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Updated: January 20, 2010 19:11 IST

Varied vocabulary

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT
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A work by K. K. Raghava
A work by K. K. Raghava

Fragmented and hybrid images are articulated through the medium of watercolours in artist K. K. Raghava's works

After a long hiatus, K.K. Raghava, a New York-based artist, showcases his watercolours in an exhibition titled “Watercolours in Wonderland” at Ashvita. Maverick Raghava, in this series brings in a freshness of approach in his medium of water colours. In October 2008, Raghava, with his family, including a month-old son, shifted base to New York. The consequences of relocation required him to take care of his son, leading to sleepless nights. In this condition, Raghava's imagination was stimulated to what can be read as hallucination, producing works that articulate his emotions through fragmented and hybrid images. His works are instinctual and the medium of water colours allowed his images to be shaped in a rapid manner. Compared to his earlier series, this corpus of works is stylistically distinct.

Fairyland appeal

In this series, his works have a fairyland appeal. The imagery has been derived from his immediate environment, creating cartoon-like hybrid forms that make it appear surreal. Restless by nature, he moves with facility from one medium to another — from drawings to water colours, oils, installation, film and performance — which allows his imagination to soar, on the wings of creative imagination that bringing forth new forms and imagery. This is evident in his present series. where any object or form serves to instigate his memory which is extended to take a walk with his ideas projected as hallucinating forms.

With polyvalent vision at the heart of his works, an enigmatic aura mantles them. a quality that is so consciously inherent as to be evocative and mysterious. It is not the stark and straightforward image or form that is presented to the viewer, rather the forms have been commingled with so many different characters derived from Amar Chitra Katha, Disneyworld, Chinese dragons, caricatured human forms from his cartoons, and his memories instinctual and subconscious. allows the positioning of his varied iconography within the space of his compositions. Raghava amicably maintains the dynamic balance of tension between the noumen of his spaces and the phenomenon of his human and hybridised trope. Yet, like his persona, there is a playfulness that under girds his intentions and the flying fragmented forms reinforce this further. The colours have a strident vibrancy juxtaposed with subtle nuances; the frivolousness of the brush strokes and the consciously created languid smudges are as organic as they are shocking.

The present series positions Raghava as an artist, whose comfort level of working with different media allows him to create a varied artistic vocabulary, making his art expressions versatile. He continues to challenge himself with boldness.

Raghava has been invited as a speaker at the TED (technology, entertainment and design) Conference 2010 at Long Beach, California, as part of its 25th anniversary year. He will go down as one of the few Indians honoured to speak at the prestigious conference that invites some of the greatest thinkers of our time to present their ideas.

The exhibition is on at Ashvita until January 24.

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