Eldorado. Exhibitions, artists in residence, a workshop…, the ghosts of Picasso, Matisse, Soutine and Léger hover over this new, bustling meeting place run by the Bétonsalon art and research centre supported by the patronage of Pernod Picard.
The exhibition “Punascha Parry”, after the title of a book written by the painter Mazumdar that means something like “a resonance of Paris”, offers a journey to the heart of the art history and history of India, as led by Samit Das and Sumesh Sharma, two polymorphic artists originally from India.
Given the complexity of the history of India’s colonial period, the vision it represents is not straightforward. The exhibition of archives and images is the outcome of research on modern Indian art, and focuses on the lives and works of Indian artists who chose to live in Paris during the 20th century. Samit Das also includes his own works in this unusual pictorial voyage.
Das and Sharma bring to notice slices of life of artists whose works have never seen the light of a public showing in the City of Light, despite its effervescent cultural life. Seen through the prism of the life of each of these transplanted artists, the exhibition examines the visual vocabulary of Indian modern art in an attempt to re-evaluate the idea of modernism through the lives, works and destinies of Indian artists in Paris. The fruit of inquiries made with family members, friends and fellow-artists, this exhibition is also a work of memory for the pair Das and Sharma, who shine a light on a corner of history in a particular context.