jangarh singh shyam
Photo Deidi Von Schaewen, Jangarh Singh Shyam Paris 1989
Jangarh Singh Shyam (1960-2000) is part of the Gond tribe located in Madhya Pradesh. With the intent to build a collection of tribal art in Bhopal, an Indian collective, led by Jagdish Swaminathan, began in the 80’s a study tour. During their visit in the Mandla District, the painted walls of a house held their attention. They inquired about the name of the author of these paintings and met for the first time Jangarh Singh Shyam. He was then a teenager blessed with an outstanding pictorial style. They invited him to Bhopal to conduct a series of works on paper and canvas now kept at the Bharat Bhavan. Located in Bhopal, the Bharat Bhavan is one of the most prestigious museums of tribal and contemporary Indian art.
Jangarh Singh Shyam committed suicide in 2001 in Japan. He died in his thirty’s, leaving behind a particularly intense multifaceted work.
From his early work, with a raw and expressive touch, to his refined latest artworks, his career demonstrates exceptional creativity. In the early 80’s, his first large scale works on paper reveal forms of great expressiveness and simplicity, with a dominant primal feel.
As shown in the exhibition "Other Masters of India" (“Autres maîtres de l’Inde) organized by the “Musée du Quai Branly” in 2010, his great scale papers of the late 80's and early 90’s show a shift to a profusion of colors that could be described as psychedelic. The more elaborate forms pour a constellation of endless colors. The second half of the 90’s is one of rare refinement, pictural maturity and graphic mastering, at its best, amazing, confounding.
During these years, Jangarh Singh Shyam practices painting, drawing and screen printing. Each medium is for him the opportunity for new experiences. Each discovery is an opportunity to expand his representation systems. Juxtapositions of points in an arc of concentric circles for painting, chopped lines juxtaposed in kinetic frame effect for drawing, flat solid color gradient rock pattern for screen prints.
Whatever the technique, Jangarh Singh Shyam manages this strength (= tour de force) of creating new styles while respecting his fundamental concern, that of transmitting his culture, the spirit of the Gond who is in a word, a concept, that of vibration. This same term that translates over and now one of the most powerful concepts of Indian thought.
Present at the Magiciens de la terre (Centre Pompidou 1989) and the Gwangju Biennale (Sourh Corea 2012), works by Jangarh Singh Shyam are part of the collections of the Fondation Cartier and the Kiran Nadar Museum, the most important private foundation in India, which devoted an exhibition and a book to him in 2018.