The Contemporary Art Society has acquired three paintings by London-based artist Matthew Krishanu for Huddersfield Gallery. His work looks back at his upbringing in the UK, India and Bangladesh exploring notions of childhood, memory and place. Born to a British father and an Indian mother in Bradford, Krishanu emigrated to Bangladesh aged one before returning to the UK when he was twelve. It is this period of early childhood spent with his parents and brother that features in much of Krishanu’s work. His other series of works have focused on the expat community he lived amongst in Dhaka and his father’s work as a missionary in Bangladesh.
Many paintings, including those acquired by the Contemporary Art Society, depict the artist and his brother exploring natural landscapes recalls how these expansive spaces would feel to a small child. Yet the works are not from the perspective of childhood as it is experienced at the time, but the act of looking back through the hazy filter of memory.
Two Boys on a Boat (2019) show the boys on the river, with the distinctively flat horizon of Bangladesh expanding into the distance. Two Boys on a Log (2019) depicts the brothers in Kashmir above rapidly cascading water; the boys are both precarious and assured in their position. The third painting, Boy in a Pool (2019), shows a small, solitary figure in a comparatively vast body of water. Krishanu recalls that he and his brother often swam in pools or lakes. In the latter two works they are in Kashmir, where they would sometimes go on holiday. The paintings draw from photographs and memories, capturing how the passage of time makes early recollections appear dream-like: an effect aided by the eerie beauty of the landscape. Elusive childhood memories are easy to sentimentalise, though Krishanu avoids this in his works by presenting child-like naïveté through the knowing gaze of adulthood.
Huddersfield Art Gallery holds a significant collection of 19th and 20th century painting including the first Francis Bacon to enter a public collection, a work also gifted by the Contemporary Art Society. Krishanu was born locally and had his first solo show at the Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2018. The acquisition of his work builds on the existing legacy of painting while incorporating contemporary and global perspectives.
Matthew Krishanu (b. 1980, Bradford, UK). Recent solo shows include exhibitions at Iniva (2019) and Matt’s Gallery (2019), London. He will be giving a talk about his series Corvus at the Stuart Hall Library on November 30th 2019, click here for more information. Krishanu is currently showing at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai in New Figurations: Matthew Krishanu and Sosa Joseph from 14 November 28 December.