View of Tantra Paintings exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2013
While they invoke the highly symbolic cosmology of Hindu Tantra, these contemporary, anonymous paintings from Rajasthan are unlike the more familiar strands of Trantric Art. The progeny of hand-written, illustrated religious treatises from the 17th century, copied over many generations, these paintings have evolved into a distinct visual lexicon used to awaken heightened states of consciousness.
Made in tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged paper, they are pinned to the wall for use in private meditation. Possessing uncanny affinities with a range of 20th century abstract art, the paintings also have a vibratory beauty that inspires acute attention even in the uninitiated.
True to the tantric spirit, it seems that the precise meaning and symbolism of the designs is not fixed. However, some general guidelines were codified long ago and transcend this specific tradition, and so are readily recognizable: for example, ovoids represent linga (hence Shiva), spirals give a form to energy, any set of three can depict the three gunas, and the colour blue symbolizes the pure sky of consciousness which contains all phenomena and experience. Franck André Jamme.
Exhibitions "Magiciens de la terre" Centre Pompidou 1989, "Azur" Fondation Cartier 1993, Galerie du Jour Paris 1994, Feature Gallery New York 2012, Venice Biennale 2013, "Formes Simples" Centre Pompidou Metz 2014, Manoir de la Ville de Martigny 2018, Van Buuren Museum Brussels 2020