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Updated: July 1, 2011 19:30 IST

A brush with the past

DIVYA KUMAR
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One of Elanchezian's work
One of Elanchezian's work

Art Elanchezian explores mythology and history in his works

S.A.V. Elanchezian discovered his artistic calling when he first visited the caves of Ajanta and Ellora as a student.

“Until then, I'd mainly been exposed to Western art in college, which served to stimulate the mind,” he says. “But the Indian art I saw there moved my soul.”

Since then, Elanchezian's artworks — paintings and sculptures — have been dedicated to capturing the essence of traditional Indian art and architecture, but with a contemporary aesthetic.

“Each idol and icon in traditional Indian art represents a deep philosophical concept,” he says. “My dream is to share these concepts that are still relevant to humanity with a global audience.”

His latest collection on display at Art World pays tribute to the great artists and sculptors of the Pallava dynasty. Art and architecture of the Pallava period is particularly close to Elanchezian's heart — it's the topic of the Ph.D he's currently pursuing at the Tamil University, Thanjavur.

“This is my way of saying thank you to those 8th Century artists,” he says. “I am who I am as an artist because of imbibing their work; without a past, we can have no present or future.”

So, one of his brass sculptures depicts Kevatha Perunthachan, the Pallava sculptor, at work atop an ancient temple gopuram. Another shows the great Narsimha Varma Pallava standing majestically above a carved simha stone pillar (“the simha pillar was first created by Narsimha; it was his contribution to Indian sculpture”).

Others, such as his Krishna series, explore philosophical concepts in our mythology. For instance, Krishna poised above a jumble of flutes balanced precariously over one another represents, he says, the continuation of human life amidst chaos, and another of Mahishasuramardini depicts the balance of good and evil in the world.

His acrylic abstract paintings, on the other hand, focus on concepts of meditation and self-realisation, and the battle between the conscious and the sub-conscious. All in muted beiges and greys, with dashes of teal and purple, these works are calming and cryptic at once, filled with hieroglyphics of Elanchezian's own creations and deeply personal motifs drawn from his own meditative states.

“I've been meditating for years,” says the artist. “Art took me into meditation; indeed, art is in itself a form of meditation. Without meditation and introspection, there is no value in creating art.”

The exhibition is on till July 10.

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