India’s renowned contemporary artist Vivan Sundaram passed away in Delhi on Wednesday. He was 79.
Sundaram has worked with different medium of art, that included sculpture, printmaking, painting, video art photography and installation. His works often reflected influences of Dadism, surrealism, Fluxus and the works of Joseph Beuys.
Re-take of ‘Amrita’, the first series of black and white digital photomontages based on archival photographs from the Sher-Gil family; ‘Memorial’, made in response to communal violence in Mumbai; and a monumental site-specific installation at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial are few of the exceptional works of Sundaram.
A 50-year retrospective exhibition, ‘Step inside and you are no longer a stranger’, invited by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, was showed from February to June 2018. Most recently, Sundaram was one of 30 artists specially commissioned to create new work to mark the Sharjah Biennial’s 30th anniversary edition.
Educated at The Doon School, Sundaram was later trained at the faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and at Slade School of Fine Art in London. Sundaram’s works often drew themes of popular culture, social causes, problems of perception, memory and history.
A pioneer among Indian artists to work with installation, Sundaram’s passion to trace back history is evident in almost all of his works, which have been displayed at several museums and galleries across the world.
‘Black Gold’ is an installation of potsherds from the excavation of Pattanam/Muziris in Kerala, which was made into a three-channel floor projection video in 2012. Sundaram’s 1972 series of 25 drawings ‘The Heights of Macchu Picchu’ is on display at the ongoing Kochi Biennale.
Sundaram is survived by wife Geeta Kapur, a noted Indian art critic, art historian and curator.