From the 12th of January to the 9th of March, Mumbai's Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke hosted seekrajan, a retrospective of more than 30 years of work by CK Rajan.
Starting his journey as an artist at the M. S. University, Baroda, Rajan moved to Hyderabad and then finally to his home in Kerala. His work was first taken to documenta 12 (2007) held at Kassel by Grant Watson who has worked with him since 2006 and has curated this show.
CK Rajan's world is reflective, tongue in cheek, dark and minimal; this retrospective lays bare the artist's engagement with his place and time in history and a few steps in, makes the viewer a willing participant in critically interpreting the past and its transformations.
In the first series In Search qf Utopia (1989-90), the artist has made the most of his frugal resources by painting on the inside of cigarette packs. Thus far a member of the Kerala Radical Group, an artists' collective with a heightened political sensibility in the mid-I980s, the series presents a language that is independent of the group. Rajan constructs geometrical shapes in an architectural manner creating a fantastical stage for contemplation. Graphic forms cast long, soft shadows keeping it quiet yet sinister. The shadows themselves are at liberty to extend and bend, but never break free. These bite-sized ruminations strip down the excess and inspect elements in their bare forms. This search for Utopia on Gold Flake packs has an improvisational spin that is endearing.