V Santhosh is a rising star of the contemporary Indian art scene. This is
his third solo show and his first in London.
tackles the relentless presence of violence and injustice in history.
the hard-hitting subjects of war and terrorism seeking to question the
influence of politics and media on these global issues, most notably their
representation and manipulation of the events.
looks at the world through a tinted spectacles of ‘news reports’, that
unroll the stories of massacre of innocents, spectacular highlights of
explosions, flux of faces of people who make headlines, spitting the words
of hate and arrogance and the kinds of propaganda campaigns that just
struggle to hide nothing but truth. It is a strange world exposed and
manipulated. A world where one does not know who the real enemy is, yet
‘terror’ is the common word for both those who resist and those who
attack. It is one’s extended vision that construct and reshapes the
perceptions of the ‘present’. And it is riddled with a number of eternal
questions and a couple of ready-made yet elusive solutions, which I am
interested with. It is the touch and smell of the ‘present’ I am dealing
with in my works, in a process to find a solution, where the praxis of
language becomes one with the perceptions of reality.”
appropriates references from such sources as magazines, newspapers and
television. The influence of print media is reflected in the photographic
quality of his works, both in their clarity and composition. The viewer is
placed at the center of the action, whether pressed up against the nose of
the sniffer dog in Whose War is It?
or standing directly over the unexploded bombs in Waste Land of a History Lesson.
sense of a stolen, even covert viewpoint is heightened by Santhosh’s
painterly technique and palette. The objects and figures tonal values are
reversed like the image seen through
camera, or xray
neon neon pinks,
solarisation, or negative imagery is a defining part of Santhosh’s work.
In his last show works were
diptychs, a device he employed so that he could juxtapose both positive and
negative images side by side. However, in these works Santhosh fuses both
the negative and positive within one single frame.
A photographic negative is usually the
from which a photograph is printed, and so lies the paradox of Santhosh’s
method of revealing the concealed truths of war. The inversion of the image
gives the picture a new context and meaning as the darkest areas in the
original image are transformed into the brightest highlights.
recently, I have been appropriating in my works the logic of turning a
positive photographic image into its negative. Negative images evoke the
inverse aspects of the phenomena. As certain elements get deleted and become
unrecognizable, they reveal an event’s hidden implications. In the
process, the elements of ‘local’ lose their specificity, attaining
instead a universal significance and vice versa. Marking a shift from my
earlier paintings and its linguistic concerns, which dealt with a world as
seen through the pages of history that tells its stories through the images
of metaphors, my recent works deals with the kind of devised ‘glimpses’
of a much larger, unresolved stories of immediate happenings…”
technique owes much to the modern masters before him. Man Ray’s
‘Rayograms’ for example were a simple process of exposing a simple everyday object,
say an egg-beater, cigarette or light-bulb, against photographic paper to
create a negative image of the object.
The technique allowed him to subvert the object and to re interpret
it, and it became a favourite of the Surrealists.
the Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his inverted images of the icons
and symbols of his time, from Marilyn
Monroe to The Electric Chair.
however takes this technique and brings it into the 21st Century
by using images from today’s society.
At the turn of the 19th
Century, which was also the beginning of the Modern Art Movement Baudelaire
made a calling to young artists to “ il faut etre de son temps”, to be
of their time, and Santhosh is one such artist.
Fleetwood and Conor Macklin