• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1975

    South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

    20 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 34

    SYED HAIDER RAZA (B. 1922)

    Kundalini

    Price Realised  

    SYED HAIDER RAZA (B. 1922)
    Kundalini
    signed and dated 'RAZA 2000' (lower left); signed, dated, titled and inscribed 'RAZA 2000 100 x 100 cms "Kundalini" Acrylic on canvas' (on the reverse); titled again in Hindi (on the reverse)
    acrylic on canvas
    39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (100 x 100 cm.)
    Painted in 2000


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    In Kundalini the striking white center contrasts heavily with the black inner circle. In the late 1970's, Raza's style of painting changed dramatically. He began to use the elemental form of the circle as a starting point in his work. Raza's style bears some relation to the Abstract Expressionist work of Frank Stella and Jasper Johns. However Raza's work addresses a spiritual context. The Kundalini is the awakening of dormant energy and its principle is manifested in this painting as a pair of coiled snakes. It refers to the energy flowing in whirls at the base of the spine, whereby practicing asceticism, it ascends the body, eventually leading to enlightenment.