REVIEW: Fantastic/Chromatic by Sinta Tantra at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

Sinta Tantra On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No.4:2), 2015 Tempera on linen 127 x 180 cm
Sinta Tantra, On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry (No.4:2), 2015 Tempera on linen 127 x 180 cm, courtesy of Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery


Ambitious angles, bright colours and stretched linen achieve a surprising sense of balance in the fantastic/chromatic world of Sinta Tantra.

Once again Sinta Tantra has proved she is a master of space. Defying all visual concepts, Tantra’s colourful asymmetric installation at Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery in Wandsworth makes the gallery somehow feel larger. The walls appear to stretch out two opposing patterns bounce off each other, creating a three dimensional kaleidoscope of graphic patterning.

The white cube space has never been of interest to Tantra, who chooses challenging architectural environments to work in, from bookshops, to bridges, courtyards and corridors. Her work, which occupies a unique place between art, design and architecture, is about changing these spaces visually, but also changing how you feel when you’re inside them and how you value them.

Loyal to her signature bright colour palette, colours are taken from the petals of tropical flowers, the feathers of an exotic bird and the crest of a breaking ocean wave, yet the light natural linen on which the colours are painted softens their impact like a gritty sandy beach just after sunset. Tantra’s Balinese family history is reflected through the optimism in her work, which could only come from warmer climes, and while being based in London her heritage remains a part of her. She maintains her connection with Asia, recently travelling back to complete a residency in Bali and completing a major public art commission in South Korea’s Songdo.

Sinta Tantra On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry- Mural No.1, 2015 Paint on wall Dimensions variable Approx. 320 x 512 cm
Sinta Tantra On Being Blue, A Philosophical Enquiry- Mural No.1, 2015 Paint on wall Dimensions variable Approx. 320 x 512 cm

While colour choices take inspiration from nature, her interest in line and angles is very metropolitan. With the precision of an architect, yet the freedom of an artist, Tantra’s carefully constructed lines manage to meet at playful angles, creating expression, rather than reducing it. Sharp edges and angles cut across the canvas like the criss cross of shadows from sky scrapers cast down onto gridded avenues in New York, where the artist was born and grew up.

In the midst of the installation hang two types of work. Firstly, the repetitive pattern, and secondly the ‘architectural scribble’, a spaghetti junction of obtuse and acute angles that meet in an explosive island on the linen. She works by hand, yet the shapes are so measured they look as though they have been digitally produced, just another creative contradiction that Tantra gleefully constructs though her work.

Fantastic/Chromatic is on at Kristin Hjellegjerde in London until October 10 2015.

Sinta Tantra Orient: Occident, 2015 Vinyl on glass dimensions variable
Sinta Tantra Orient: Occident, 2015 Vinyl on glass dimensions variable

About harriet thorpe

Freelance writer working in London @harrietthorpe