A Ramachandran | Yayati: A portfolio of 12 limited edition Serigraphs

Published by The Serigraph Studio

1st October – 21st October | D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi

Yayati is a portfolio of serigraphs based on the 12 panels of the Yayati painting by A Ramachandran. The portfolio has 12 different serigraphs in an edition of 125 of size 30 inches by 44 inches; each based on one panel of the painting. 

A Ramachandran’s translates the susceptible beauty of the world into an inquiry of his own self and the world in his famous series of Yayati. The story of Yayati that Ramachandran refers to is found in the Mahabharata and what attracted the artist was the powerful king Yayati’s personality which is full of normal human failings and foibles. Ramachandran identifies him as the ordinary-man-as-hero and yet the works do not represent Yayati the individual but the recurring existential predicament faced by individuals as they come to terms with their vulnerability. 

Ramachandan made his first version of Yayati in 1983 and has worked consistently with this powerful figure since. Art historian R Sivakumar speaks about the disruptive eruption of the erotic condensed in the iconic Yayati series with their sensual Yakshi like female figures.  The series reached an apogee in the large mural that Ramachandran made in 1984 and it is this work that is reproduced through the serigraph series presented at the exhibition. The original mural took two years to complete and consists of 60 feet of painted narration apart from 13 sculptures.

The series are divided into 3 thematic segments – Usahas, Madhyanha and Sandhya, which mark the passage of time on a human life. They make visible a range of colors, which showcase the sensuality of bodies he has chosen to depict.  They consist of a lateral progression of images, each leading the narrative in an intriguing format. Further they consist of two scenes with a smaller narrative through which there is an attempt by the artist to depict the story without a strict beginning and end. The rhythm of the picture doesn’t strike as uniform, instead there is a space for closing in and opening up, and a movement between the surface and depth of the image. Each panel is compositionally self-contained even as it is a part of larger narrative.