The book titled "Visions of interiority: interrogating the male body, Rameshwar Broota: A Retrospective" was recently published by Kiran Nadar Museum of Arts. The book accompanied the retrospective exhibition of Broota's works from 1963 to 2014. Presented here is the foreword to the book by Kito De Boer: “In knowing anyone, but especially those in pursuit of the muses, one never knows what fully obtains. You are likely to scratch your head despite all your familiarity with them. The ground beneath Rameshwar’s person, remains Terra Incognito.” - Keshav Malik Rameshwar Broota is described by Keshav Malik as ‘Terra Incognito.’ Malik is a fine poet and chooses his words with deliberation and precision. When he chooses the Latin for ‘unknown land’ to [...]
Rameshwar Broota’s recent photographs reflect both a contemporary emphasis on the interiority of vision and translate the personal relationship between the photographer and subject in many ways that appear at once spontaneous and yet are shaped with extraordinary care.
Before I begin to ramble about Rameshwar Broota’s world one thing must be said at the very start, namely, that his art is not built upon a ‘great’ idea, but upon a minute, conscientious realisation, upon the attainable, upon a craft. And this, if I may say so, is a compliment, not the reverse. It is at as it were he has very naturally pledged himself to an humble seeming but difficult beauty of form, one that he could oversee, summon and direct. Only so did this beauty, that of dynamic form, deign to come, that is when everything was prepared. It is for this reason the stark simplicity of his maturest compositions, with not an iota of the eye-hurting alien detail sticking to them. It is how in the eighties and nineties his most individualized work began. By this time all received or routine wisdom of art had become of little use to him. The nick blade technics he had invented for himself were increasingly directed to, and brought forward, an astonishing feel of aliveness to his compositions, and as is surely matchless. As far as his art was concerned the man had become the master of himself.
One encounters an unusual visual image with a human hand jutting out from a hollow pipe. Part flesh part metal, part human, part industrial, Rameshwar Broota’s recent paintings push forward the discourse on transgressive representations of the human body. One is made to encounter the unfamiliar psychological terrain through corporeal fusion, forcing us to reimagine the body’s boundaries in ways that may or may not be pleasant. Like a story without conclusions, Broota’s imagery stimulates many questions.
One by one images flicker and roll over on the Macintosh screen in no particularly connected fashion. A tranquil seascape all of a sudden gives way to a series of marble images of Greek kuros, perfect in their athletic body, reveling in their nakedness. Suddenly the screen lights up with an image of a Venus pudica concealing her genetilia and her breasts with her languid arms. Across the computer screen on the wall of the small intimate studio, in a stark black and white photographic image, one sees a fragile naked male body echo the gesture of concealment, with deeply veined hands covered with hair; each sinewy blood vessel standing out in sharp contrast against the pale skin. It is an uncanny moment of reflective connection, for no mirror intervenes yet the two images are clearly interconnected.
Most artists commit themselves to the enduring challenge of drawing from the imagination. Rameshwar Broota continually revises the way he looks at man himself. In a career spanning four decades Broota has moved from images of existential anxiety to sharp satire to a classic heroism, which settles tantalizingly close to the edge of hope and despair. In the process he compels a revision of the notion of the heroic to embrace, rather than exclude, the ordinary.
For the last 40 years, Rameshwar Broota has been mapping a vast terrain of visual experiences. He has moved from the purely representational to abstract and back to figurative works. In the process, he has created a distinctive visual language combining elements of realism and expressionism. He has moved beyond recording manifestations of the human condition and has set out on a search to capture glimpses of a materiality.
The New Delhi based artist Rameshwar Broota celebrated his 61st birthday in February 2002. He graduated in Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art in 1954, and soon after joined there as a lecturer. In 1958, he moved on to Jamia Milia Islamia and then to the Sarda Ukil College. However, he did not stay long in any of these institutes.