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An ''Anatomy of Restlessness": Reflections on the Art of Jai Chuhan

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Publication date25/11/2022
Host publicationRefuge
EditorsJai Chuhan
PublisherGulab Publishing
ISBN (print)0956864317, 9780956864314
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores the figurative paintings of the contemporary Indian-born British artist Jagjit (Jai) Chuhan. Working from life, photographs and studio sketches, Chuhan creates an array of representations of diverse human bodies distinguished by the intense use of colour and the frequently twisted and contorted positioning of limbs, organs, raw flesh, and features. These are visceral, provocative disfigurings. For me, what is most remarkable about her work, though, is the inclusion of time, a particular chronology. These are human bodies that are not posed as such, but rather which appear to be moving into position, about to adopt a pose, caught in a not-yet-quite-ready: a pre-gestural fraction of a second. These bodies are interrupted; the arc of movement incomplete. In a current series, still itself in the making, she presents a set of individual bodies seemingly suspended upside down as if waiting to be born, as if not yet emerged from the womb; or, perhaps, hanging in the air like meat on a hook. I suggest that this chronological imbrication of the work, this capturing of the time-between, of the not-yet of something still unfolding, suggests a before and after and thereby lends her work a narrative structure and character. These are bodies with stories