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Vivan Sundaram is one of Indian’s most prolific artists and active political voices. His own artistic practice which moved from painting during his college years to engaging with everything from readymades, photographs, videos to sculptural installation has been crucial in the definition and development of installation as a practice in the country. A great amount of his energy has been directed into developing platforms for robust political dialogue and collaborative spaces for artists and intellectuals. His work with activism during his student years later manifested into his work with Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat), of which he is a founder member and trustee. His initiatives at the Kasauli Art Centre in 1976 saw some of the most important artists come together and set the pedagogical frameworks within which contemporary art in India can be understood.
Vivan Sundaram was born in 1943, Shimla. He studied painting at M.S. University, Baroda and The Slade School of Fine Art, London in the 1960s. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography and video. He has exhibited in the Biennials of Kochi (2012), Sydney (2008), Seville (2006), Taipei (2006), Sharjah (2005), Shanghai (2004), Havana (1997), Johannesburg (1997) and Kwangju (1997). His work been part of several important exhibitions in Tate Modern, London; International Centre for Photography, New York; Queens Museum; Mori Museum, Tokyo; Haus der Kunst, Munich ; Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, Vienna ; ZKM, Karlsruhe ; Chicago Cultural Centre, Chicago ; Haus der Kulteren Welt, Berlin among others. He has had solo shows in many cities of India as well as in New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal and Copenhagen.
His last solo exhibition, GAGAWAKA + Post-Mortem (2015), engaged the audience in compelling dialogue around material, fashion, ecology, body image and the idea of aging. In 2010, Amrita Sher-Gil: A Self-portrait in letters and writings, edited and annotated by Vivan Sundaram, was published by Tulika Books, Delhi. Vivan Sundaram lives in Delhi.