Santanu’s first solo exhibition, BLCK, challenges audience perceptions

Santanu Hazarika has carved a name for himself in the world of visual art. His art is instantly recognizable and has a spontaneous recall value for trademark affinity towards creating fluidic visceral imagery. His monochromatic visual vocabulary is rooted in popular culture. The iconography is informed by an early exposure to art forms as varied as graphic novels, street art, sci-fi, animé, video games, fantasy, dark humor, metal music and mythology. These influences give form and color to experiences from his life. 

 ‘BLCK’ is Santanu’s first ever debut solo show emerges as an exhibit of a phenomenon that presents a practice which is an enigma of the person who creates visual networks of personal histories, video gaming, popular culture and the skill to draw. It’s our moment for an art form to emerge from our interiors crafted and scripted by a genius image maker. Drawing heavily on Santanu’s love for monochromatic work, BLCK is all set to be an iconic display of black & white pieces that unsettle and challenge audience perceptions.

Exhibition Dates: 10th– 28th February 2022

Exhibition Venue: Art & Soul, 1 Madhuli, Shiv Sagar Estate, Dr Annie Besant Rd, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400018

As art is increasingly pushing digital boundaries, how important is it for a physical experience? 

Art is all about pushing boundaries or even creating new ones. Digitally right now art just entered a whole new realm of Nft’s which has disrupted the traditional notion of art. Qqqqq But I believe art is something which should be experienced in totality, art is a reflection of both the physical and the metaphysical reality, even if it is a digital representation, it still in a lot of ways stems out of physical experiences. Physical experinces emcompases all the senses in totality. For me both the planes of digital and analogue are very intriguing, as an artist it will be wrong of me not to experiment with both. My attempt is to merge both of them together. I have been working on various nft projects and simultaneously working n my physical exhibition , end of the day it’s still my expression and my art , irrespective of what medium is choose to suspend it on. 

How personal is this exhibition for you?

This exhibition is personal because because it’s my debut show. Everyone that is part of my life and inspiration is part of my exhibition. Starting from my partner Shruti to my friends like Mc altaf and Karan. It’s the first time I’m opening my process and practise to the world. BLCK is an extension of my turbulent existence and the contentment it brings to me. I began my practice using the deep black tones of India Ink, so when you doodle using black ink ,the metascape it allows is very graphic , there are no tonal qualities you rather depend on the ability to sketch , it absorbs light. BLCK is a reflection on my artistic practice, it absorbs popular culture into intertwined vines of hands, skulls, human bodies and images that mirror our minds, the chaos that descends into our bodies from the images that we consume.Emotionally driven and violently moulded, BLCK is an invitation into my world of comfortable turbulence

Reflecting on your journey and growth, what are you most grateful for right now in the moments before opening?

I’m grateful for all the support that I have got , I’m grateful how excited and positive everyone is. Coming from a very small town and having no background in art, it’s my friends and family who have always believed in me and in my art. Im grateful that I can make them proud and inspire my people from every corner of my humble state.

Can you shed more light on the India Ink you used for those who aren’t familiar – what makes it special, what is it comprised of, why use it?

India ink (also Chinese ink) is a simple black or coloured ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing and outlining, especially when inking comic books and comic strips. India ink is also used in medical applications. India ink has been in use in India since at least the 4th century BC, where it was called masi, an admixture of several substances.Indian documents written in Kharosthi with this ink have been unearthed in as far as Xinjiang, China.The practice of writing with ink and a sharp-pointed needle in Tamil and other Dravidian languages was common practice from antiquity in South India, and so several ancient Buddhistand Jain scripts in India were compiled in ink.In India, the carbon black from which India ink is formulated was obtained indigenously by burning bones, tar, pitch, and other substances.

My introduction to art was through comic books, and India ink is primarily used in comic book inking, I have spent years practicing with India ink before moving to acrylic or digital. This exhibition is a reflection of my roots and reinventing my art form by retracing my processes. I’m just scaling up my sketch book that I had as an engineering student and revisiting my past in a much more confident state.