The Bough Breaks - Camden Art Centre

This major exhibition will present a body of new work from Krishanu, including paintings and works on paper that form the expansive world of his artistic practice.

Matthew Krishanu (b.1980, Bradford, UK) paints atmospheric, pared-back compositions including scenes from the artist’s life, particularly his childhood years in Bangladesh growing up with his brother, and their parents who were Christian missionaries. In the paintings, seemingly familiar narratives are alluded to but destabilised. The viewer’s own projections are called upon to fulfil the interpretive loop, raising questions about childhood, religion, race, power, and the legacies of empire.

These personal stories are told through layers of memory, imagination, and conversations with the history of painting. Drawing on multiple influences including El Greco, Gwen John, Noah Davis, and the Ajanta cave paintings, Krishanu’s work often explores how representations in the canon of Western art have shaped our collective unconscious around questions of race and gender.

Krishanu’s practice is at once an exploration of subject and medium, where by he deeply personal subject matter is a means of approaching his primary, painterly concerns. The compositions provide multiple entry points—at times holding the viewer at bay and, at others, inviting them in. Meaning is implied rather than dictated, barring the path to reductive biographical readings.

The Artist Images

The Artist

Matthew Krishanu (b.1980) was born in Bradford and is based in London. He completed an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include On a Limb, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2023); Playground, Niru Ratnam, London (2022); Undercurrents, LGDR, New York (2022); Arrow and Pulpit, Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2021); House of Crows, Matt’s Gallery, London (2019); A Murder of Crows, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2019); The Sun Never Sets, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham (2019) and Huddersfield Art Gallery (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Beyond the Page; Milton Keynes Gallery (2023) and The Box, Plymouth (2024); Life is More Important than Art, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2023); Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka (2023); The Kingfisher’s Wing, GRIMM, New York (2022); Prophecy, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre (2022); Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (2021); Coventry Biennial, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum and Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (2021); Everyday Heroes, Hayward Gallery/Southbank Centre (2020); A Rich Tapestry, Ikon, Lahore Biennale (2020); and Childhood Now, Compton Verney (2019).