One of the most collected Indian artists, 1935-born A. Ramachandran is known for two distinct styles of work during his over five decades of artistic career, one characterised by politics and anger, and the second by colour, life and nature. His styles and work come together in an upcoming retrospective.
Slated to open at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here on Friday, the extensive exhibition "A. Ramachandran: 50 Years of Art Practice" will present over 260 works of the Kerala-born artist done between 1968 and 2019.
Supported by the Vadehra Art Gallery and conceptualised by R. Siva Kumar, it will feature mural-size paintings, sculptural installations and single piece works, etchings, watercolours, drawings and illustrated books, the NGMA said.
"When I started, my early works were highly political. My anger was pouring into my works; It was a natural tendency," the 84-year-old had earlier told IANS in an interview.
His works from the first period, covering 20 years from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, are a passionate response to the social violence he witnessed in post-partition India and across the world after World War II.
"Now, from an angry young man, I went to (being) a happy old man. I started questioning the political paintings," Ramachandran, who studied at Santiniketan from 1957 to 1961, said.
He also feels that the lack of a message itself is a quality of a great work of art and a painting is ultimately a beautiful object.
Speaking his mind on political paintings and referring to his "terrible reaction" after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the former educator at Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia University had also said that some political "events are so grotesque, (but) we make 'rasgullas' out of them".
Since the 1980s, the veteran artist has built his work around village life and nature around Udaipur.
"On first view, these works might appear exotic and romantic to the urban viewer who has all but forgotten about non-urban communities and life lived in communion with nature.
"But on closer inspection it becomes amply evident that Ramachandran looks at his subjects not through the eyes of a cultural tourist, but as someone who has re-discovered life lived according to alternate values where violence and strife has little place," NGMA said.
The retrospective exhibition of the multiple-award winning artist will run till June 12.
Indo-Asian News Service
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