About the work
Like glimpses from half-remembered dreams in which some forms are captured more closely than others, Mountain Tent and Two Boys in a Tree (GAC 18836), paintings by Matthew Krishanu, present fleeting moments drawn from imagination and memory. The sensation of holding on to the bark of the tree, or reading in the shade of the tent, feel more vividly rendered than the less distinct, ambiguous landscapes in which they are set.
Frequently produced in series, Krishanu’s paintings often derive from childhood memories of the early 1980s when his family relocated from Birmingham to Dhaka. Although the boys featured in his works partly represent himself and his brother, these are not portraits - as the artist commented in 2018:
'I think of all the characters in my paintings as being more like avatars: while the two boys are based on me and my brother, I also think of them as being separate from us - they have their own life.'
The emotional strength of Krishanu’s work derives from the imagery drawn from the artist’s imagination and memories, especially the landscapes of Bangladesh where he spent his childhood. Krishanu’s British father and Indian mother completed their theological training in Birmingham, then relocated their family to Dhaka in the early 1980s, working for the Church of Bangladesh.
About the artist
Born in Bradford, Matthew Krishanu lived in Bangladesh from early childhood before his family moved back to England when he was 12. He graduated from Exeter University with a BA in Fine Art and English Literature in 2001; and from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London in 2009 with an MA in Fine Art. His work explores constructed narratives involving themes of memory, art history and autobiography. Krishanu has exhibited his work widely in the UK and internationally. Solo exhibitions include 'Picture Plane', Niru Ratnam Gallery, London (2020); 'A Murder of Crows', Ikon Gallery Birmingham (2019); and 'The Sun Never Sets', Huddersfield Art Gallery and Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham (2019-2018). Group exhibitions featuring his work include 'Mixing It Up: Painting Today', Hayward Gallery, London (2021); 'New Figurations: Matthew Krishanu and Sosa Joseph', Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India (2019); and 'Contemporary Masters from Britain', Yantai Art Museum; Artall Gallery & Jiangsu Art Gallery, Nanjing; Tianjin Academy of Fine Art, China (2017). His work featured in the John Moores Painting Prize exhibitions of 2020 and 2018 at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. In the UK, Krishanu’s work is represented in public collections including the Arts Council Collection, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and Huddersfield Art Gallery; and international collections including Kiran Nadar Art Museum, Delhi, India, Tianjin Academy of Art, China, and Komechak Art Gallery, Chicago. Krishanu is a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths and Chelsea College of Arts.
Matthew Krishanu (1980 - )
- Mountain Tent
- oil on canvas
- height: 60.2 cm; width: 50.0 cm; depth: 2.5 cm
- Purchased from the artist, with funds raised from print sales from the Robson Orr TenTen Award, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission, 2019
- The artist; from whom purchased by Outset on behalf of UK Government Art Collection, December 2019
- GAC number