About the Artist

Back Go to Works

Born in 1954

In the past couple of years, Jagdish has been concerned with the portrayal of ‘pure emotion’. For this he has employed the most direct form, the human face contorted into expressions portraying anger, bewilderment, happiness and triumph. However, adult rational consciousness achieved through thought, education and experience is not easily escaped, and a spontaneous _ expression of feeling doesn’t naturally translate into a re-awakened world of free untainted existence. In this light, it would be more productive to recognize how Jagdish’s art reflects a desire to restore a balance between though and feeling. Where much of contemporary mental life is pre-packaged, repetitiously and deadeningly familiar, and our attention is constantly hailed by a cacophony of voice telling us what and how to think, it is useful to imagine an approach to rationality that includes emotion and intuition. In these paintings, conflicting feelings emerge readable as anxiety, rage, despair, numbness, frustrated attempts to be heroic, and fragmented efforts to maintain at least some kind of recognizable human dignity amidst the pressures of the day to day. Jagdish’s men, for the most part, emerge victorious. 

Jagdish’s artistic process includes building the composition slowly, layer by layer. The forms in the paintings that the artist has been working on the last few years result from his need to be expressive and at the last few transcend the recognizable and easily achieved. In the placement of textured face within a textured background on a large canvas, Jagdish investigates the relationship between form and space. Color, applied in quick strokes pushes hard against the boundaries of control. In this sense, gesture, - expression, and emotion are not rendered but discovered, even stumbled upon. The spontaneity in Jagdish process allows for images and the process gets caught in the horns of an emotional response. This act of discovery heightens the force of the image as a source for reflection. 

Visually and psychologically, these paintings manifest tension rather than present a restful equanimity. Remembering this can affect what we see when we look: perhaps we can identify with their revelation of emotion. Finding a new sort of nobility and heroism in these images of human faces which resonate with efforts to hold our own lives together in a world fraught with mistrust and trauma. We might recognize on some level an emotional kinship with majestic, swirling and sculpturesque creatures in the paintings. 

Beautiful images of classical integrity and harmonious proportions abound in the tradition of humanistic art, but they also live on in the subliminal, frequently debased ideals represented in advertising, popular entertainment, and the rhetorical posturing of contemporary discourse. Rather than affronting humanistic dignity and conventions of artistic skill, Jagdish Cahnder’s images look for possibilities of representing the human form in ways that are in emotional accord with aspects of contemporary experience. In interior feeling this art is realistic. 

The artist who truly expresses innerness does not copy, imitate or look for personal glory.

Born          : 1954 Sonipat, Haryana

1972-77    : B.F.A. Degree in Painting from Delhi Collage of Art, University of Delhi
1984-86    : Research Scholar, Department of Fine Arts, University of Tsukuba, Japan  


1983-84, 87-90: Fellowship in Painting from Ministry of Human Resources and Development, the govt. of India
1884-86     : Japanese Government Monbusho Scholarship in Painting, University of Tsukuba, lbaraki, Japan  
1988        : Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in Painting, Delhi 
1988        : Sanskriti Award in the field of Fine Art by Sanskriti Pratisthan, Delhi
1990        : National Award in Painting, National Lalit Kala Academy, Delhi
1996-98     : Senior Fellowship in Painting from Ministry of Human Resources and Development, the govt. Of India

Solo Exhibitions 

2010        : Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai 
2006        : Galerie PetraLange, Berlin, Germany, 
2006        : Gallery Threshold, New Delhi   
2003        : Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi
1995        : Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi
1988        : Aurobindo Art Gallery, Hauz- Khas, Delhi 
1986        : Miyasaka Art Gallery, Tokyo Japan

Selected Participations

2019        : 'Inner voices - outer masks' Group show at Gallery Artchill, Amer Fort, Jaipur.
2018        : ‘ART IDIOMS - STRAY & MOULDED' Group Show at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur 
2017        : Silent Spectacle at Tao Art Gallery Mumbai
2016        : Delhi Art Summit, New Delhi, Dhoomimal Art centre, Mumbai Art Fair Tao Art Gallery 
2015        : The ecstasy of Art, Tao Art gallery, Mumbai
2014        : ‘Contemporary Figuration’ Group Show at Juneja Art Gallery, Jaipur,
2014        : Tao Art Gallery Mumbai
2013        : Small format show Tao Art Gallery Mumbai
2012        : Small is Beautiful, Tao Art Gallery Mumbai, Dubai Art Fair
2011        : Delhi Art Summit, New Delhi Tao Art Gallery  
2010        : Contemporary Indian Art at Chengdu, China by National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi 
2010        : “Evolve” Contemporary Art at Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai 
2009        : “Navarasa” An exhibition of paintings, Birla Academy, Kolkata Drawings 
2009        :“The Essence- II” by Dhoomimal Art Gallery, Delhi 
2008        : Contemporary Indian Art at New York Academy of Art by Tao Gallery Mumbai
2008        : “Faces” An Exhibition at Toa Art Gallery Mumbai 
2007        : Contemporary Indian Art by Tao Art Gallery at the House of Lords, London, UK
2007        : Indian & Italian contemporary artists at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata by National Gallery of Modern Art,Delhi
2007        : Indian Contemporary Art Ueno Art Museum Tokyo by Tao Art Gallery Mumbai 
2007        : An Art Exhibition “Power of Peace” at Bali, Indonesia by Tao Gallery Mumbai
2005        :India- Korea Contemporary Art Exhibition at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi 
2005        : Group Show at the Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre by Palette Art Gallery   
2004        : Group Show at Palette Art Gallery 
2003        : India- Korea Contemporary Art Exhibition, Gallery KwangHwa Moon, Seoul, Korea 
2003        : Art Auction ”The Passionate Detachment” by OSIANS, Mumbai
2002        : Contemporary Asian Art Workshop by Bengal Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2001        : National Gallery of Modern Art, C. J. Public Hall, Mumbai, 
2001        : Contemporary Indian Art Exhibition at ISU International Art Gallery, Singapore 
2001        : Zeitgenossiche Kunstaus Indien, The R. P. G. Collection of Indian Art, Leverkusen and Monheim,Germany    
1997        : 50 Years of Independence, three artists from India, Gallery Artetegh, Vladivostok, Russia by ICCR
1947– 97    :“Giftto India” India in Harmony by Sahamat, Delhi
1994        : Artist in residence, Hermit Foundation, Plasy, Czech Republic 
1994        : Hundred years of India art, an exhibition curated by Geeta  Kapur at the National Gallery of Modern Art New Delhi 
1994        : “Asian Heart and Form”, An art exhibition in Hiroshima, Japan, 
1994        : Indian artists in Gallery Schoo, Amsterdam, Holland
1990        : The third Bharat Bhawan Biennale of Contemporary Indian Art, Bhopal.
1989        : Second International Print Biennale, Bharat Bhawan Bhopal
1984        : Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Artists in Tokya, Japan by National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi  


National Gallery of Modern Art New Delhi, : National Lalit  Kala
Academy New Delhi: Kochin Museum of Art  Kerala, :Hermit 
Foundation of Art, Plays: Czech Republic, Bengal Foundation 
Bangladesh, HUDCO Habitat Centre New Delhi: Deutsche 
Bank New Delhi, Private collections in India, Germany, 
Holland, Ivory Coast, Italy and USA.  



Secrets of  Life

No man’s life can be without its ups and downs, thus leading to violent emotions or to their expressive sublimation into art craft. Even the stronger of the individuals undergo this confusing pell-mell process, of a change in the chemistry of the heart, else an understanding of the complicated processes of  life. One cannot pinpoint all such with any certainty, but basically honest persons manage to unify, and integrate themselves despite the mortal storms. This is how come firmly unified artistic compositions. Jagdish Chander , from his earlier on wandering artistic phase, was nevertheless seen in search of the compact image. But then this work is not normal portraiture, but a method of working out human faces wherein each detail is knit in a pattern, and that pattern overrules the separate details of a face. Apparently, the artist aimed to electrify the whole of his compositions, so that viewers strongly winced; for his work is not designed to be a polite, or pretty one, but the very foundational base of our being. May I therefore allow myself to say that in his work the heart is laid bare, tellingly.
It is possible that the painter’s subconscious pondered over the present acceleration of time! Though time is always more rapid than we realize. However, Time has lately forced on us humans, a new kind of sensibility(or maybe insensibility ). That it has imposed new habits of mind and determined the speed at which we live and feel. These changes so intimately involved with our lives are bound to affect our response to our overall surroundings. When we are presently carried at such crazy speeds, as now, other lives withdraw from our concerns, and we became mechanical.

Artists however can be troubled by such changes and live mankind’s core values. Remember how, at the end of 18th century, William Wordsworth was troubled by pace of an industrializing England, and when the discriminating powers of the human mind showed great decline; people’s faces on the streets showed unrest and discomposure. The rapid communication blunted the powers of their humanity reducing it to a state of torpor. The increasing accumulation of men in cities makes men crave for violent stimulations. The mechanical nature of  their occupation making them weary and violent. All this shows up on their visages. A forlorn prospect then, and far more so right now with the end of nature and its peace. With only artificial, secondary objects to live by the artist in the men reacts, is forced to expose the hidden, woe-ridden faces of civilization.

I cannot say that Jagdish felt this consciously and then painted it all. No, Jagdish, the artist, at his core apparently felt all that. This is inner history, not the outwardly recordable one. In mature artists, sprout visions, seeds of new ideas, and given a chance they rise to the top. Perhaps, over here is an art form that characteristically makes art a reflectory instrument, and possibly suggests the question ‘what is human reality’. The process would seem to be initiated by human faces; sensory contact with an outer as well as inner mental environment and which the deeper physical, the emotional and the rational centers receive and interpret. From the communicated experience a response appears formed and transmitted back though the body to complete a behavioral cycle. Hence, the centre of the inner space is extremely significant, and is order of human reaction, as also of human experiencing. So that this series of work tries to throw light on the intricacies, as well as the set routines of the human personality . If on the outside there is only some kind of machine in all human functioning, and which is lacking in the attributes of a fully matured human character, the artist makes his viewer pause, causes him be a little more self aware. Such by now are the painter’s developed techniques. He has been pursing the theme for a number of years. There is no ambiguity in his preoccupations. If on the face of it genre is a surface experiencing, his intention surely is to mutate from it troubling life meanings, to alert us.

It is important to know that the human face, and the mind behind it, functions on two levels; a large unconscious operation in the field of action, and a smaller, but yet conscious operation. Man is created as a unity with his body; he is a body and a personality. But then, personality, like vapour  is not bound to remain. Perhaps this fact, among other reasons, is why the butterfly, with its erratic flight, is deemed the symbolical equivalent of the human soul.

The human expression in these works are like the vacuum space of a container. They appear from birth just waiting to feel, to know, and to respond. Well in this closely it is mostly a response to hard experiences.

One of the human’s most distorted view point is regarding his corporeal presence, and of its ‘director’, the head. We constantly lavish much of our time on the body by exercising it, feeding it, combing it, dressing it and sleeping it. Too often, it ends up being worshipped and served, rather than fulfilling the soul. After all, what good is the body to us or anyone else, once we finely leave? If we are to view the body properly, we must see it as a means to an end. We are, essentially, not our physical body, but it is given to us to care for it properly so that we experience the cosmos via it.

So while a man is restricted to his body, it is still the sole means for him to experience surrounding structures, and to maintain a temporal reality which is always characterized by motion. The material of temporal reality in turn provides the basis for human meanings, found outside the space-time frame work.

In this work the senses of the body provides a communicative function, and we may than as well state that the body is the physical counterpoint of the total process o perception, as of emotions and sensations: e.g. the vibratory motion in this work. This postural status, the constant positions of the muscles, are acted out so as to maintain the self that the body carries. In this way in a single minded work reality is indirectly viewed as dependent upon interrelationships. Thus, Jagdish introduces us to many moods, many gestures, voluntary or involuntary. Of course the shanta Rasa is missing, for in it the intelligence of the highest order keeps in check the lower of expression. Thus came the composure of the Buddha, of  Christ even in his agony. The painter is treating only the ‘normal’ types, which most of us are. What he has done, has been done in the performing arts of ancient India, in its aesthetics of facial expressions as also via the hand Mudras. The artist, however, has chosen quite another avenue of expression; of human emotions that Darwin studied, or indeed Lomboroso did.

But this is art, and not science. So that, whatever I say above, ever when not strictly connected with art craft, should be read as in aid of enjoyment of art on many levels. If great novels have expressed aspects of the human personality tellingly, so can art, for here too are revelations of ourselves. In dealing with art as a total reflective device for the viewer we also see how it allows us to stand where another has stood. We ignore the emotional at our peril. The significance of these body images in a time of almost absolute abstraction is all important. Ignoring the self is in the end, ignoring art.    

Keshav Malik