This work? A design of pure rhythmic movement. The thrust  and sweep of forms,  spreading from  a spiral core,  and as are often perfectly organized in relation to one  another, One may perhaps trace suggestions  of natural movement--a dancer poised on heel or toe; the  sweep of  upraised  arms; the line  of  a scythe; the  curve  of a sail  filled by the  wind; the  spread of a bird’s  wing.  From such things and from spiral formation of certain growths, the vortex of movements.  These forms, then, seem to have been extracted, assembled or woven together into new vital units. 

Or let us say, over here is an attempt at beauty of sheer velocity expressed in terms of the human torso in the dance. Poise, grace and vitality personified and given their fullest expression in the techniques of some performative forms. So that this work could be compared to the somewhat similar compositions in all abstractly geometric art patterns or of dynamic designs. 

The premises of  the latest  in line  digital compulsions have, in one way, little  to contribute to an assessment of this artist’s work. We can only avoid bringing to his organically informed, mesmerizing invocations, irrelevant pre-conceptions of appreciation and judgment if we attempt to situate them in relation to such current artistic meanings to which he, by choice, does not align his spirit. 

While Goyal is no outsider to whatever is loosely deemed as ‘Modernism’, the imaginative qualities that he frequently seems to project in his work are drawn from the still living Nritya tradition and which is so largely reflected in the Indian dance forms. Forms, both art wise in their higher rung, as much as in the rites, rituals and ‘spiritistic’ communions of the folk. You just have to watch his key images to realize this aspect of his genre. Well, even if any other artists happen to share his unusual vision, his own acute, spare symmetry steeped manner takes his compound creations to an elevated plane. They become artistically compelling; his geometrical rhythms suggesting a movement which energizes and quickens our pulse.

So that this art is a sort of resurgence; its rapidity facing forwards and inwards; is of images of crisp equilibrium and suspense, where the natural and the supernatural are as if engaged in a tete-a-tete. The works owe only a little to the apparent or observed reality. The ovoid images exist purely to act as the vehicle of a visionary world that is the instrument of possession and emotive purgation. In other words, they exist as an interior analogue which seeks to orientate and drive the viewer’s contemporary consciousness towards the realization of awakened primal possibilities, and away from those of the day’s excessively bland, unreasonably rational, machine made urban mass humanity. In their import the drawn images are almost iconic and as such their presiding paradigm is the contemplation of the twilight zone’s protean, creatively restless minds. His predisposition towards envisaging the vibrating sea of our inner world is timely. He manifests it as charged with the traces of the fabulous, much as is realized, for instance, via a theatre of  meaning-pregnant, surprising possibilities, of strange specters and visitations Goyal has, in sum, been at pains  to personify experiences, to reveal the identity, the nuance, the composite being of humanity. He is interested in transforming the humdrum surface events and in taking us aback with his liner personages. Normality is well and good for practical purposes, but beyond that, surely, is our life of hidden apprehension and suspense, with all its attendant joys and dangers. And yet instructive wisdom issues out of it all. Thus, the artist’s, as if, metallic images serve by withdrawing the viewer from the world of objects, and that for his charged responses to them. He brings his viewer up against the unpredictable itself and nothing humdrum. This enactment, even when in modest space, plays the drama of our ebullient or erratic souls. Those by whom such a ‘theatre’ of lovely specters is peopled, have as their task the search and prefigurement of the mysterious sitting right in the middle of our sometimes now too cozy T.V. fitted living rooms. 

 When the images of much of contemporary art become too self-regarding to the point where their sole obligation is to claim that they are no more nor less than what they are, as even also in the case of pure abstraction, then they are shut off from the seamless matrix of values and meanings which give them life. So they diminish their claim upon us, which ultimately negates the very conditions for their own survival. They have to pretend that it is not the condition of the human communication to involve intelligence, perception, conviction, memory and so on. But an image is not some sort of quasi absolute, rather it carries a burden of timeless meaning and so must, of necessity, stand in sound relationship to the strange but yet core truths of our deeper lives. 

This artist’s, craft wise artistic mastery is undoubtedly characteristic in the realized perfection of his images. These indeed are a contribution to the art of our day. The contribution is an esthetic with a beating heart. 

The comparative youth of the artist, all the more contributes to the energized nature of his visual language. His exploration of a kinetic territory is courageous and it has certainly yielded authentic results, which even as they offer us the necessary jolt, extend the duration of the missing mind. He makes no standard, or merely good gallery art. Along with a few others of his craft companions, he carries the living ghost of life right into the broad daylight of the present rather dry, desiccated times, thus enriching our kitty of the creative imagination.

Keshav Malik


In An Enchanting World of Fluid Imagination

Dhanur Goyal is a Tagorean in his art. Remember, I do not say that this young artist re-creates the aesthetic impact that Tagore’s paintings, mainly the images that the great bard had created out of the technique of erasure, in his contemporary works. On the contrary I would say that Dhanur Goyal translates his aesthetic vision into paintings and drawings done mainly using pen and ink on paper in a Tagorean mode, which is fluid, spontaneous and has a full blown capacity to transform the concrete into rhythmic abstraction. Worldly experiences are transformed and transmitted through swirling lines, fluid contours and a very intimate and suggestive symbolism. Images seem to submerge in the whirlpool of enchanted lines or at times they look like emerging from an intense ocean thanks to the lyrical churning of the artist’s hand. Dhanur’s pictorial world is hypnotic in a way; the more you look into it, the more you are transported to a different world where you see the vision not only intended by the artist but also subconsciously revealed by your own collective memory.

It all started when Dhanur found out his ability to carve images out of two dimensional hardboards. For a long time he pursued his passion for carving, flowing with the rhythm of chiselling and filing the surface layer of the board and revealing the hidden images in it. Intentional and unintentional images evolved in due course of time and adding colour to the lines was a very pleasurable affair for the artist. It was a sort of perfecting the craft for him while he seriously enquired the possibilities of expanding the scope of his art. For a general art practitioner or even to an art lover, this act of carving could have been a primary step towards making wood cut prints but for Dhanur it was not a preparation for making woodcut prints. He did not follow the rules of printmaking. On the contrary he responded to an inner call that goaded him to use the surface itself as a medium than sub-grading it as a procedural act before making the final print. However, a deeper look into current series would tell us how those carving processes have helped him in coming up with an exquisite set of works under the common title, ‘Losing Sight of Perspective’.

The title speaks a lot here; on the one hand the title holds the essence of artistic execution which almost denies any chance of the classical perspective coming in and on the other hand it also emphasises the core of the thematic that Dhanur generally plays up in these works. To understand the thematic orientation regarding the losing sight of perspective, we should approach his works from a different angle; as an existential young man, Dhanur regards the contemporary world as a transitory space and phase where the human beings often tend to lose the ‘right’ perspective of/on things. In that sense, he deduces, everything that we see around is chimerical and illusory, which could change the shape and colour at will and at the projection of frenzied fancies over them. It could be critical as well as celebratory, depending on the mood of the artist and the onlooker.

This perspective shift is a cumulative experiential transference of the artist who has felt the changes in his surroundings. Art historically speaking, throughout the period of modernism in art, especially in the western world, the insistence of/on originality was based on the retrieval of primordial forms and expressions from their forgotten locations and also on the experimental application of the retrieved within the field of visual aesthetics. Primitive art helped the modern artist to find the lost visual cultures as well as his own evolutionary psychology. Entrenched in the innards of the culturally ‘unconditioned’ areas of his mind, were the images that could pour out profusely when all the guards of academicism were taken off. In Dhanur’s works too we see this profusion of images coming from a mind that is not restricted by any school of thoughts. It is in this context that I would recall Rabindranath Tagore’s works while I discuss Dhanur’s works.

Dhanur creates images that could be understood as pure forms which in a strict sense do not let any narrative to manifest. They are forms shaped out of the primordial rhythms of an artistic mind co-ordinated with a skilful hand. But at the same time these images within their fluidity itself solidify during the optical engagements of the viewer and let narrative to take place at their will. According to me, these narratives could be imaginative as well as representational. When it is an imaginative narrative (not only for the artist but also for the viewers), the momentary solidification of images helps the viewer to trace their contours and read them as per their relational possibilities. Hence, two interlocking forms could become a couple in love, two clouds like formations could be a beautiful dance and so on. In the representational narratives, in a very subtle way the artist places images against a mesmerizing background and I have discerned them as the representations of birds, faces and landscapes.

Taking the critical freedom to read the images as text and with this perennial itch to find out subtexts out of it, I could clearly say that the bird imagery as quick and elegant as their flitting in the firmament brings forth the idea of freedom that Dhanur always wants to highlight in his works and life. Faces, like the special interest that Tagore had taken in the hagiographic representations of the real and imaginary people, for this young artist too, are the locations where he could capture the essence of the enigma called life. In the present series too, Dhanur has taken keen interest in creating a series of faces, at times multiple faces within a single frame, with his rhythmic lines and fluid contours. Landscapes, though they do not represent particular places, become an integral part of Dhanur’s thinking and I take great pleasure in saying that these landscapes could stand the test of the time and prove this artist’s worth.


My work does not directly engage with any particular social or political issue, it takes on a more individual, introspective and autobiographical role in terms of a mental response or reaction towards the issues that we as humanity are trying to grapple with. My work engages with the constant changes that we collectively have to adjust and adhere to, my paintings move from chaos and hysteria, to depiction of hope and serenity, emotions every individual would feel in different circumstances and situations, to finally realization and comprehension of life’s processes, of understanding that everything is, has been and will be in a constant state of Flux (change). And even in destruction and chaos something new and stable is created. My work tries to explore the changing mental landscape of the human mind.