Bipin Kumar brings a refreshingly original style and touch to the realm of abstract art
BY JAI TRIPATHI
Bipin has worked with the art departments of leading advertising agencies, and is currently employed as Creative Director in a prominent media house. Besides professional commitments, he has been participating in various group shows, solo exhibitions and painting workshops all over the country. His works have been exhibited in the National Exhibitions at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and in the 3rd and 6th Biennales at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal.
The creative consciousness of the contemporary milieu permeates the various images that Bipin Kumar draws with colours and lines but he also manages to go beyond the layers which society and events occurring around him impose on him. The sensations that his works spawn keep evoking a plethora of emotions from the viewer.
Kumar, who has established his identity as an abstract painter at the national level, composes a series of paintings which test the prominence of the subjects that he takes up. For this reason, in his paintings, from beginning to end, the allure of abstraction remains like an ethereal illusion constructed by a gifted magician. This is evident in the subtle play of lines, colours and shapes visible in each work. In the interesting “Dog” series, the viewer derives a sense of the dogs in his own surroundings. At the same time, there are paintings on the water crisis confronting the country and the world—which I consider among his best series.
This experimental artist seeks to recreate the world with his highly sensitive and poignant paintings. He understands the creative combination of modernity and traditionalism very well. In the “Migration” series, he uses abstract shapes—a testament to the detailed thinking which
must’ve preceded the actual painting. The extent of his canvas is so vast that along with the fascination of the marvels he creates, there is also the poignant portrayal of the sheer lack of mirth, the pangs of hunger and the travails of migration in addition to many other nuances.
It often happens that the talent of a painter is judged by limiting the appraisal to his paintings; however, today artists display their talent in multiple forms, one being ‘performance art’. Some years ago, Kumar’s paintings were displayed at the Bodh Gaya Biennale. In addition, a video of a very touching performance by him was presented. Art connoisseurs from India and abroad were pleasantly surprised to see the performance which had a wide gamut of narration and expression in silent language and showed the creative potential of imagination.
Kumar’s aesthetic vision is very subtle and comprehensive so the beauty of all of creation is encompassed in his works … the beauty of nature, of action, of toil, sweat and blood. According to him, “If you could say everything in words, there would be no reason to paint.”
Kumar is one of the first line of abstract painters in the contemporary art scene. The feeling of anger at injustice, tyranny and oppression are intensely present and visible in his black and white work. Apart from colours, he has been highly experimentative on these subjects by using small to large sizes and unique shapes in black and white.
At the same time, he has done a wonderful job by creating paintings in soft pastel colours. Looking at his works, it seems that in the future he may once again return to this expression.
In life, often there come times when one faces great frustration and hardships. There are those who emerge from the ravages of pain with undiminished vitality. Such exceptional courage was shown by Kumar when in 2000, due to a major road accident, one eye was completely damaged and, after long treatment, vision in the other eye came back but dimmed with time. Recalling this, I feel the prickle of goosebumps. Today, witnessing his art and his zeal to create daily, no one could believe that he has been steeped in such creative fervour for the past two decades with only partial vision in just one eye. The monumental spirit of this gifted artist is humbling.
Kumar grew up in Munger, Bihar. He studied art at the College of Arts and Crafts in Patna and subsequently received his MFA from Delhi College of Art. Influenced by Raza, Gaitonde and Ram Kumar, he has had an inspiring and interesting journey from intense struggle to success. He has
tirelessly engaged in his artwork by staying away from any kind of award or fellowship. Delhi’s reputed Vadehra Art Gallery recognised his talent two decades ago and displayed his works.
His artworks have also been included in many prestigious art exhibitions of the country such as the National Art Exhibition, the third and sixth editions of the Biennale organised by Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, and many more. His paintings are displayed in major art galleries in India and abroad, including Canada and the US, and in private collections where they receive considerable attention.
Bipin Kumar’s paintings have always been rooted in nature and human lives. Besides conservation of water, he has chosen to delve into the complexities of human relations, conflicts, dichotomy and duality of human character. If you look carefully, you will find there is a man present in all his series. And, every time it is on the canvas he is seen confronting some new predicament of human existence or fighting some new sets of crisis produced by human greed and destruction of natural habitats. Several of Kumar’s works are with Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, private collectors and corporate houses both in India and abroad. He lives and works in Ghaziabad.