Exhibitions > 2009 > New Works

AJI V.N., Untitled, 2007, charcoal on colored paper, 75.5 x 195 cm / 29.7 x 76.7 in


Aji V.N. creates an amazing range of works using the most economical of means. With only black charcoal on coloured paper, Aji crafts images that range from the figurative to the abstract, through landscapes and crowd scenes to portraits and seascapes. Medium-sized, his images strike a verisimilitude that hovers between photography and scientific notation. Astonishing in their details, the works challenge the eye to decipher that which the hand has created, confound the brain with the pure magic of retinal opticality.

Although the artist veils the symbolism in his work, the sense of transience is difficult to banish. Sometimes it lingers in an almost decadent ornamentation. There are, for example, plants that evolve into enigmatic signs - their tangle of branches proliferates wildly within an elegant contour. But, besides being elegant and detailed, the plants of Aji V.N. are also indomitable - strangled in their own hold, just as treacherous as they are tempting. This discord is also exploited optically. Bright yellow paper gives the landscape a radiant glow, shimmering as if it were gilded. In this, the plants light up like carefully cultivated hallucinogens: narcotics for the eye.

In his portraits of Sadhus and Yoginis, a world of possibilities opens up in the playful and elaborately coiffed and dreadlocked hairdos of the otherwise completely naked figures. There are spiraling cones like rams horns or shells, there are tufted sections that look like wings, on one head there is an arrangement like a birds nest, and on another a writhing pit of snakes, and meanwhile the beards of the men hang down like clumps of damp moss from the sides of a cave - all bringing a sense of tactility in the experience of esoteric aesthetics.


Aji V.n.