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Velu Viswanadhan

Brief Profile: Viswanadhan is an Indian artist who was born in Kadavoor, a small village in Kollam, in Kerala in 1940 and studied at the Madras art school, where KCS Paniker was one of his teachers. In 1966, he was one of the founders of the artists' village of Cholamandal. In 1968 he moved to Paris, and joined the Galerie de France where he kept company with Hartung, Soulages and Degottex. Viswanadhan looks at his work as an individual journey and an exploration. Though his early work is figurative, the artist evolved his vocabulary over time through experiments with abstract and geometric forms. In the late 1960s, Viswanadhan, inspired by the geometrical ritualistic-magical diagrams of his native Kerala, began to explore the visual language inherent in them. This theme returns in his work time and again, with gradual evolution of form and colour. 

He works mostly on paper, canvas and metal plate. Practical considerations like limited space prompted him to use small formats in his work. Viswanadhan draws with a particularly arresting technique. The outline is drawn with thick stamping ink, and then oil paint is applied with a brush and the work washed with essence of turpentine. The transparent and thin paint reveals the geometric forms. His later works, using strong hand made paper, combine a technique generally utilized in the making of handicrafts with a sophisticated sense of organization. He has also used Indian ink to create large, horizontal pieces and smaller square drawings. In addition to his art, Viswanadhan has made a series of films based on the primary elements of Nature: Sand, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. 

Today, Viswanandhan is one of India's most well-known artists. The National Galleries of Delhi, Bombay, and the Victoria Memorial Museum of Calcutta have all organized retrospectives of his work, which bears witness to a period when Indian artists, similarly to those currently known as the "Old Masters", laid the foundations of modern Indian art with conviction and perseverance. In Viswanandhan's work, abstract art and Tantric art are both evident. However, the real significance of his work, as in the work of his masters, KCS Paniker and J. Swaminathan, is to be elsewhere, to be other. Vismanadhan recently exhibited at the Delhi Art Gallery. He also exhibited at the Malborough Gallery in New York (March 2008).

Viswanadhan has participated in the Asian Art Fair, New York, in 2007; the 15th International Art Exhibition, Tokyo, in 1984; and the Festival International de Peinture, Cagnes-sur-mer, France, in 1971. Among the many awards to his credit, in 2005, he was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Letters by the Government of France. 

The artist lives and works in Paris.
Qualification: 1950-60 Student of K C. S. Paniker, Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai 

Velu Viswanadhan: Artworks

  • Untitled
    Size 32" x 32"
    Medium Casein on Canvas
    Year 2004
    Price On Request
    Availability For Sale