K. Laxma Goud


Bronze And Terra-cottas

  at Museum Gallery, Mumbai
  21st February to 5th March, 2006


‘…myths get thought in man unbeknownst to him.. I think there are some things we have lost, and we should try perhaps to regain them… because I am not sure that in the kind of world in which we are living and with the kind of scientific thinking we are bought to follow, we can regain these things exactly as if they had never been lost; but we can try to become aware of their existence and their importance.’


We live in a world which tires easily of technological progress and condemns discoveries of the day before, as outdated and redundant. Art practices all over the world are under constant scrutiny and perennial rejection. Even so, there is a concentric reconstruction, a lingering thread of continuity in myth and its magnificent permeation in art. Myth is often imbibed, plagiarized or even scavenged upon in order to give a fake “ethnic” glitter to a style. Very rarely does an artist absorb the mythological content of the culture to which he belongs and integrates it with wit and sophistication in his work. K.Laxma Goud is by all means one who has internalized this process and mastered it.

Laxma’s stylistics, whether in etching or in sculpture as it is the case in this exhibition, embrace skill and creativity alike and in that sense he is a classicist in the true sense of the word. His relationship with terracotta is complex and vitalizing. Each sculpturesque detail is manifested with the ease and passion of one who is in tandem with his chosen medium. The clay is made to twist, fold and taper in order to articulate forms and define them.

Little wonder that sculptors and artists at large are likened  to Vishwakarma Himself. Goud’s forms and figures --- whether they are human, animal or as architectural details --- are all intense representations of his myth and his reality. As with K.G. Subramanyan here too, one can visualize the artist clasping the clay, then shaping, honing and moulding it. The magic of Laxma Goud lies not only in the fact that he creates a form in hair-splitting detail and great finesse, but more extraordinarily the same form, structure, technique all gather in cerebralized participation to yield an inclusionist vocabulary, a common lingo to integrate complex factors. A highly skilled approach to portray folk and tribal elements through his interpretive methodology. His style, in effect, is erotic, spiritual and sourced from Indian tradition. On the other hand, Goud could easily be a sculptor from the Kushan age, describing stiff, frontal images which, even when they conform to human scale, seem monumental and somewhat monolithic. Goud’s ease with the third dimension is just as masterful as his etchings and it is interesting to observe his penchant for various textures over a highly finished surface or a network of lines which highlight and surround particular areas of a given form. Occasionally, the sculpture itself turnas into his plate on which he “etches”! At other times he revels in the multi-dimensional scope that sculpture offers him and he perambulates his image ---- patting, pinching, coaxing, and serrating every fiber of the work, turning it into a complete work art.

Metal casting and the glowing patina on some of the works, could lead one to believe that this has been the focus of Laxma Goud’s oeuvre all along. It contains the singular devotion of one who has surrendered his craft in order to surmount technique and go far beyond it. Paradoxically, there exists a Spartan economy in these works, especially in their delineation and again, there is an engaging sense of embellishment and details in each form. Similarly, the bulbous outline of each face detailed with its features, might only impart sediments of the volcano which actually lies dormant within the smooth cheeks of those faces. These faces could belong to a cave, a tribal hut, a studio or its civilized destiny --- an art gallery. These faces are structurally dazzling. Here too the dichotomy persist: they are representational as well as abstract. The seemingly vacant eyes and postures stir up elements of mudra and abhinaya. The analogous drama of underplay and vociferous defining continues.

He is an embroiderer of sorts, attaching rich detail to each angle as he approached it. He is a conjurer --- materializing innumerable cells, limbs, figures from a frenzied vision which is both prolific as well as innovation.

Truly, as strauss said, ‘myths get thought in man unbeknownst to him. ‘In Laxma Goud’s universe, we peer at many myths, only some of which have been discovered. Good is an acute technician and invokes virtuosity with élan. He is an intense architect who begins with the point, goes on to the line, creates angles and by undoing geometric formations, he creates newer kaleidoscopic images. He is a designer with a skilled acumen for ornamentation and style. He choreographs his protagonists’ moves in order to balance. From within a tiny platform and bewildering make-up, he orchestrates a veritable performance. He is bafflingly modern even though his sources are traditional. He is a farmer --- ploughing, uprooting, sowing, sprouting.

Laxma Goud might manifest differently moments but his most dazzling quality seems to lie in the fact that he undertakes complex formal challenges and overcomes each one with a simple sparse solution. That, above all, makes him a child and a poet. That astute symmetry in his silence makes him a master.

Anahite Contractor

Anahite Contractor has read for Masters’ degrees in English Literatre and Art Criticism (both from the Maharaj Sayajirao University, Baroda) and a third in Art Administration, Creative Curating (Goldsmith College, London University) with an intership at M.O.M.A. Oxford as the first Indian theorist to receive the Charles Wallace award. She writes on contemporary art and architecture. Her poems have been published in India and U.K.


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