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A Burst of Laughter:
The Art of Paramjit Singh





Two thousand blades of red grass and a burst of laughter.

The visual hypnotism that emerged during leading Indian landscape painter Paramjit Singh’s slideshow in Chandigarh on Friday, December 2, 2011, deepened the spectator’s yearning for magic … and desperation for a miracle

The ground beneath the feet of the invisible promises a new mental landscape, the one where interpretations flow sans external (and internal) disturbances, and life asserts in multi-dimensional hues. Rapid strokes hint of a familiarity with surroundings - close, not just to the painter.

As the winter evening progresses and as the lights of the auditorium of the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector-11 bid adieu on a Friday evening, there forms a dream of lands - distant and not so. Geography loses meaning, assumes a new metaphor.

Painter Paramjit Singh, who was in Chandigarh on the invitation of the city's Lalit Kala Academy for the release of his book, Sahaj Prakriti in Punjabi commences his slideshow and the white light brings to form a wide range of his work. Some he had exhibited before in Chandigarh. Some he had not.

But all were ‘new’, in almost every meaning of the word. An overpowering absence of figures in the art work bring alive the assertive presence of the ‘third’. Golden and red grass on his canvas are just perfect for beautiful feet, to be the ground beneath.

“I don’t paint figures, but you can of course feel their presence through absence,” Paramjit smiles. Between the sketches of a girl from Norway and those of mountains, Ghalib comes alive. The painter smiles even as he progresses to show more of his works that amplify architecture and everything that wraps the soul in multiple meanings.

The ‘Path’ series reaffirm his silence within even as he touches his work on the screen … delicately. Beautiful compositions facilitate a new inner language that becomes clearer even as he demands that the strong spotlight be taken away from him - “Isko hatao, yeh kya hai?”

And of course, his series on stones.

“Yes, people had started calling me pathar wallah after this ...,” he smiles. A white rock makes its presence felt, grabs you. He shows a slide where a white rock whispers. “This was in Manali, the rock takes the centre seat, everything is around it."


“It is important to understand that still objects are not dead. That’s why we use the term ‘still life’. They talk to each other in their own language,” he asserts.

But looking at his earlier work, he can also smile and say that he would have done things differently now …Points to his National award winning painting and says, “Now I feel that the tree is disturbing the balance. I wouldn’t have made it if I were to do this work again. Yes, there are times when I really want to go back to the old work, explore the same theme but with contemporary sensibilities.”

An almost 18th century European landscape embraces the audience. It’s breathing comfortably and sits smiling in its skin.

“I had painted several trees, But, I cut them off. One by one … And this is what has emerged. You see, it’s important to understand that in art, it’s not just about creating but also eliminating. What to keep, what not to … that’s the question. Simplification in every art form makes it easy to reach the essence.”

As the artist goes on to show the painting for which he collaborated with his wife, Paramjit smiles, “She told me to paint the landscape and leave a corner for her figures. Now that wasn’t easy, but I managed to do that. And she painted the man and woman in which the former is reading from a book to her. But hey, don’t miss the aeroplane she made in front of my cloud. After all, that lent such a balance and a peculiar wholeness to the work.”

In another work, the ‘whiteness’ comes alive. It could be snow, it could be … grass. But it overpowers, not just the canvas but spectators too. The grass is white. Reality at its most profound. After all, in nature, there can’t be a lie.

His work promises a dialogue, a constant stream, never becoming a victim of its own ambition. Always serving. After all, in the maturity of his work, there is nothing to prove and everything to imagine.


December 8, 2011


Conversation about this article

1: Manjeet Shergill (Singapore), December 09, 2011, 6:10 AM.

We must collect this brilliant artist's works. Paramjit Singh is so brilliant I have no words to express the beauty this painter is capable of. Thank you,, for introducing/ showcasing this beautiful painter.

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