A Retrospective of A. Ramachandran
Works from 1964 – 2016
6th October – 26th October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru
49, Manikyavelu Mansion, Palace Road, Bengaluru – 560052
India 30 September 2016: Vadehra Art Gallery in collaboration with NGMA, Bengaluru is pleased to invite you to a Retrospective of A. Ramachandran, (1964-2016), an exhibition of his paintings, sculptures and drawings from presented at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru. The exhibition opens on 5th October 2016 and will remain open till 26th October 2016.
With one of the most significant art practices in the country, A Ramachandran’s works spanning five decades have made its mark on the Indian art scene in many ways. After having studied Malayalam literature, Ramachandran moved to Shantiniketan and studied Fine Art under teachers like Benode Behari Mukherjee and Ramkinker Baij. Their art and teaching has been a source of inspiration on his own practice.
A keen interest and a doctoral research project had led him to work extensively with the language of Kerala Mural traditions following his art education. This, combined with the influences from literature, folklores, mythology, other painting traditions from India (like the Barahmasa and Ragamala paintings) have enabled the artist to create his own style. His vibrant colors, lyrical figures and depiction of themes which bind the aspects of fertility, memory, and nature have come to define his oeuvre as an artist.
It is also interesting how he has created a large body of work with a number of recurring visual cues. These include the figure of the woman (almost always in relation to the nature around her) as a symbol of fertility and life, the self portrait of the artist as a symbol of the artist-figure in relation to his own art, and the merging of natural forms to create fantastical viewpoints (sometimes offering themselves as a background to the larger image) in their manifestations. He has by using a myriad variety of techniques and visual elements created a complex and invigorating body of work.
While his affinity towards painting is well known, A Ramachandran has worked with many mediums throughout his journey as a sculptor, children books illustrator and printmaker. This exhibition brings forth a wide collection of his different works and will offer an expansive overview to his practice.
About the artist
A recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 2005, Ramachandran has several other prestigious awards to his credit. Some of them include the Raja Ravi Verma Puruskar in 2003 and the National Award for Painting in both 1973 and 1969. As a student at Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, Ramachandran studied art under masters like Ramkinkar Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee. The cultural and intellectual milieu of Santiniketan drew him closer to the art traditions of India and other eastern civilizations and it is here that he began his lifelong research on the Mural Painting tradition of temples in Kerala.
Ramachandran initially painted in an Expressionistic style that reflected the angst of urban life, particularly the suffering he saw when visiting the city of Kolkata, but by the 1980s his style had undergone a vital change. From urban reality he moved his focus towards tribal community life; especially the tribes from Rajasthan, whose lives and culture gripped his imagination. The vibrant ethos of Rajasthan and his research on the mural paintings of Kerala influenced his expression. The decorative elements and myths became an integral part of his works and his powerful line along with a greater understanding of colour and form created a dramatic ambience. His sculptures, which he made in the later years, were almost three dimensional translations of his paintings, containing multiple narratives and mythological interpretations.
The artist lives and works at New Delhi.
Ramachandran was born in Kerala in 1935. After completing his M.A. in Malayalam literature he went to Santiniketan to study art under Ramkinkar Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee. In 1964, Ramachandran moved to Delhi and joined the Art Institute of Jamia Millia Islamia University which he along with his colleagues developed into a full: edged Faculty of Art. With his distinctive monumental style and deeply humanistic concern, Ramachandran's stature as an artist grew with each of his solo shows. His participation in important exhibitions soon established him as one of the most original artists of his generation. A versatile artist, Ramachandran has tried his hand from monumental murals to miniatures, water colors, sculptures, graphic art, writing and illustrating children's picture books and even designing postage stamps. His children's books are highly acclaimed internationally, specially in Japan. Fiercely independent in his outlook and thought process, his works are distinctly original standing out from the main stream.
Ramachandran received the National Award in 1969 and 1972, the Noma Award for children's books (Japan) in 1978 and 1980, the Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman in 1991, the Gagan Abani Puraskar (Visva Bharati University) in 2001, and Ravi Varma Puraskaram (Kerala) in 2003. He was elected Fellow of National Lalit Kala Akademi in 2002, Professor Emeritus at Jamia Millia Islamia in 2002 and conferred with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2005. In 2013, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala felicitated him with Hony. D Litt. Degree.