“Intimate Fears”, a solo exhibition of drawings, objects and installations by Anisuzzaman Sohel, was inaugurated by Bengal Art Lounge on the first Saturday of this Month. The exhibition was jointly inaugurated by H E Mr Greg Wilcock, High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh and artist Shishir Bhattacharjee, professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.
The second solo exhibition of Anisuzzaman Sohel, “Intimate Fears” continues to delve upon foundational themes in the artist's oeuvre: the alienation of the individual, the yearning for nature, the overwhelming power of systems – be them economic, political or military. Grim and often morbid, subjects in Sohel's artworks comprise weapons, (self) mutilations and skulls of various types and shapes. But the viewer is not presented with the clichéd dramatic renditions usually associated with these motifs: the lines in Sohel's drawings are clear, the finishing of his objects immaculate. In this discrepancy lies the striking, powerful paradox of the artist's research; an apparent contradiction that gives poignancy to his works.
By the artist’s own admission, his artistic endeavour is inspired by the world he grew up in and the fractures it is built upon. A place fraught with undercurrents, Bangladesh is permeated with unresolved conflicts that engender the kind of inward and outward violence he delves upon. The country's political legacy or the current, barbarous claims of religious fanatics, for example, offer fertile grounds for brutality and, indeed, for its absorption into one's artistic pursuits. Although not directly “political”, or only obliquely so, Sohel's research wittily points at these lines of fracture.
The relationship to nature, or rather the longing for it, offers another point of entry into the artist's “Intimate Fears”. Several artworks oppose the delicate rendition of natural motifs to man-made constructions. Butterfly wings pierced by shapes of bullets and delicate birds resting on sharp-edged combat knives convey sombre allusions. An overall sense of unease arises from the realisation that the trap is self-made. Man has trampled over Eden, the paradise is now lost.
“Intimate Fears” comes at a crucial time for Bengal Art Lounge: it is the last exhibition that the gallery is organising under this name and in theses premises. The Lounge will close its doors at the end of this show, but its mission to encourage and nurture the development of the newest forms of artistic expressions in Bangladesh will continue through other, entirely non-profit endeavours supported by Bengal Foundation. An exhibition that is at once thought-provoking, visually compelling and charged with emotion, Anisuzzaman Sohel's “Intimate Fears” offers the perfect platform to enact these exciting changes. Bengal Art Lounge is delighted to present this exhibition to the public.