Bhupen Khakhar @ Tate Modern

Bhupen Khakhar, Man Leaving (Going Abroad), 1970 (courtesy of Tapi Collection, I
Bhupen Khakhar, Man Leaving (Going Abroad), 1970 (courtesy of Tapi Collection, India. © Estate of Bhupen Khakhar)

Anna McNay reviews Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All at Tate Modern, on view through November 6, 2016.

McNay begins: "From a distance, the paintings in this exhibition look like large-scale Indian miniatures, with their vibrant palette and simplified, flat, illustrative characters. Look more closely, however, and there are floating figures that could be from Marc Chagall, foliage that looks like something from Henri Rousseau, elements of pop art, and then, uniting it all, a devotional style that could be straight out of 14th-century Sienese painting. This stylistic symphony is punctuated by a wry humour and narrates contemporary scenes – often multiple scenes per work – of Indian life: the life of ordinary workers and tradesmen; of the artist and his older, male lovers; and of the degeneration of his body as he fights, and ultimately loses, his battle against prostate cancer."