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Viswanadhan: Early Years

Madhu Jain (Author) Roobina Karode (Editor)
Synopsis Viswanadhan will be in town, after four years, but this time Delhi Art Gallery will be presenting the early decades of his artistic journey focused on the 60s and the 70s, when his life was punctuated in different geographies- Kerala, Madras and Paris. He says, “Paris is where I reached by default, but made it my home. Along with his paintings from the early decades, Delhi Art Gallery has archived his personal pictures as well as a documentary inspired by his works, directed by the renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan entitled ‘Colour and Form’. The comprehensive catalogue book has a biographical essay by Madhu Jain, who has known the artist for more than 35 years. She chronicles his life till the 70s, bringing in episodes from his childhood, early adolescence and initial years of uncertainty and struggle in the pursuit of an artistic vocation. Views of French critics who have been following his work have also been included in the book. Art critic Roobina Karode has provided an insightful reading into his works. In her introduction to the artist and his works, Karode writes, “Viswanadhan allows informality to take over the composition as his free hand geometry breaks the rigidity of both the structure and the surface in his paintings. His works from the 1960s and 70s, saturated with the reds and greens and then the crimson and mauves/violets simultaneously evoke memories that seem to be inextricably linked with his life lived in different geographies, distinct locations and amidst diverse cultures. While the destinations in his journey are mapped one after the other- Kerala, Madras and then Paris, Viswanadhan believes his destiny was not by design as much by accident. These overlaps now behave as memory-folds that resurface and reconfigure creative and physical energies to charge his artistic endeavours. That through its quirky path, life can sometimes suggest a direction is most thrilling to Viswanadhan. Thus in his painterly excursions, he restores (and collapses) the envelopes of his recollected impressions. This sense of adventure and discovery have become part of his repertoire of aesthetic strategies that are so essential in his working and reworking of the surface. For Viswanadhan, painting is that meandering space that frees the spirit of the nomad.
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About the author

Madhu Jain

Madhu Jain was educated at Connecticut College in the United States, following which she did her master’s in literature from Delhi University and studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. In the seventies she worked as a reporter for the Statesman, moving towards the end of the decade to Sunday magazine to write on politics, foreign affairs and culture. She was also the New Delhi correspondent with the French national daily, La Croix, for a decade before she joined India Today in 1986, where she remained until 2000. Since then she has written for several publications, including Outlook and the Hindu, on contemporary life, art and cinema. She has curated two art exhibitions – Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai on kitsch and the contemporary imagination and the other on the painter Viswanadhan. Madhu Jain lives in Delhi with her physicist husband Krishna Jain. They have two children.

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Bibliographic information

Title Viswanadhan: Early Years
Format Hardcover
Date published: 13.11.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Delhi Art Gallery
Language: English