Lot 70 | Auction XV

LOT 70

(B. Penang, 1930-2010)

White Incantation II, 1974

Signed “qadri” on lower left
Signed, titled and dated on verso
Mixed media on canvas
30 x 30 cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

SOLD – RM 8,260

“Sohan Qadri with his painting liberates the word meditation from its fashionable taste and brings it back to its proper origin.” – Nobel laureate, Heinrich Böll on Sohan Qadri’s work. “When I start on a canvas, first I empty my mind of all images. I dissolve into all primordial space,” the artist once said. “They dissolve into a primordial space. Only emptiness, I feel, should communicate with the emptiness of the canvas.” Instead of using subject matter drawn from the disaffected, gritty urban world like many of his contemporaries, he searched for subject matter that inspired spiritual feelings and turned to an Eastern mode of expression full of bhava or mood. “I was focusing purely on color and form without distraction from figure.” Qadri was exposed to Sufism, Hinduism and the Sikh religion when growing up in India. His art is informed by and an important practice of his spiritual pathparticularly as a part of Vajrayana Buddhism and merged merged nonfigurative painting with Eastern philosophy in his lush works on paper.

Born in Punjab, Qadri left India in 1965 to travel through Africa, Europe, and North America. He began painting colorful, abstract canvases while briefly living in Zurich. From the 1980s until his death in 2011, Qadri created Tantric paintings by carefully incising and altering large sheets of paper and covering the sheets with luxuriant hues, often using subtle variations of the same color. The rippled papers have an almost three-dimensional appearance, and, when coupled with the coloring, create rich optical effects that transcend formalism. Each work traces the artist’s mental state during its production.