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Where past meets present

The works of seven celebrated sculptors are on show till April 16 at Welcom Art Gallery in the city. The exhibition highlights their ouevre from the 1950s to the present day.


`SCULPTURAL CONFIGURATIONS: Retrospective - Prospective' is an exhibition of sculptures to be inaugurated on April 9, coinciding with the release of `Contemporary Indian Sculpture', a set of two books published by the Oxford University Press.

Focussing on the works of seven of Chennai's most renowned sculptors, who have been successful in creating an ineffaceable place in contemporary Indian sculpture, the exhibition highlights their ouevre from the 1950s to the present day.

Famed for creating an impact by merging the spirit of conventional Indian art with the contemporaneous global view are celebrated names such as the late S. Dhanapal, the late P. V. Janakiram, Vidyashankar Sthapathy, C. Dakshinamoorthy, S. Paramasivam, P. S. Nandhan and S. Nandagopal .

In a city where the past lives within the present, where culture is rooted in every aspect of life, it is but natural that sculptors would draw from the vast traditional resources, using them as a springboard, yet moving away from the conventional norm towards an abstract expression.

Dhanapal, a stalwart in connection with the Madras School of Arts and the Cholamandal Artists Village, created humanistic works in a lithe manner, linking native elements with an alternative feeling.

In the works of Janakiram, Vidyashankar Sthapathy and Nandagopal, frontality virtually becomes an essential, with the rounded forms being flattened and the sculpture opening up into what is almost three-dimensional relief.


Vivid detailing and artistic craftsmanship augment the open visual form. Dakshinamoorthy's strongly figurative style reveals an energetic structure based on rudimentary lines generating sensuous forms in a highly distinctive manner. Planar separations create simplifications of elements from Nature in the works of Nandhan, where the coarse and the smooth co-exist lending a tangibly tactile charm.

Also associated with inspiration from Nature are Paramasivam's metallic forms, which are angular, yet organic.

These seven sculptors have been innovators in their field and using the strength of the long-established past they have moved to newer boundaries, reflecting elements of change in a modern world, creating the history within which we live. The exhibition will be on at Welcom Art Gallery, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road until April 16.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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