Artist Pallav Chander lives in the present. But his ongoing exhibition ‘Tomorrow Belongs to Me’ focuses on contemporary social psychology and behaviour, represented in abstract form. Says the artist, “It’s my answer to the world. I may be good or bad, but I’m relevant and I’m here.” Diagnosed with dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder early on in life, art became therapy for Pallav.
It was only natural, because his mother Kanchan Chander is a known name in the field. “Art is in my genes. At the same time it was therapeutic. Unlike most artists, I’m very impatient when I work. For example, my favourite medium is oil, but it takes time to get the mix right. So I devised other ways to create art that replicate the oil effect,” he admits.
Largely self-taught, he has an arts degree from the Birmingham City University, UK. Moving to
Britain was a good move since he was taught the present-day importance of art rather than just theories. He has found working from his home in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, difficult at times given the space constraint. Yet it does not stop him from going back to the canvas every single day.
Pallav says “You have to keep practicing. I never visualise a painting. It evolves somewhere along the way. Which is another reason I can’t work with oil. I need a medium which gives me the liberty to keep adding layers without the fear of colours merging or smudging.” There are times when he returns to an unfinished canvas even after a two-year gap. “Sometimes I change the image from its previous form. It all boils down to what my ‘trigger’ is on that particular day when I’m wielding the brush,” he smiles.
This ‘trigger’, for Pallav, can be a host of things—a human being, an emotion or a situation. In the foreword to the catalogue of Pallav’s current exhibition, art historian Seema Bawa, writes “His art is very self-reflexive not only in its origins but also in its execution. The artist’s process of thinking, mulling and introspecting is reflected in the works; in the chaotic and the seemingly random forms and textures of his paintings that actually go on to create complex and sophisticated patterns and grids.
One can discern the different threads that form in his paintings. The most evocative one is his grappling with a deeply felt, raw emotional experience that is then transformed into a visual form. Through the works Pallav drags us into his memories and his feelings and forces us to connect to our inner disquiet and angst.”
Art is not the only genre that occupies this extraordinary mind. Pallav has been drawn to theatre since school days. “Art was in my genes, and I knew I would always paint, but theatre attracted me in a different way,” the artist admits. Over the years Pallav has performed and staged various plays. There is similarity in the process of painting and producing a play. Both evolve without a pre-determined format. When Pallav is staging a theatre production, he prefers to work without a script. Perhaps he cannot follow the written words sequentially to get the essence of the story.
“I would rather read the play and store it in my mind and improvise on the sets afterwards,” he says. This at times unnerves those working with him. Does theatre impact his art or vice versa? “I’m an artist first. So, I try to compose my scenes on stage. At the same time, while I’m at my easel, I wish painting is as easy as fitting the scenes together,” he laughs. But Pallav tries to keep both his worlds separate. “I’m not on stage to showcase my art. Out there, my priority is theatre. Likewise when I’m painting, my priority is the canvas.” It’s definitely a case of being in two minds at once.
When & Where
Exhibition: Tomorrow Belongs to Me
Venue: Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road, Delhi
Time: 10 am to 7 pm
Date: August 4