A. Ramachandran: An Exhibition of works form his 50 years of art practice by R. Siva Kumar

NGMA Mumbai and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi come together to present the works of eminent Indian artist Shri A. Ramachandran at The National Gallery of Modern Art, in Mumbai from April 26, 2019 to June 12, 2019

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NGMA Mumbai and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi come together to present the works of eminent Indian artist Shri A. Ramachandran at The National Gallery of Modern Art, in Mumbai from April 26, 2019 to June 12, 2019. The exhibition is conceptualised by R. Siva Kumar and presents over 260 works of the artist done between 1968 and 2019 and includes mural-size paintings,sculptural installations and single piece works, etchings, watercolors, drawings and illustrated books.

Ramachandran's career can be divided into two broad periods, each with its distinctive subject matter and style. His works from the first period, covering 20 years from the early 60sto the early 80s, are a passionate response to the social violence he witnessed in post-partition India and across the world post-world war II.

The works from this period are generally large,mural sized, socially engaging,seething with righteous indignation. This phase of his work is represented in this exhibition by a set of etchings based on Biblical subject matter but actually commenting on the plight of the marginalized in urban Delhi.

Yayati, a 60 feet three part mural on canvas completed in 1986 marks the beginning of the second period. If works of the first period were brooding, pessimistic and motivated by anger and hopelessness, works of the second period are colorful, exuberant and celebrate life and nature. This change of vision and style were not brought about by a sense of social resolution but by the realization that the power of art to bring about real changes in the world is indeed limited, and urban modern artists, including himself, have turned a blind eye to everything that brought beauty and meaning to life in pre-modern societies.

Since the 80s Ramachandran has built his work around village life and nature around Udaipur. On first view, these works might appear exotic and romantic to the urban viewer who have all but forgotten about non-urban communities and life lived in communion with nature. But on closer inspection it becomes amply evident that Ramachandran looks at his subjects not through the eyes of a cultural tourist but as someone who has re-discovered life lived according to alternate values where violence and strife has little place.

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