Monday, May 6, 2013

An artist who explores the themes of terrorism and war

One of India's most successful young artists, TV Santhosh has witnessed a meteoric rise to fame in the last couple of years carving out a niche within the contemporary Indian art scene.

His sculptures and paintings draw a good response at auctions in India and internationally. His sociopolitical or philosophical leanings were shaped in the early 1980s owing to an activist group, Pratikarana Sangam, in Trichur, Kerala.

After the terror attacks on Mumbai that shook not only India but the entire wold, ‘the context of my works has become even more relevant’, TV Santhosh has stated. He adds: “My recent work is only a continuation of what I have been doing; it is nothing drastically different.” Essentially, he peeps into the perplexing phenomenon, finding out how the media reshapes public opinion. According to him, our understanding of current global and political issues is invariably influenced by the media.

Reviewing the artist’s recent works and their intent, Colin Gleadell of London Telegraph, mentions in an essay: “His paintings made in response to last November's terrorist attacks draw on details from the newspaper and TV images that shocked the world. The artist painted the images in such a way that they would seem like photographic negatives imbued with garish neon green, red and yellow colors.”

TV Santhosh tries to project the truth, hidden somewhere in the barrage of images in media to present alternative narratives. He elaborates: “It’s not easy to distinguish between factual representation and distortion of facts. What is projected may not be the whole truth. And it can be subjective. As an artist, I strive to formulate a language capable of capturing notions of reality.” He describes his artistic approach as philosophical one than political.

Having first trained as a sculptor, TV Santhosh terms himself a ‘painterly minded sculptor’. He creates art that has the clarity and composition of a film still. There is a strong aesthetic element in them. Vibrantly colored in luminous yellows, purples and greens, his paintings invariably grab our attention. He is a slow worker, pondering and laboring over a work of art for months. The slick, single-layered and watercolored effect his subjects demand is time consuming.

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