a portfolio of illusionistic sense data
Chanchal's reconstruction of reality
Abdul Halim Chanchal's series of oil paintings, executed during his Master Degree (2000-2002) at M S University, Gujrat, India, creates a trammeling of the eye in the vein of optical art and simultaneously unveils a world of narratives – though in a slow and puzzlingly uneven manner, with some effort on the part of the viewers.
His technique of overlapping one image with another by means of stripes that run vertically across the canvas allows for the onlookers to pay attention at once to the surface and the illusionistic elements that await complete disclosure. Indulging the retina to such fragmentary yet up-front imagery one is reminded of Oscar Wilde's famous aphorism about art which holds suspect the very notion of the separation of form and content. That 'all art is at once surface and symbol' is a fact that bears down on Chanchal's oeuvre which the artist displayed at the submission as a single piece of installation using six two-dimensional works alongside one painting with a three-dimensional object attached to it as its components.
After completing his bachelor degree from the Institute of Fine Art, Dhaka University, (now, Faculty of Fine Art), in 1994, Chanchal was faced with the dilemma as to how the illusionistic technique – which is a throwback of the Italian renaissance – could be employed to challenge the modernist notion of art that annuls all other traditional considerations in favour of its much celebrated trait of flatness. In his own admission, being in conflicting minds about 'naturalism', towards which he demonstrated a well-honed understanding of the techniques involved – he set out to explore it from an unconventional perspective. The result was a series of paintings sourced from press photos and B-movie stills, yet expressing a vitality through the visually mesmerizing scheme.
- DEPART DESK