Okay.S. Radhakrishnan, 67, nonetheless remembers the day he met Musui. It was throughout his third yr at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, and the younger Santhal boy — with overgrown hair and a disarming smile — requested him for bread. “It was in all probability some of the distinctive expressions I’d seen, and I used to be drawn to it. I requested him to hop onto my cycle and I took him to my studio to mannequin for me,” remembers the figurative sculptor. “I gave him some cash and he went to a barbershop and got here again with a shaved head. That was when a sculpture was born.”
Through the years, the general public has seen the smiling boy with the bald head in numerous avatars: as a rickshaw puller, author, imp and saint. If you happen to go to Mananchira floor in Kozhikode, you’ll spot Kalapravaham, an open-air sculpture of Musui levitating from a granite base, his torso arching again and his legs within the air. In Panjim, Goa, close to the Mandovi river, he’s perched on a padippura, an arched gateway typical of conventional Kerala structure, welcoming travellers to the town.
This weekend, images of those public works, together with sculptures from numerous many years, will probably be showcased at Bikaner Home in Delhi, at On The Open Street, the first-ever retrospective of the eminent sculptor. “He belongs to a trio of sculptors — together with Ravinder Reddy and Dhruva Mistry — who breathed contemporary vitality into the trendy Indian artwork scene. Radhakrishnan has sustained it for 5 many years and expanded it remarkably, bringing to it an consciousness of world artwork and invoking human tales that enchantment to all,” says curator and artwork historian R. Siva Kumar. “Since I’ve recognized him from our pupil years, the exhibition is formed by an ongoing dialogue between us, and brings collectively the shifting focuses and excessive factors of his journey to date.”
The Crowd involves Bikaner
Bronze is Radhakrishnan’s most well-liked medium, because it provides power and lightness to his “airbound figures” with their supple spines and lengthy limbs. “They categorical the type of flexibility and plasticity of our personal minds,” says Radhakrishnan, whose desire for modelling and bronze casting (over newer supplies) units him other than different Indian sculptors.
He credit his lecturers, Ramkinkar Baij, the daddy of contemporary Indian sculpture, Somnath Hore and Sarbari Roy Choudhury in enjoying an enormous function in his determination to select up a hammer as an alternative of a brush. His want to convey artwork to the general public can be impressed by Baij — whose open air sculptures abound in Santiniketan. “Rabindranath Tagore [who founded Visva-Bharati] used to inform him the entire house is open for you. ‘Simply fill it up, the house is yours,’ he would say.”
Guests can witness this on the exhibition, the place one among his latest works The Crowd, an set up of fifty six-foot-tall sculptures impressed by migrant labourers of Delhi — which captures the humanist that he’s — is on exhibit. “It’s an inviting crowd, in contrast to one with out a mind,” he says. “This crowd is a fearless one. Everyone is on a ramp, one leg is all the time up, eager to be elevated from the place they’re. There’s a liminality there, reaching out to an area that we need to discover intellectually and emotionally.”
‘Individuals fascinate me’
Commenting on the artwork market as we speak, Kumar says it has develop into much more pleasant than it was for artists comparable to Ramkinkar Baij. “The shortage of funds not solely deterred artists like Ramkinkar from casting, but additionally from enterprise many massive tasks that he wished to do,” he factors out, whereas Radhakrishnan provides that he solely accepts patrons who worth his inventive freedom. “If a patron desires to help what I do, I don’t thoughts. But when a patron desires to help me to do one thing that they need to do, then I’m not for them.”
His subsequent works will see Radhakrishnan experimenting with completely different sizes, however one factor will stay fixed. “I solely work with individuals,” he stresses. “[None of my work is] summary sculptures. I take care of actual individuals. They proceed to fascinate me.”
The exhibition by Gallerie Nvyā is on from November 19 to December 14 at Bikaner Home.
The author is a theatre artiste based mostly in Thrissur.