As one of India’s most prolific artists Sundarams’ work refers to perception, memory, history and their intersection with social problems and popular culture. Several of his recent collaborative projects, although very different in aesthetics, involve the use of photographs, found objects, video, and three-dimensional constructs. In these collaborations, Sundaram assumes the role of conductor and curator.
This work is part of the KHOJ portfolio titled “A Gift for Khoj”.
This artwork description has been sourced from Sepia Eye.
Vivan Sundaram was born in 1943 in Simla. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda (1961–65) and at the Slade School of Art, London (1966–69). Active in the students’ movement of May 1968, he helped set up a commune in London and lived in it till 1970. On his return to India in 1971, he worked with artists’ and students’ groups to organize events and protests. In the 1980s, Sundaram did three large shows of narrative painting and participated in the seminal group exhibition, ‘Place for People’ (1981). Since 1990 he has made installations that include sculpture, photographs and video. Among these are Memorial (1993, 2014), Re-take of ‘Amrita’ (1991–92), The Sher-Gil Archive (1995), History Project (1998), Trash (2008), Gagawaka (2011), Black Gold, (2012) Post Mortem (2013–14); and the collaborative projects, 409 Ramkinkars (2015) and Meanings of Failed Action: Insurrection ’46 (2017).
Vivan Sundaram has had solo shows in many cities in India and abroad. He has exhibited in the Biennales of Havana, Johannesburg, Kwangju, Taipei, Sharjah, Shanghai, Sydney, Seville, Berlin, and in the Asia-Pacific Triennial, Brisbane. A 50-year retrospective exhibition, ‘Step inside and you are no longer a stranger’, invited by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, showed in New Delhi from February to July 2018. A solo survey exhibition titled ‘Disjunctures’, invited by Okwui Enwezor and curated by Deepak Ananth, was held at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, from June to October 2018.
Vivan Sundaram has organized artists’ workshops and seminars at the Kasauli Art Centre from 1976 to 1991; contributed variously to the Journal of Arts & Ideas (1981–99); and curated exhibitions for the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT). He is a founding member of all these organizations. He is the editor of a two-volume book, Amrita Sher-Gil: a self-portrait in letters & writings (2010).
This Artist Bio has been sourced from the Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation