Artists > C.K. Rajan

C. K. RAJAN, In Search of Utopia, 1989-90, drawing ink on cigarette-pack, 7.6 x 12.7 cm / 2.9 x 5 in


Widely recognised for his small-scale works on paper which have been collaged using imagery sourced from popular newspapers and magazines, C.K. Rajan responds to a visual world which seems to have become unreadable. Produced between 1992 and 96, these collages capture in an allegorical fashion something of the speed, the speculation and the human collateral of the economic development process. Not simply in the form of a polemic, but rather by exaggerating its side effects in the popular media and scrambling them into a set of surreal tableaux.

The title for another sequence of works from this period ‘In Search of Utopia’ painted onto the back of cigarette packets, could equally be said to spring from similar aspirations. However, the imagery, which represents the human figure in relation to a vast totalitarian architecture starkly delineated by light and shade, seems to come more from the hand of some mad urban planner. Nevertheless, the pathos of the medium (visions rendered on the back of cigarette packets) situate these works at street level and they perform a subversive gesture, a feral one – a gesture that produces an inspired narrative con­cerning the human ability to fabricate the future from out of almost anything which comes to hand.

Born 1960 in Kerala, India
Studied Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University,Baroda
MA (Painting), University of Hyderabad
Lives and works in Hyderabad

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2014

    ‘Classified: For Your Eyes Only’, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai  

  • 2010
    ‘Mad Furnitures And Psychic Objects - Part I’, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 
  • 2006
    Kashi Art Café, Kochi, Kerala
  • 1998
    ‘Mild Terrors’, Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
  • 1995
    ‘Mild Terrors’, Max Mueller Bhavan, Hyderabad

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Nine Painters from Kerala, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 

  • 2016

    ‘DWELLING’, 10th Anniversary Show(Part I), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

  • 2016
    ‘Pond near the Field’, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida, India
  • 2013
    ‘Considering Collage’, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
  • 2013
    ‘5 Rooms’, Robert Miller Gallery, New York
  • 2013
    ‘Perspectives on Collage’, The Photographers' Gallery, London
  • 2012
    'ART HK 2012’, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Kong. Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
  • 2011
    ‘5th Anniversary Exhibition’, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2010
    ‘Have I Ever Opposed You?’ Gallery Faye Fleming and Partner, Geneva
  • 2009
    ‘LaVA’, BMB Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2009
    ‘Art of Modern India’, IVAM, Valencia, Spain
  • 2008
    'Three Points of View', together with Nicola Durvasula and Reena Saini-Kallat, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2008
    ‘Santhal Family – Positions around an Indian Sculpture’, MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2007
    ‘Spy’, together with Prasad Raghavan & others, Guild Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2007
    ‘documenta XII’, Kassel, Germany
  • 1998
    ‘Born in 1960’, Nicola Durvasula and C.K. Rajan, Sakshi Gallery, Bangalore
  • 1998
    ‘Pacaembu Project (urban sculpture)’, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 1997
    ‘Inter(RE)ferences’, Grande Galerie, Rouen, France
  • 1997
    ‘KHOJ’, British Council Gallery, New Delhi
  • 1996
    ‘Tribute to Antonin Artaud’, Eicher Gallery, New Delhi
  • 1987
    ‘Questions and Dialogues’, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda
  • 1985
    ‘Painters with Fishermen’, College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, Kerala