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Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan Hardcover – October 31, 2011
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Rendered by hand on found pieces of paper and used primarily for meditation, the works depict deities as geometric, vividly hued shapes and mark a clear departure from Tantric art’s better-known figurative styles. They also resonate uncannily with lineages of twentieth-century art―from the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism to Minimalism―as well as with much painting today. Rarely have the ancient and the modern come together so fluidly.
In Tantra Song, Jamme assembles some of the most pulsating works he’s acquired, while unpacking his experiential knowledge of Tantra’s cosmology. (Lauren O'Neil-Butler The Paris Review)
The paintings Jamme found, bought and is now showing to the world are full of color and power, contemplative but not always serene, and above all enigmatic - at least to those, Western and Indian alike, who are not initiaties of Tantra.
Circles, squares, traingles and ovals (the latter a reference to the "Shiva linga," the ancient Indian phallic emblem) interact and sometimes even seem to leap from the paper, animated by contrasts of complimentary colors and by the arrows, dots and spirals that swirl about inside them. (John Dorfman Art & Antiques)
The stunning images abstract key symbols of Tantric metaphysics and cosmogony, from the bindu, a dot symbolizing the undifferentiated absolute, to the negative space of the shunya, the absolute void of the supreme deity. But what makes these works extraordinary is the poetic contrast between the seeming simplicity of their minimalist geometric forms and the complex, textured humanity of their handmade paper, water stains, and imperfect text ― two opposing currents, which ebb and flow in a delicate osmotic balance that could never be achieved digitally, on a sterile screen.
Aesthetically breathtaking and framed in a powerful story about curiosity, creative restlessness, and obsession, Tantra Song is a singular convergence of East and West, bound to mesmerize. (Maria Popova Brain Pickings)
The abstract paintings shown here are not by Kazimir Malevich or Paul Klee but by Hindu tantra devotees… the anonymous heirs to a pictorial tradition that dates to the 1600s. Painted on salvaged paper and rarely measuring more than a foot high, the images possess a strange kinship with 20th-century art. And their agelessness cast a spell over Franck André Jamme, a French poet who nearly got himself killed tracking down these works across the deserts of Rajasthan. (Stephen Heyman The New York Times: T Magazine)
It is an evocation of the image as a threshold leading to new dimensions of meaning, a revelatory understanding that some images are more than mere data; they are instead vital seeds, living carriers of possibility.
Born of 25 years worth of research, travel, and involvement, this book offers a selection of rare, abstract Hindu tantric paintings culled from Jamme’s personal collection. It’s an exceptional example of beautiful obsession by a self-proclaimed passionate amateur (Jamme, one of France’s leading contemporary poets and the author of more than a dozen books, clearly states in the text that he is not an expert on these mysterious paintings). (Craig Olson The Brooklyn Rail)
About the Author
Born in 1961, Lawrence Rinder began his curatorial career in 1988 as the "MATRIX" Curator at the University Art Museum, Berkeley, California. He moved to New York in 2000 to become The Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, responsible for the Contemporary Portfolio of the museum, including exhibitions and acquisitions of works made since 1985. He was Chief Curator of the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Currently, Rinder is Dean of Graduate Studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Top Customer Reviews
I recently saw the exhibit of these paintings at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and purchased this catalog, which I took back into the exhibit to compare the paintings to the reproductions. I did this because it is the interplay of the paintings with the remnants left in the old paper that provided the depth, and it seemed unlikely that a reproduction would accurately convey this. I was surprised, and happy, to be wrong. The reproductions are as vivid and detailed as the originals, and almost as large. It is unfortunate that some of the larger works are reproduced over two pages, crimped in the center by the binding. In an ideal world these would be fold-outs, because the way they are printed ruined those double page spreads for me. But there are few of those.
There are poems and writings about the works and about tantric meditations. But I thought those were virtually worthless. It is the paintings themselves that make the book, and besides the informative introduction I think the book would improve, and receive a final star, by jettisoning the silly verbiage.
Opens many doors of perception when these are used as meditation tools as Jamme suggests.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The connections and similarities to contemporary painting are amazing. Beautiful and contemplative images that can be 'read' on many levels.Published on June 26, 2014 by Graham Blondel
beautiful book. the pictures are very clear. Ive got a few books on the subject and this is the bestPublished on March 16, 2014 by Lynda Braun
I knew nothing about tantric painting, I followed your recomendation, and also because of the images, very delicate and beautiful paintings. Thank you.Published on May 1, 2013 by Paulo Amaral
What an exquisite book...even the paper feels beautiful. A little peek into a world most of us would never see. Read morePublished on April 6, 2013 by Matthew D Lucas
The images in this catalogue are very well documented, as is the relationship the collector had with them. Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by Lauren Watrous