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Focus Booth F02, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, India Art Fair 2020

Focus Booth F02, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, India Art Fair 2020

At the 2020 edition of the India Art Fair (New Delhi, Jan 30 - Feb 2), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke presented a Focus booth with six oil-on-canvas paintings by Ratheesh T. 

What is unique about Ratheesh’s paintings is that they place the local at center stage, and demonstrate an intense attentiveness towards the specificities of costume, expression, gesture, and attitude. These meticulously crafted works foreground situations and moments that are intensely personal and moving.  

In his large paintings, often depicting the Self, Ratheesh breaches the barrier between architecture and landscape, privacy, and public space. The dark hue of these works partially conceals imagery, until our eyes grow accustomed to the truancy of light, only then discerning the tapestry of trees, flowering shrubs, the filigree patterns of aerial roots against the shadows and crumbling walls — or then again the nuances of a domestic space. In the modestly-scaled works shown at the fair, Ratheesh used a bright palette, while alluding to the Nation’s disquieting cultural and political legacy.

Born in 1980 in Kilimanoor, a small southern village situated in a dense forest, Ratheesh moved to the city of Trivandrum to study art, and now maintains studios in both places. His work has been shown at the 1st edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India (2012) and the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, Japan (2014). Ratheesh is a recipient of the Royal Overseas League Scholarship, Scotland, 2004. His work is in numerous private and public collections in India, Europe, and the USA. 

(Partly excerpted from the essay “Between The Riddle and The Exclamation — Recent Paintings by Ratheesh T.” by Ranjit Hoskote, 2018)

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