Chintan Upadhyay’s paintings and 3D works have a streamlined perfection that signifies mechanical reproduction. Colors can be garish and while his artworks often appear playful they nevertheless have disturbing undercurrents. The artist focuses on particular motifs, most recently the image of babies, and includes fragmented references to local Indian culture. The affect is typically one of a brash visual overload, like advertising imagery that makes explicit an otherwise implicit vulgarity.
Upadhyay is concerned with the nature of the designed: contemporary technologies of replication. The image of the baby or infant is an appropriate symbol. It can represent innocence and is understood as typifying the natural. In Upadhyay’s terms, both these states have become obsolete in our age of globalized values and because of a pervasive sense of the simulacral. In a word, we are divorced from the realm of the real or authentic. Upadhyay renders aspects of Rajasthani miniature paintings as tattoos on some of the figures he paints to suggest history and identity are markers that are consciously worn. That is, cultural and social understandings are claimed as not emerging inevitably or naturally.
Upadhyay’s art, however, is not one of a crisis of contemporary values. And he is certainly not concerned with nostalgia for more authentic times. Rather, and like much of the best of international contemporary art, his artworks serve a critical prompt about the world we live in.
Oil and Acrylic on canvas
274 x 92 cm(9 x 3 ft)