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Naresh Kumar et Shinichiro Koromo: Choc Parisien

Naresh Kumar et Shinichiro Koromo: Choc Parisien

Maison Du Japon, Paris

Curator: Sumash Shama

Invité d’honneur : Jean-Luc Vilmouth

Avec le soutien de la Fondation Franco-Japonaise Sasakawa

Samedi14- Lundi16 Février 2015

Vernissage,Samedi14, 18h-21h

Samedi14, 18h-21h

Dimanche15, 10h-19h

Lundi16, 10h-19h

Maison du Japon

Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

7c Boulevard Jourdan 75014 Paris

The 'Cite Universitaire'  in Paris was conceived to house various nations that would intend to send their people to study in France's largest university system, what was unintended were disparities in architecture and facilities provided by participating countries.  While all of Africa was grouped into one large building , the Americans sought about to build a nouveau riche manor that they believed would shame the Parisiens, actually comically stands out as a conservative stance America has always sought socially and is remembered historically.

The 'Paris Syndrome'  is an affliction of a few Japanese and Scottish visitors to Paris , on their first time around , who fail to satiate their expectations of romance the city promises.  Its insensitivities shock them into seeking medical treatment and help,  but travel guides to the city blame the troubles on gypsies and north African immigrants rather than an introspection into the tourist experience.  The tourist experience is ridiculous but even then important, a social and economic function that sustains a few economies and leads to people changing their lives , moving to places , and deciding on personal situations.  Its utilities are endless and the gaze seductively exotic.

What does an Indian artist and Japanese artist hold in common during a year abroad in the city of Paris?  Do they get down to their residencies without negotiating the pursuits of a city often offered to tourists?

Naresh Kumar and Shinichiro Koromo allowed the city manifest in the most stereotypical way, Naresh Kumar would cross the 'Pont des Arts' with its lovelocks imagining the codes that were so commonly known to tourists but unknown to him as he did not participate in the hipster world culture inaccessible to a non-English speaker like him.  Shinichiro says : '' It is profoundness. I have felt since I came to Paris. I can feel it from a huge number of works in museums. and also buildings in the city.

It can feel from the weight that I feel when I open the door of the building. That's what has been stacked over the years.Then I drew a building and the gate recently. ''  It is an idea of existentialism that has not been theorised at the Sorbonne,  nor is it seen as political living.  Shinichiro paints landcapes , which have a certain expressionist aesthetic to them. These are memory paintings which he constructs rather than witness from a photo or on sight.  The Japanese sought a space with their economic powers to construct a cultural inheritance from Europe through the route of the auction and acquisition of impressionist masters. The romance today stands ended, but the retort that  the Champs Elysees is inhabited by them and are found most likely queuing outside the Louis Vuitton store for a purchase that might fund a foundation for contemporary art in Paris. Shinichiro though represents a more invested non-national construct of the Japanese, one who is not interested in the stereotypical construct of a Japanese artist in Paris.

The famine that often afflicts villages in the plains of Mithila when flood waters enter the region each year from Nepal forces many people from Bihar into migrating into cities as the rice crop and any rice stored is destroyed into a black rotting mass.  When Naresh Kumar came to Paris he was accommodated into Fondation Lucien Paye or the Maison D'Afrique a home to students of Africa from across the continent. Naresh Kumar had encountered Africans for the first time in Delhi, a city where usually there no contempt for migrants as it is India's federal capital, but from the years he had begun living there particular sets of people were being discriminated for reasons that often did not arise from issues of employment or cultural difference.  These were the differences of race, violence against North-Eastern Indian immigrants had been unchecked for a while until it manifested in middle class abhorrence for the unusual into a violent vigilante attack on West African migrants living in one of Delhi's old villages - Khirkee buy a minister from the Aam Admi Party an anarchist social conservative party that had risen to power on a mandate that arose from the frustrations of the grande publique against a corrupt elite that had restricted their access to the administration leaving them hopeless.  But the violent lynch mob that entered the village accosting Congolaise women as prostitutes and the men as drug runners, brought about a a drop in the party's fortunes. Naresh Kumar had supported the AAP but was always confused about their disdain for migrants even from his home state Bihar.  Khirkee is also home to Delhi's alternate art scene, but a scene that Naresh Kumar claims is not always accessible to artists who come to live in Delhi from small towns across India, the scene often gets divided over the barriers of language and class.

Kumar came from the Patna College of Arts and Crafts, Patna is a city in Eastern India and the capital of India's poorest states - Bihar.  The college is known all over India for its ability in producing the best water-colourists, its most known alumni - Subodh Gupta had similar beginnings.  The ability at watercolour is inherited from Mughal miniature painters who migrated to the city when it became an entrepot for the East India Company as a port on the Ganges for the opium trade.  Mughal Miniaturists had migrated to the city from Delhi after the influence of the Mughal empire began to wane.  The painters used cheaply available transparent Mica to paint images of the water carrier,  the cobbler,  dancers, prostitutes, wanderers , god men and others.  These were sold as souvenirs to an international market of visiting company officials and were sought for in England as documentation from the scenes of Britain's most prized colony.  People travelled through these small watercolours and they became India's first secular political form of art that depicted the public and not a court scene or an imperial victory.  They were called the 'Patna Kalam'  and they were not collected by India's 200 or so royal families but laymen in Britain engaged by the Company. Radha Mohanjee one of the last Patna Kalam painters established the Patna College of Arts & Crafts.

Naresh Kumar found a stack of old exercise books into which were neatly typed notes on the economy and the political principles of the French state, this he used to paint portraits of Paris immigrants engaged in itinerant trades. When Naresh Kumar began working with me to establish an itinerant Clark House in Paris, we realised that for him to spend his bourse on art materials would only lead to a great paucity of funds.  Thus we began to collect material on the streets specifically on Wednesday nights finding old televisions,  household articles such as utensils, cups and plates and furniture.  These articles became Naresh Kumar's ingredients for his year at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.  When I first migrated to France a decade ago I sustained myself by collecting and selling disused electronic, furniture and household effects and revisiting this past with Naresh Kumar was extremely satisfying as a curatorial act. Naresh Kumar connected with his African neighbours at Lucien Paye through their love for rice after few days of suffering bread Naresh Kumar returned to eating rice.  Most of West African cuisine is always accompanied by generous portions of white rice.  But rice is one of the largest commodities imported into West Africa , a commodity that forces many people to migrate,  much like Naresh Kumar's own personal migration to Patna with his father when their rice crop was destroyed on the fourth consecutive year when he was child.  For him the journey of rice explained the journey of migration.  Thus through a series of performances, drawings and sculptures Naresh Kumar presents his year in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Text: Sumesh Sharma, Fort Kochi - 2015

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