Sumedh Rajendran | Split Distance

09 - 24 October, 2015 | D-53 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024

Installation Shots

The exhibition Split Distance brings together Rajendran’s recent series of sculptures and drawings where he explores ideas of space and materiality. Working with materials like laminates, wood, iron lattice works (jalis) , and glass, he builds bold assemblages that bring into focus the endurance of these materials in our domestic lives, and marks the fragility of the domain of the private that is enclosed and demarcated by such material. For instance, metal grill windows puncture a solid iron surface shaped like a wing, acting as a metaphor between the inside and the outside, and the illusion of freedom and mobility that such a motif offers. The title Split Distance is in a way a reference to this physiological/mental/political distance that is created through physical means like boundaries, fences, architectures etc. The critical commentary on cities and displacements set in engaging juxtapositions and conversations is a tread he carries forward from his earlier works, and has remained integral to Rajendran’s artistic language for a while. Dilemmas of displacement, migration and hyper-urbanization are issues that he brings into focus yet again in this show.
The reference to architecture is unmistakable in Rajendran’s work, with even his drawings suggesting monumentality that defies its own scale, as he strips it off its formality and constructs ways to experience it through personal prisms of mobility, movement and status. Spatiality, and his ability to amplify the emptiness around his sculptures and bind it into the viewer’s experience, is distinctive to his practice and very significant when looking at it in today’s context of immersive viewing. His mastery over the material is again quite evident in his new set of works - executed with finesse, he manages to giving his materials an expressive versatility which stands in contrast to the brittle and sterile nature of the material itself. Described as ‘sculptural composites’ (Ranjit Hoskote, The Cautioner's Tales, 2008) for the permutation of industrial materials like iron, stainless steel, tiles, concrete and leather, each work of Rajendran’s demonstrate his labour over understanding material and their significance to the practice of sculpture-making.

About the Artist

Sumedh Rajendran’s work hints at the wider context of human experience while engaging with the possibilities of sculptural experimentation. His early series critically examined the predicament of migrations, displacements, angst, discrimination and arguments between different layers and structures of society. He juxtaposes the contradictions, contrary values and widespread social apathy prevalent with his skillful usage of materials like ceramic tiles and leather that have distinct connotations in both sacred and profane contexts. Rajendran also uses other industrial materials such as tin sheets, cans, rubber, cement concrete steel etc while giving them an aesthetic value. An uneasy interface of his composite imagery, surfaces and structures generates meanings with their references to the social and political situations, for example the accentuated contours of animals, mutilated bodies etc. The constant negotiations with circumstances and the situational contrasts keep recurring in his works and it makes him work with images that people can relate to. And yet he uses this as a starting point to investigate and deconstruct these circulated images to explore their hidden ideologies.  

He completed his BFA from College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, Kerala, 1994 and MFA, Delhi College Of Art, 1999. His solo exhibitions include Dual Liquid, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2010; Chemical Smuggle, Grosvenor Vadehra, London,2008; Final Call, Anant Art Centre, New Delhi ,2007; Street Fuel Blackout, Sakshi Gallery Mumbai, 2006 and Pseudo-Homelands, Rohtas Art Gallery, Lahore. Rajendran has widely exhibited his works in various international exhibitions. These include participation in Indian Highway at Astrup Fearnley Museum, Norway; On the Road to Next Milestone, part of Indian highway at HEART, Herning, Denmark; Zones of Contact, Propositions on the Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi.

He lives and works in New Delhi, India.