European Artistic Movements Have Strongly Influenced Me: Sen Shombit

On the back of his recent exhibition in Bangalore, Shombit spoke to EE about Gesturism Art, the influence of European artistic movements on his work and more.


In the last 10 years Sen Shombit has exposed his Gesturism Art in different countries such as Japan, Italy, Austria, France, Canada and India. He has been selected to showcase his works in numerous famous French Salons (created by King Louis XIV inside the Carre de Louvre) in Paris such as Societie Nationale des Beaux Arts, Salon d’Automne and Salon des Art Capital.

On the back of his recent exhibition in Bangalore, Shombit spoke to EE about Gesturism Art, the influence of European artistic movements on his work and more:


Tell us about your recent exhibition which was held in January in Bangalore?

After presenting my work to art lovers who have come to the different French salons that have selected my work, and to different galleries in France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Austria and India, I am very happy that Ms Renu George has graciously invited me to exhibit in her Gallery Time and Space. This will be my first exhibition in Bangalore.  

My paintings for this exhibition bring forth the emotional connect I find that woman have with different creatures living in wild abandon in our eco-system. It’s a link that’s totally natural, a romantic liaison that’s secretive, emulative and stews with irreverent dynamism.

Women have the power and ability to radically change their emotion within an instant from affectionately breast feeding a child to joining her companion for a sexual adventure of pure passion. Animals living around us, whether tamed or untamed, have a nonchalant attitude of not caring what others think, they just follow their instinct.  

Through my Gesturism Art strokes, I pay homage to our magnificent women who in league with the earth’s creatures, struggle quite naturally to nurture us and our environment for a beautiful tomorrow. I believe women are in love with nature’s creatures, they identify with the amorous feelings of different beings. I really admire the spirited initiative and resourcefulness women have to willingly want to take possession of our eco-system, that biological community of interacting organisms and the physical environment we live in.

My inner desire is for unlimited valuation growth of the collector’s collection when collectors buy my paintings.

What was the inspiration behind your Gesturism art movement?

European artistic movements have strongly influenced me right from when I arrived in France in 1973. I have since imbibed the creative discipline of art in France. Having immersed myself totally into Western European, particularly French, art movements which were at the root of modern art, I have understood that it is important for a painter to have his own ideological anchor to visually his new artistic vision. 

Also from western schools of art, particularly western modern art that started from 1870, I’ve learnt about individual artists who have created different types of artistic narratives with a conceptual form. So when I make gestures on the canvas with colours and brushes, charcoal or water colour that are seemingly abstract, there are hidden figuratives that get generated and I don’t know where the painting will finish. This is the way I found meaning to develop an ideology in a unique, unpublished, visual style. This is a self established boundary of work where viewers and collectors should find a consistent identity in my art, year after year, in different themes, and with no repetition, So I worked to find an imaginative pictorial narrative of my own artistic execution to transcend Post Modern Art. I coined this as Gesturism Art which is abstract with hidden figuratives. It has two styles of work, paintings and désordre harmony. 

What inspired you to become an artist?

Local handicrafts and clay-pot makers in the refugee camp that was my childhood home outside Kolkata have had a huge influence on me. I lived there in poverty, but from the age of 5 I started to express myself through visual art. Art started before civilization when people would give vent to their ideas through an artistic execution. In the same way, I too have always been passionate to express myself in an artistic form. This passion gives me tremendous power to visualize my own ideology so that an amateur or collector of art can perceive the artwork without any aided support. The self expression of art always mesmerizes me. A white surface bulldozes me to displace its whiteness with colour, lines, strokes and all kinds of gestures. Art is the freedom of expression that is perceivable to others. This art language is what inspires me. 

Before leaving for France at age 19, the imposing buildings and remnant cultures of Victorian and French Bengal in Kolkata and Chandannagar have also contributed in my understanding of global fine art. Today the seemingly unorganized markets and colourful social activities in India are a big inspiration for me.

Tell us about the influence of French culture on your work?  

France taught me to understand the subliminal aspect of an artistic conceptual form. This invention of the conceptual form is a fantastic dimension of art I grew up with in France. From 1994, after a few big exhibitions in Paris, I started to crystallize Gesturism Art. Let me acknowledge how one of my professors at Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts implanted the seed of gesture in me. In my early years at Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, the world’s oldest and most renowned school of art which is in Paris, one of my professors used to continuously encourage me to focus on my bold gestures in drawing, sketching and painting. He would regularly say, “Don’t ever get rid of your gallant, dynamic and impromptu gestures!” He used to say he found the gestural strokes in my art to be unique. This advice I’ve always kept in mind as my deliberate artistic move. So capturing movements became one of my fundamental dimensions of art. Since 1994 I started experimentation and created Gesturism Art. 

French intellectual and artistic jugglery of concepts and intangibles is incomparable. In the post Modern Art era since 1870, France has come up with the frame of varied artistic schools of thought which developed and supported lots of painters. Monet first created a style that was later known as Impressionism. This became a terrific movement with many artists like Renoir, Cezanne, and Degas creating their own vision. Among other artistic schools of thought are Pointilism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism. In the same way I felt I could create the new vision which I called Gesturism art which is quite western civilization oriented. 

I have co-opted the limitless gestures of all living beings from birth to death. Of course I cannot ignore that human gestures are not at all homogeneous, but very, very different especially in India due to the society being extremely heterogeneous. However, the creation of Gesturism Art has clearly come from my French influence and French inspiration.

Tell us about Scrambled Gesturism Installation Paintings?

The origin of my idea of "désordre" is influenced by India's heterogeneous population of extreme diversity that results in unpredictable physical disorder in every aspect of life. It is extremely anti-Cartesian, and diametrically opposite to structured logic. Désordre in France translates directly to a bordel in colloquial language. But I found désordre in French is more interesting than disorder in English. Désordre talks about physical disorder only whereas the word disorder in English can be used for both mental and physical conditions. 

Every square meter in India has désordre due to differences in living style, religion, dress, language, eating habits. Arrival and merging of migrants since ancient times from Greece, Africa, Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Europe and more recently 200 years of British colonization in the Indian subcontinent has created this situation over time. India has never disturbed anyone from following their own beliefs. That’s why désordre is part of Indian culture where you will always find the value of inclusiveness and a smile. From my French eye I saw désordre to have incredible hidden imagination behind it. So why not make a painting style with multiple pieces of canvas that can move to ensure that my art is not static. 

So I invited viewers to physically experience my art. Viewers can interact with my artwork to recompose it or create thousands to millions of versions because each canvas can move 360 degrees. If they are curious, they can always find my original painting which has some figurative element. Collectors can even regularly change the placement of each canvas to see the same painting in different perspectives.

What are the challenges you have faced in your field of work?  

When I paint I always develop an unpublished theme within the boundary of my Gesturism Art which is “abstract with hidden figuratives.” Every single piece of art of mine is individual in nature. You will not get any repetition in my art. I am very careful about the consistency of my style. Collectors buy a piece of art for the unpublished uniqueness of that art in their collection. The more unique it is, the monetized value of the painting acquisition goes up in favour of the collector’s collection. 

After the onset of civilization, documentation and preservation of society was done through the written mode rather than through oral practice. So will it not be logical to verbalize my art work in a creative concept with a vision as the nucleus of my art?  This was the big challenge that pushed be to invent a style of my own, Being an artist painter, I know I will always have a large number of artworks. Of course I have to have consistency in my art work where people can recognize my art without seeing my signature. So there is a concept that’s running like a current through my paintings which instantly communicates that the artwork is mine. This facilitates viewers, collectors, art critics, writers and poets to get immersed in the subject of art beyond the canvas.

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