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TA N T R A D R AW I N G S by Acharya Vyakul and Anonymous

CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY - NEW YORK, NY


1 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


TA N T R A D R AW I N G S by Acharya Vyakul and Anonymous

CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY NEW YORK, NY

ACHARYA VYAKUL > 2


This catalog presents the Tantra paintings of Acharya Vyakul (1930 – 2000, Jaipur and Rajasthan, India), and several anonymous artists. The anonymous small paintings come from a tradition in Tantric Hinduism, which began in the fifth or sixth century C.E. After painting one, a devotee is to meditate on an image to manifest the divinity. It is a practice that involves a separation from one’s ego. In Sanskrit tantra means “loom” or “weave,” but also “treatise.” The hand-written Tantra treatises date back at least to the seventeenth century, as do the paintings. The Tantra treatises and paintings have been copied over many generations. The accompanying symbolic paintings evolved with the treatises. Now many of them have been separated from the original treatises. The Tantric philosophy does not separate spiritual, ascetic practices from the mundane experiences of daily life. A Tantrika, or practitioner of Tantra, is not expected to live a hermetic existence away from the pleasure and pain of the world. The continuum of ordinary life can provide true and ever-lasting fulfillment only when all the threads are woven according to the pattern designated by Nature. When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern. But as we grow, our ignorance, desire, attachment, fear, and false images of others and ourselves tangle and tear the threads, disfiguring the fabric. Tantra practice reweaves the fabric, and restores the grace of the original pattern. When a practitioner meditates, the meditator may repeat a continuous pattern of words or sounds, either silently or audibly, known as a Mantra. Yantra is the Sanskrit word for mystical diagram, or a visual Mantra. Tantric visualizations are said to bring the meditator to the core of their humanity and unity by transcendence. The transcendence reached by meditative work does not construct anything in the mind of the practitioner; instead, it deconstructs all preconceived notions of the human condition. The limits on thought (cultural and linguistic frameworks) are removed. This allows the person to experience liberation, followed by unity with spiritual reality. It is very common, and totally within the tradition for artists to make yantras on recycled paper--and to create them anonymously, as humility is part of Tantra practice. Most of these paintings (historical and contemporary) are made by artists trained to copy Indian miniatures, an acceptable, respected occupation in India. The makers tend to be from the Rajasthan area of India. While a skilled copyist may be able to capture pattern and color, it takes the touch of artist to capture the energy and luminosity associated with the best of the paintings. 3 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


The work of Acharya Vyakul (1930 – 2000, Jaipur and Rajasthan, India), offers a different take on Tantra art. In the context of the tantric pictorial tradition, codified by unchanging archetypes, the work of Vyakul distinguishes itself by its freedom of execution, its aspect of free improvisation, a spontaneity fed by a secular tradition. Vyakul considered himself a modern painter working in the abstract tradition. Unlike 99.9% of painters of yantra, Vyakul signs his name. The paintings of Vyakul were brought to Western consciousness by French poet Andre Jamme, who lent some drawings from his collection to the groundbreaking exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, organized by Jean-Hubert Martin, at Centre Georges Pompidou in 1989. The anonymous creators of the small Yantra, or mystical diagrams in this catalog were also trained as a copyist of traditional Indian miniatures. Choosing to remain anonymous in the spiritual act of making the paintings, they use vintage paper, and hand-ground colors including minerals, mother-of-pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetal pastes, and silver and or gold leaf. Anonymous paintings such as these have been exhibited most recently at the 2015 Outsider Art Fair in New York; at the Venice Biennale in 2013; The Drawing Center, New York, in 2005-6; Feature Gallery, New York in 2012, 2010, 2007, 2005; Agnes B’s Galerie de Jour, Paris, 1994; and Galerie Le Point Cardinal, Paris, 1970, organized by Octavio Paz. I am indebted to the poetic writings of French poet Franck André Jamme, and have paraphrased him extensively in this short essay, and to the scholarly writing of Ajit Mookerjee for historical information. -Shari Cavin, 2015 Bibliography Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajastan, Franck André Jamme, Siglio, Los Angeles, 2011 Field of Color: Tantra Drawings From India, the Drawing Center, NY, 2004, with essay by Franck André Jamme Vyakul, Franck André Jamme, Galerie de Jour, Paris, 1993 Magiciens de la Terre, organized by Jean-Hubert Martin, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1989 Tantra Art, Ajit Mookerjee, Landmark Book Company, NY, 1983 The Tantric Way, Ajit Mookerjee, and Madhu Khanna, Thames and Hudson, London, 1977 ACHARYA VYAKUL > 4


5 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


TANTRA ART BY

ACHARYA VYAKUL


Untitled Pigment on paper 7 x 9 in/ 17.8 x 22.9 cm Vya 37


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 8


Untitled, c. 1990s Pigment on paper 7 x 9.5 in/ 17.8 x 24.1 cm Vya 43


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 10


Untitled Pigment on paper 6.25 x 9 in/ 15.9 x 22.9 cm Vya 41


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 12


Untitled, c. 1990s Pigment on illustration board 7.75 x 11 in/ 19.7 x 27.9 cm Vya 48


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 14


Untitled, c. 1990s Pigment on paper 6.25 x 8 in/ 15.9 x 20.3 cm Vya 38


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 16


Untitled Pigment on paper 8.75 x 12.5 in/ 22.2 x 31.8 cm Vya 50

17 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 18


Untitled, c. 1990s Pigment on paper 7.75 x 8 in/ 19.7 x 20.3 cm Vya 44


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 20


Untitled Pigment on illustration board 10 x 12.5 in/ 25.4 x 31.8 cm Vya 51


Acharya Vyakul < 22


Untitled Pigment on paper 8.25 x 12 in/ 21 x 30.5 cm Vya 49


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 24


Vya 47 (back)

25 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


(front)

Untitled Pigment on paper 8 x 10.5 in/ 20.3 x 26.7 cm Vya 47 ACHARYA VYAKUL > 26


Untitled Pigment on paper 10.5 x 8 in/ 26.7 x 20.3 cm Vya 46


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 28


Untitled Pigment on paper 9 x 5.75 in/ 22.9 x 14.6 cm Vya 39


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 30


Untitled, c. 1990s Pigment on paper 8.75 x 6.5 in/ 22.2 x 16.5 cm Vya 40


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 32


Untitled Pigment on paper 6.25 x 9.5 in/ 15.9 x 24.1 cm Vya 42


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 34


Untitled Pigment on paper 10.5 x 8 in/ 26.7 x 20.3 cm Vya 45


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 36


37 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


TANTRA ART BY

ANONYMOUS


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 7.2 x 5.39 inches / 18.3 x 13.7 cm Tant 3


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 40


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 6.02 x 5.04 inches 15.3 x 12.8 cm Tant 4


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 42


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 5.91 x 4.53 inches / 15 x 11.5 cm Tant 7


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 44


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 5.24 x 5.08 inches / 13.3 x 12.9 cm Tant 10


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 46


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 6.02 x 4.92 inches / 15.3 x 12.5 cm Tant 11


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 48


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 4.92 x 5.39 inches / 12.5 x 13.7 cm Tant 29


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 50


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 8.5 x 5.08 inches / 21.6 x 12.9 cm Tant 32


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 52


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 6.06 x 5.51 inches / 15.4 x 14 cm Tant 37


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 54


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) on vintage paper 6.06 x 5.51 inches / 15.4 x 14 cm Tant 37


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 56


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) with gold and silver leaf on vintage paper 5.31 x 4.09 inches / 13.5 x 10.4 cm Tant 38


58 > Acharya Vyakul

ACHARYA VYAKUL > 58


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) with gold leaf on vintage paper 5.35 x 4.96 inches / 13.6 x 12.6 cm Tant 39


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 60


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) with gold leaf on vintage paper 9.49 x 5.91 inches / 24.1 x 15 cm Tant 42


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 62


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) with silver and gold leaf on vintage paper 6.85 x 5.39 inches / 17.4 x 13.7 cm Tant 43


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 64


Untitled, ca. 1980-2014 Natural pigments (hand-ground colors: including minerals, mother of pearl, coral, tree resin, vegetable pastes) with gold and silver leaf on vintage paper 6.18 x 5.31 inches / 15.7 x 13.5 cm Tant 45


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 66


67 < ACHARYA VYAKUL


ACHARYA VYAKUL > 68


Copyright Š 2014 CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY Cavin-Morris Gallery 210 Eleventh Ave, Ste. 201 New York, NY 10001 t. 212 226 3768 www.cavinmorris.com Catalogue design: Sam Richardson Photography: Jurate Veceraite

69 < ACHARYA VYAKUL

Tantra drawings  

A collection of works by Acharya Vyakul and Anonymous at Cavin-Morris Gallery

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