Grosvenor Vadehra is to open an exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by the acclaimed Indian artist, TV Santhosh in which the artist responds to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai at the end of last year.
“Living with a Wound is a commentary on the recent attacks on Mumbai which wounded India,” says Santhosh. “The basis for the show originated in a testimony I read from a Holocaust survivor which is used in the sculpture and can be read on the LED screen. The prisoner recalls being wounded with a blunt tool, and every time it was about to be healed the guard would reopen it. It’s a terrifying account of evil versus human survival. Whilst doing these works the bombs happened in Mumbai and the images I use have been appropriated from all over and refer to this notion of being under attack and being wounded. It’s like as soon as India begins to recover from one attack another one happens. It happens all over: we keep inflicting wounds on society. When it heals, another wound occurs.”
In one image, security guards are piling out of a truck as the bombs are going off. In another, a guard dog is shown close to an exploded car. And in a third a woman appears to be searching for a lost child amongst the rubble, an identity photograph in hand. But the work is neither reportage nor sensationalist in its treatment. In this new body of work, which features 5 large oils and a sculpture, Santhosh continues to use media related images and photographs to explore themes of terrorism, injustice and war, drawing attention to the influence the media has on our perceptions of reality. Building on the success of his 2005 show with the gallery, this event follows the artist’s rise to fame during the last three years.
In his paintings, Santhosh reminds us of the “tinted glasses” through which the public sees topical events unfold by appropriating images from newspapers, magazines and news channels. His subjects - protestors, soldiers, injured civilians - are made to look like negatives in the tradition of Man Ray’s ‘Rayograms,’ with the viewer looking at the image almost as if through a thermographic camera or an x-ray machine. In this way, the artist creates a distance between the work itself and the actual event, disguising the parochial, and allowing local concerns to acquire a universal significance and thus wider response.
Having first trained as a sculptor, Santhosh, who considers himself a “painterly minded sculptor,” creates art which has the clarity and composition of a film still. Yet, there is a strong aesthetic element in his work. Vibrantly coloured in luminous yellows, greens and reds, his paintings grab our attention.
Santhosh has seen a meteoric rise to fame in the past three years carving out a unique space within the contemporary Indian art scene.
T.V. Santhosh was born in 1968, Kerala, India. He obtained his B.F.A. (Sculpture) from Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan and M.F.A. (Sculpture), M.S.U. Baroda. He currently lives and works in Mumbai, India.
Solo exhibitions: 2008, Countdown, Nature Morte Delhi, in collaboration with The Guild Art Gallery Mumbai; 2006, Scars of An Ancient Error, Singapore Art Fair presented by The Guild Art Gallery Mumbai; 2005, False Promises, Grosvenor Gallery London, in collaboration with The Guild Art Gallery Mumbai; 2004, Unresolved Stories, Nature Morte Delhi, in collaboration with The Guild Art Gallery Mumbai; 2003, One Hand Clapping/Siren, Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai presented by The Guild Art Gallery Mumbai; 1997, At Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, MSU, Baroda.