The Bare Creations
In this suite notable works include, Untitled (Study for Young Ladies of Belsize Park), 1962, which was inspired by Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon; Untitled (Brigitte Bardot),1968, who was an international sex symbol in the 1950s and ’60s and Reclining Nude, 1958, which was illustrated in the consignment listing of Eugene I. Schuster from the London Arts Group, Detroit.
Each figure mirrors the postures of Picasso’s Demoiselles in a simplified style. There is a sensuality, however, exuded from these five figures, distorted but carefully assembled, which Souza distilled from his analysis of the voluptuous traditional sculptures of the Khajuraho temples in India. Projecting this brothel scene in his own context, Souza delivers a raw transfiguration of what he sees as contemporary icons.
Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), also set the context in which Souza sketched the study for Young Ladies of Belsize Park more than fifty years later in 1962. At that time, Souza was living in Hampstead, London, whose bustling atmosphere and nearby red light area of Belsize Park echoed Picasso’s description of Barcelona. The year 1962 marked thirteen years since Souza left India, and was already established both in the London and Paris, and was also exhibiting in Rome and Geneva. His art blossomed in Europe enabling him to explore subjects like the female figure in his work as a powerful and subversive aesthetic tool. Souza’s own words present the best thoughts to muse upon: “Renaissance painted men and women to look like angels. I paint for angels to show them what women really look like.”
‘F.N. Souza 52 Years on paper’ will run till March 7, 2021 at Grosvenor Gallery, London. These will be on show in the gallery’s online viewing room during the month of February. And, will be available for viewing at the gallery by appointment.