Artist Vimal Chandran just opened his first solo show at Thalam, one of Bangalore’s newest and chicest multi-purpose art spaces. It’s called i have seen the labyrinth and it looks like a straight line, a title which immediately makes one think about how sometimes the things which appear simple are often the most complex, and vice versa.
This feeling echoes through much of his art, especially his illustrations (Chandran is also a photographer and visual artist). His drawings are playful yet serious, like the bear with a ticking time bomb strapped to his back which greets visitors as they enter the gallery. His style wouldn’t be out of place in a picture book, reminiscent somehow of classics like Guess How Much I Love You or The Little Prince.
His surroundings in Bangalore, India’s sixth largest city, provided him with an opportunity for the philosophical musings that drive his work.
“I grew up in Pattambi, a small town in Kerala. I have always been painting or sketching. I went on to study engineering and moved to Bangalore about seven years ago when I got a job,” he told DNA. “Here, I began experimenting with creative media, including photographs. The city, the grind of routine, aspirations of those around me and so on triggered questions inside me.”
An ardent fan of pop and mass culture, Chandran considers art an instrument for propagating ideas. His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells stories about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. He challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. A man of strong political and ideological identities, he urges us to look at the social and political injustices happening in and around us through the lens of art.
Images generously supplied by Thalam: The Foundation.
Chandran is best known for his “Unposted Letters” – a simple ink series about a boy, a girl and occasionally a shark, or a velociraptor. Each image is accompanied by a phrase about life and love that raises more questions than it answers. “Ladders are only for enticement, but snakes are real.” The Unposted Letters, true to form, are about complicated things depicted simply. They are charming, but also somehow sad. Chandran is an artist who enjoys letting the viewer create their own narrative from his work, but as such we wonder – why are they unposted?
Vimal Chandran is an illustrator, visual artist and photographer living and working in Bangalore, Karnataka. i have seen the labyrinth and it looks like a straight line is his first solo show, is open until July 28th at Thalam, Bangalore. Visit http://www.vimalchandran.com/ for more information.
Holly Knowlman is a tea-loving Brit living in Toronto. She’s a writer, event inventor and digital communications professional. She enjoys many things including: noisy nights out, technology, contemporary art, adventures, her bike, soup, cider and trashy celebrity culture. Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyKnowlman or check out her blog.
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