I think this show was back in September at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, but I’m not sure. It was in 2012, this much I do know. When the memory is that fuzzy, it’s definitely time to put what I do have of his show up.

Abir Karmakar is best known for large oil paintings, usually showing rather suggestive and… umm.. odd stuff. Karmakar often shows up in his own paintings, frequently in strangely vulnerable and sexually-charged scenes. This show had the sense of intimacy and hints of erotica that are Karmakar’s trademarks. But the works were different. The paintings weren’t as large and there was an installation that looked like a curtained doorway. On it, Karmakar projected a silhouette of a figure that looked masculine. It would appear and disappear, as though someone was watching from the other side of the curtain. Some 30-odd paintings of interiors of rooms were lined along the walls of one of the gallery’s three display areas. They were all largely indistinguishable, characterless hotel rooms that despite their random generic-ness looked lived in and almost familiar. If I remember correctly, some of them were rooms from pornographic films, which is why at least some of them were called “Porno Paintings”.

(This is why I should clear backlogs. Now I can barely remember anything. Sheesh.)

There was also one video work that was reminiscent of the “video-painting” that Ranbir Kaleka does so beautifully. It’s not Karmakar’s first but he hasn’t shown video in years. While Kaleka layers painted images and video, Karmakar layered video images like transparencies placed upon one another. The image was of four (or maybe five people sleeping). Karmakar had videoed these people sleeping, alone. Then he created one video in which all these video images were superimposed upon one another to create a strange tangle of wraiths sleeping restlessly.

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