A brush with... Matthew Krishanu

In the first episode of this new series of A brush with… Ben Luke talks to Matthew Krishanu about his influences—including writers, composers, film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work.

Krishanu, who was born in 1980 in Bradford, UK, is one of Britain’s most distinctive painters. He draws on specific photographic images, including those of his family and his childhood in Bangladesh, yet his paintings are richly ambiguous, as he complicates his source material through emotion, memory, geopolitics, references to art history and literature, and the poetics of paint itself. He discusses the transformative experience of seeing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work, the ongoing influence of El Greco, his response to the work of Gwen John and the art in the caves of Ajanta in India, and his oeuvre’s intimate connection with literature, film and music. Plus, he gives insight into his studio life and answers our usual questions, including the ultimate: what is art for?

Matthew Krishanu, Anomie Publishing, 196pp, £30/€35/$40 (hb). Out now in the UK and Europe, published 20 April in the US. Exhibitions: Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, 13 July-19 August; Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles, 11 November-11 December (tbc).

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