In an age where contemporary art has changed in mediums and language, scope and intent, this book weighs in on the moodiness, methodology, efforts, mental blitzkriegs and inner workings of modern master of art Syed Haider Raza.
This book unravels the workings of Raza’s oeuvre and life at the age of 94 years. It is an attempt at appraising and transmitting the prevailing winds of intent and insight in the works of Raza through conversations with him about contemporary art. Living now in Delhi, Raza is going through a revolution in which he is bringing back his past in his works—he is ploughing the depths of past trends in his use of colour fields, in contextualizing genres in his journey of the ‘Bindu’ and explaining intuitive strategies that reflect his journeys. Looking at Raza’s art is an intimate act of prolonged engagement. The Bindu too has transformed through decades—it signifies a different tenor in a world torn by terrorism and death.
In tone and technique Raza is meticulous, historically informative, and has a sensitive yet straight-eyed approach that often takes the form of a discourse that invites cogent considerations; his reflections of spirituality and his favourite poets Rilke and Kabir build up into a flashback tinted in-your-face reflection that might involve the desire to dig deeper into his quotations.
Nevertheless, in his own specific way, Raza brings to his own works that essential recipe of criticism illustrated in essence with his own brand of expertise and taste. When he discusses his works done over the past two years, he travels through verbal and visual dynamics, and gives us a set of references and details that define his sensibility that brims to an inner core of intellectual and aesthetic insignias. In his twilight years, Syed Haider Raza is unveiled as a modern master who comes through more like a sage who swims in the fervour and ferment of thoughts shaped by 60 years in Paris as well as formative years in India.