Currently reading : Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan
Striking in their resemblance to the likes of Kazimir Malevich and Paul Klee these images actually originate from 17th century paintings from the tantrikas of India.
French poet Franck Andre Jamme discovered these paintings while looking through the catalogues of a Parisian gallery in 1970. Becoming so fascinated with these intensely beautiful images he traveled to India to try and discover more. When there he experienced a deadly bus crash in Rajasthan leaving him in and out of comas and being sent back to Paris. After a long recovery Jammes’ fascination took him back to India. He gained the trust of the tantrikas so he could carry out his exploration into finding out more about these paintings. Hindu devotees would carry out this pictorial tradition which is thought to have dated back to the 1600s. On his second visit he met a soothsayer who told him he had paid sufficient tribute to the goddess Shakti in his convalesce. He was told that as long as revisited the tantrikas alone or with a loved one he could enter the highly private communities of adepts who make and use these pictures for their spiritual practice.
These stunning paintings abstract key symbols of tantric metaphysics and cosmogony. While they do invoke the symbolic cosmology of the Hindu Tantra these incredibly contemporary and utterly anonymous drawings are unlike the more common and complex parts of Tantric art. The bindu, represents a dot that symbolises the undifferentiated absolute, that negatives space of the shymya, which expresses the concept of the absolute void of the supreme deity.
Using handmade scavenged paper as a canvas, the juxtaposition of each element compound the images with a rich and complex humanity. With the paper already left with scattered hand-writing and water stains the Hindu devotees go on to create the strong and simple coloured forms on top. Having been constructed with an honesty which could not have been made by the abstract artists of more recent years, unknowingly these paintings have foreseen the future of early 20th century abstract art. From the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism to Minimalism and as well as with much painting today these artworks group together concepts and the aesthetics of eastern and western art along with the old and contemporary on an uncanny level.
All of these wonderful images have been made into a book where you can buy here