Art exhibition ‘Agamum Puramum' is an interesting experiment with ink

It starts with a tiny drop of ink. And every work of art in the exhibition is a pattern originating from the ink drops. We've done the same in school — torn a piece of paper from the ‘rough note', shaken ink out of our fountain pens on it, folded it and when we unfolded the paper, lo and behold there would be the most bizarre patterns on the paper — a tamarind tree, a lady with a lamp, a dog with wings…each pattern would tell a story. Try as hard as we might, reproducing the same pattern would be impossible. It's this ink art that is celebrated in Agamum puramum by artist K. Balashanmugham at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery as part of the Vivid Palette-2011 series.

Reflecting life

Balashanmugham holds a Masters degree in painting from Government College of Fine Arts, Kumbakonam. “Paintings these days have become a reflection of what we see. They are like a representation of a really good photograph. But is it possible for an artist to create works of art without colour, texture and shades? I've tried doing so. This exhibition is the result of this experiment,” he explains.


Balashanmugham also started by creating ink patterns on a piece of paper. The first display consists of 27 such patterns.

“One can create countless art forms from each of these,” he says. To illustrate the point, he has picked one particular pattern.

A series of pencil sketches shows how the pattern takes on the shape of a beautiful Yaazhi. “I first sketched the outline of the pattern,” explains Balashanmugham. “It was then converted into 3D after which the shape lent itself to form a Yaazhi.” Of course, the transformation happened several hundreds of sketches later, a few of which have been displayed.

The same pattern has also been used to form geometrical shapes. “I cut the 3D figure of the pattern into various shapes and put them together to form these structures,” says Balashanmugham.

Open to interpretation

If one structure looks like a cottage from the Stone Age, another looks like an ultra-modern gazebo.

“You can interpret it as a million other things,” smiles the artist, adding that, “Each of these structures can actually be constructed.” He has also made sheet-metal and wooden sculptures of a few patterns.

An intricate series of sketches shows how the same ink pattern gives shape to a robot!

The sketch by sketch transition of the same is displayed. It then changes into a balding old man with a beard. “I do not set out with a particular pattern in mind,” says Balashanmugham. Each pencil sketch on display has hundreds of sketches before and after it, he says.

“I've done over 3,000 sketches over the year,” says the artist. In fact, he did about 500 sketches for the exhibition alone.

According to Balashanmugham, “This exhibition is a must-see for fashion designers, engineers, students of art and any one with an inclination to creativity.” Agamum Puramum is on till August 28 at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery, Avanashi Road. For details, call 0422-2574110.

Keywords: ink art