The works of Anirban Mitra are characteristically a gleeful amalgam of tribal art, television adverts and popular religious imagery, all rendered in a hyper-colour palette that borders on the psychedelic. Looking at contentious questions like globalization, post-colonialism, and commercialization, Mitra’s primary strategies for political commentary include irony and satire, which often find their outlet through the guise of pop-culture figures and religious icons.
Mitra attempts to reveal a play of detached signifiers, where the relationship between two images is left unclear; they argue for the existence of the “multiplicity of theoretical standpoints”, rather than grand all-encompassing theories. He astutely disrupts the genre’s conventions by combining collision, collage, and fragmentation. Mitra’s subjects are multi-layered, complex creatures, peeled back to reveal their bones and sinew in some places, and plastic, airbrushed skins in others. At times, this skin is replaced with pieces of a puzzle, attempting to comprehend the layers that construct an Indian identity.
Born in Kolkata in 1981, Mitra received his BFA and MFA from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan in 2006 and 2008 respectively. His work has since then been included in important exhibitions such as ‘Sub-Plots: Laughing in the Vernacular’ curated by Meena Vari at National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai; ‘Giant Elephant – Indian Contemporary Art Exhibition’ at Gong Art Space, Seoul; ‘Finding India’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei and ‘Bridge 2 Worlds’ at Menier Gallery, London. Mitra was invited to participate in the prestigious Glenfiddich Residency in Scotland in 2009, and was awarded the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2015.
He lives and works in Hubli, West Bengal.