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T V Santhosh
(1968)

In God`s Name



This sharply focused image, from Santhosh`s first solo show of paintings One Hand Clapping / Siren, neatly encapsulates the socially reactive artist`s chief concern – that all human achievement is marred by the perseverance of violence and the misuse of science. What strikes critic Ranjit Hoskote about Santhosh is “his grasp of the crises of our globalised present, his taste for translating current events, even as they unfold,...

This sharply focused image, from Santhosh`s first solo show of paintings One Hand Clapping / Siren, neatly encapsulates the socially reactive artist`s chief concern – that all human achievement is marred by the perseverance of violence and the misuse of science. What strikes critic Ranjit Hoskote about Santhosh is “his grasp of the crises of our globalised present, his taste for translating current events, even as they unfold, into narratives that are to allegorical to be history, yet too mutable to be myth”. Though he draws his materials from the news media, cinema and art history, “his pattern of selection is determined…by the key themes of war and catastrophe: his is an art attentive to the specific idioms of contemporary global conflict, to the diabolical pact between knowledge and terror, the skewed antagonism between puissant globality and weakened locality” (“Transfigurations at the Margin of Blur” in One Hand Clapping / Siren, The Guild Gallery, 2003).

In this dichromatic canvas, the artist also challenges the representation of war and violence in the news media. Using a blue tonal scale, he offers his version of a news-derived image of masked men leading others away through a valley, perhaps in the contested territory of Kashmir. But are these captives “besieged guerillas or condemned prisoners”? With the halos that Santhosh gives them – in veneration of the artist Giotto – and the roses blooming in the foreground around the elongated skull he borrows from Hans Holbein`s work, it is hard to say (Ibid.). Like his other pieces from the same period where flautists play as battleships sink and doves flutter around scenes of devastation, the imagery of this painting is meant to startle.

As he emphasizes that images transmitted through the media can be misleading, Santhosh jolts his viewers out of the comfort and familiarity they have come to feel on encountering these images, forcing them to question what they see. It is the artist`s opinion that if such violence and blind acceptance persists, the future will be unforgiving. The blurred brown panel on the right represents his premonitions about this austere future, a time of “cosmic radiation” and “microbiological skeins” (Ibid.).



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  Lot 90 of 135  

SPRING AUCTION 2007
7-8 MARCH 2007

Estimate



Winning Bid
$83,375
Rs 35,85,125

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)

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ARTWORK DETAILS

T V Santhosh
In God`s Name

Signed and dated in English (verso)
2003
Oil on canvas
47.25 x 70.5 in (119.9 x 179.1 cm)

Published: One Hand Clapping / Siren, The Guild at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2003

Category: Painting
Style: Figurative


 









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