Syed Haider Raza (India, 1922-2016) Beej

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Lot 18* TP
Syed Haider Raza
(India, 1922-2016)
Beej

Sold for £ 344,750 (US$ 447,065) inc. premium
Syed Haider Raza (India, 1922-2016)
Beej
Signed 'RAZA' and dated '95 lower right, further signed and inscribed '120 X 100cm/1995/"Beej"/Acrylic on Canvas' on reverse
Acrylic on canvas
120 x 100cm (47 1/4 x 39 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private Collection, Dubai;
    Osian's New Delhi, The ABC Series, 15 July 2008, Lot 47;
    Private Collection, India.

    Syed Haider Raza was a founding member of the Progressive Artists Group formed in Bombay, alongside M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, K.H. Ara and H.A. Gade, in 1947. Together, these Indian artists attempted to escape the confines of colonial 'high art' through new stylistic methods.

    By the 1970s Raza grew increasingly restless with his work and wanted to give it a new direction which led to the invention of the bindu or beej in his work. Beej, means seed and symbolises the bearer of life or the source of space, time and consciousness in Indian philosophy. This black dot or beej became the epicentre of the canvas and gave birth to other geometric forms such as horizontal and vertical lines, squares and downward and upward triangles that signified the complementary forces of male (purush) and female (prakriti) energy for instance. His fascination with spirituality and nature were reflected through his symbolic shapes as well as the use of colour. An adept colourist, Raza was able to use black, and absence of colour to denote the impact of primary colours.

    Raza stated: "There was a state of emptiness. I stopped painting for a while. I tried to look within instead instead of looking around. It was a complex and very difficult period when everything seemed dark and empty. But I continued. I followed my states, my intuitions. And from this blank space emerged a black point. The black point grew and grew and became a black circle. I stared. I found there was a horizontal line hardly perceptible and yes, there was a vertical line too. A certain electric charge came which engendered energy. The condition of the subway became clearer and slowly colours started appearing. White then yellow, blue and red. It was obvious that along with the initial black, this would form the colour spectrum" (G. Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, 1997, p. 107)

    One of the most seminal works from Raza's Bindu series, Beej incorporates all the geometric and aesthetic elements that defined his marked shift from expressionistic landscape to becoming a master of geometric abstraction. Concurrently, this work is drained of colour- created in black, white and sombre shades of grey and brown. Black symbolising the black hole where everything ends and white symbolising where everything is born.

    Raza's oeuvre was dynamic and whole making him one of the most venerated artists of Indian Modern Art. His multiple influences and interests were reflected through his deep and emotional engagement with painting. His most sought-after series is Bindu as it challenged the conventions of painting in India as well as introduced new ways of seeing.

    "Forms emerge from darkness. Their presence is perceptible from obscurity. They become relevant if their energy is orientated, through vision, into form orchestration. For these certain prerequisites are indispensable." (G. Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, 1997, p. 107)
Contacts
Syed Haider Raza (India, 1922-2016) Beej
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