Tuesday 10 January 2017

Like how a grand structure like the V. T. Station that once represented colonial power changed its meaning and became almost like the heart of the city and represented the aspirations of the people.

History Lab

 “It is about a process of understanding the history from the point of view of progress,
T.V. Santhosh is an artist based in Mumbai

 defined by industrial and technological advancement, and how these high points of advancement in turn become yardstick of measuring the extent of damage caused by man against its own kind and nature. History of war could be read as a parallel phenomenon, as how the weapons technology developed and how experiments were not just limited to confinement of laboratories alone, but multiple narratives of History selectively reorganised to support some propaganda in the name of truth.  And in that process, the history itself becomes a laboratory of conflict. Imageries emblematic of ideologies, power centres and time change their meaning in the course of changing times. Like how a grand structure like the V. T. Station that once represented colonial power changed its meaning and became almost like the heart of the city and represented the aspirations of the people.

installation view at KMB (detail)          
wood, metal and LED timers
174” x 69” x 27”
Image copyright T. V. Santhosh

 Like this how these smoke and fire spitting chimneys that were once the symbol of progress have changed their meaning if seen through new ecological perspective. In a way this work is an attempt of understanding last two centuries, reading through the high points of changes and events that eventually shaped our time.

The Protagonist and Folklores of justice        
installation view at KMB
watercolour on paper
60” x 40” (each)
Image copyright T. V. Santhosh

The Protagonist and Folklores of justice 

These works are part of my new watercolour series, extensions of my ongoing preoccupation with understanding history in relation to a process of enquiry into war and terror that shapes our perceptions of reality and ethics. Also, as a result of rediscovering my old days, when a few decades back  I used to make posters and be actively part of several street theatre productions for an organization involved in activities of political resistance.  It was one of the culturally intense phases in Kerala, in the mid 80's,  I started disbelieving in 'pure aesthetical/creative practices' and tried to meddle with the much discussed idea of art as a possible tool for social reconstructions. Now, I try to revisit those old days in order to understand it from a much larger perspective of endless ideological debate on the conflict between personal, social and political interrelationships. I started this series incorporating linguistic systems of graffiti and political posters addressing a set of questions. I call it 'eternal questions', which one can keep asking at any point of time in  history, yet, it would still be relevant. A question like "who is the real enemy?” is both philosophical and ethical in nature. In the process, works went through drastic change. Many apparent elements became obscure and the obscure became direct. Elements of posters are replaced by the elements of performance and studio photography. And images of herbal garden became the backdrop by problematizing the aspects of political posters. Like in a one-act play, the protagonist interacts with objects that determine the progress of its narrative, I meddle with the images to both subvert and uncover the intent of the questions juxtaposed with. The text that used to be an integral part of the works vanished and is replaced with lucid metaphors that can be understood by men in the street.
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Both the sculpture and the paintings talk about history of war and violence. While the sculpture is more about history, the paintings are more about our present. While the painting incorporate elements of political posters, graffiti and performances, or medicinal plants as backdrop as a reminder of solutions provided by nature to each issues created by man, sculpture has taken elements directly from history in a process to trace the errors committed by men against humanity.” – T. V. Santhosh
Born in Kerala, T.V. Santhosh received his Graduate Degree in painting from Santiniketan and Masters  in Sculpture from M. S. University,Baroda. Santhosh’s works have been shown widely in Museums and Biennales. Some of the museum shows include: Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2016 curated by Sudarshan Shetty; 56th Venice Biennale 2015  National Pavillion of Iran, The Great Game, Curated by Marco Meneguzzo and Mazdak Faiznia: Making History, Colombo Art Biennale, 2014; Heritage Transport Museum, curated by Priya Pall, New Delhi, 2013; WAR ZONE – Indian Contemporary Art, Artemons Contemporary,  Das Kunstmuseum, Austria, 2012; Critical Mass: Contemporary Art from India, curated by Tami Katz-Freiman and  Rotem Ruff, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, 2012; 11th Havanna Biennial, 2012;  INDIA- LADO A LADO, curated by Tereza de Arruda, SESC  Belenzinho Sao Paulo, Brazil 2012;  India, curated by Pieter Tjabbes and Tereza de Arruda, Centro Cultural Banco do  Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2011; Rewriting Worlds, 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art,  curated by Peter Weibel, 2011;  In Transition New Art from India, Surrey Museum of Art, Canada, 2011; Collectors Stage: Asian Contemporary Art from Private Collections, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2011;  Crossroads: India Escalate, Prague Biennale 5, 2011;  Empire Strikes Back, The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2010;  The Silk Road, New Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern Art from The Saatchi Gallery at Tri Postal, Lille, France, 2010; Vancouver Biennale curated by Barry Mowatt, 2010;  Dark Materials, curated by David Thorp, G S K Contemporary show, at Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2009; India Xianzai, MOCA, Shanghai, China, 2009;  Passage to India, Part II: New Indian Art from the Frank Cohen Collection, at Initial Access, Wolverhampton, UK, 2009;  Aftershock, Conflict, Violence and Resolution in Contemporary Art,  Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA Norwich, 2007;  Continuity and Transformation, Museum show promoted by Provincia di Milano, Italy, 2007.
His select solo shows include Common Wall, Grosvenor Vadehra, London 2014, The Land, Nature Morte, Berlin 2011, Burning Flags, Aicon Gallery, London 2010, Blood and Spit, Jackshainman Gallery 2009, Living with a Wound, Grosvenor Vadehra, London 2009, A Room to Pray at Avanthay Contemporary, Zurich 2008, Countdown, Nature Morte, Delhi 2008 in collaboration with The Guild, Mumbai; Countdown, The Guild, Mumbai 2008.

Copyright © The Guild, 2016
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Thanks for comment JK