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Jitish Kallat (Indian, b.1974)
LOT ID: 66958
Covering Letter 5, 2004

Acrylic, Mixed Media, on canvas
72 х 48 in. (182.88 x 121.92 cm.)
Signed, inscribed, with title, date and dimensions on verso.
Lot description
Jitish Kallat (Indian, B. 1974). "Covering Letter 5", 2004.
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Unframed dimensions: 72 x 48 in (182.9 x 121.9 cm)
This work is custom framed in a steel frame made for the work in India.
The work is in excellent condition.

"Covering Letter 5" is a stunning example of the large-scale paintings that have made Indian Contemporary artist one of the most famous and internationally recognized artists working today. The use of acrylic and mixed media here is a signature of the artist, as is the conflation of graffiti style figural representation, combined with the use of neo-pop colors, outlines of black and abstract patterns. The image of a man at center is repeated four times, each image larger than the next, of a bare cheated with the figural details outlined in heavy black, as if heavily stenciled. Kallat pants each one just slightly overlapping atop the other, as if in a flip book. This standing figure is surrounded by red and white check pattern that fills the negative space. A floating gasoline pump in purple also makes an appearance, a direct commentary on the world's oil and gasoline consumption that is responsible for much of the war and aggression in the Middle East.

At the lower right corner a small rectangle in white has been reserved and inside Kallat has drawn in outline the iconic photo of Satar Jabar, one of the prisoners subjected to torture at Abu Ghraib prison, which as when this painting was created, used for detention purposes by both the U.S.-led coalition occupying Iraq and the Iraqi government. This is just a small touch to the painting, almost unnoticeable, yet its ghost-like appearance in such an otherwise visually intense painting is the type of detail and subject matter that makes Kallat such a talented artist.

Jitish Kallat (b.1974) uses a multitude of media to represent, observe, and honor his hometown of Mumbai, India. Through painting, sculpture, photography, and installation, Kallat produces intricate portraits of the city’s urban environment that simultaneously reflect the spirit and culture of its inhabitants. Kallat graduated in 1996 with a BFA in painting from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. Since then, Kallat has garnered international critical acclaim, winning the Indo-American Society’s Young Achiever’s Award and the Provogue Society Young Achiever’s Award. His work has been featured in museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the world, with recent solo shows being held at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, India (2011); the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2010); Haunch of Venison, London, UK (2010); Galerie Arndt, Berlin, Germany (2010); Haunch of Venison, Zurich, Switzerland (2008); and Arario Beijing, China (2007). The artist was just shortlisted January 2012 to be amongst the top 3 finalists for the 2012 SKODA prize, an award of 1 Million INR, recognizing the top Indian Contemporary Artist and their recent works,.
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