Workshop with 11th and 12th grade Aditya Birla World Academy students
The students were introduced to abstract art, followed by a walkthrough of ‘The Infinite Project’. They interacted with the works of the abstractionist Laxman Shreshtha and viewed an interview of the artist by art critic Ranjit Hoskote which gave them an insight into Shreshtha’s thought process. The workshop concluded with an analysis of the various influences that were part of the an artist's journey through abstraction.
Born in Siraha, Nepal, in 1939, Laxman Shreshtha was educated at the University of Bihar, Patna; the Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai; the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris; and the Central School of Art, London. In the Parisian tradition of the atelier, he also studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and with the legendary print-maker Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17.
Shreshtha has held numerous solo exhibitions of his works since the early 1960s, and has also been represented in major curated exhibitions in India and overseas. Shreshtha has been the recipient of many awards, fellowships and honours, including the French Government Scholarship, the British Council Grant, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, Germany) residency.
Shreshtha started his career as a figurative artist but gradually moved onto abstract works. His journey, from being a member of an aristocratic family in Nepal, to a struggling art student on the brink of starvation, made him embark on a spiritual quest, which has been reflected in his work. He looked for answers to his early existentialist dilemmas in books on Western philosophy. Later, he turned to the Upanishads and to Buddhism and his paintings reflect these experiences. These abstract works are greatly inspired by landscapes, sometimes echoing the mountain peaks of his native home Nepal, the pristine white light of rarefied heights sears through the dense opacity of colour creating dazzling effects. His desire for capturing the expanse of the Himalayas made him create his large-scape works. His works are both sensuous and meditative in their shifts and balances of colour. There is an intermingling of vivid browns, yellows, reds, oranges and blues. He is greatly inspired by Jazz and classical music, and listens to it while he paints.
Until the 1980s, he was extremely social, but now turned into a recluse. He lives and works in Mumbai.