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seekrajan | CK Rajan: A Selected Retrospective - Publications - Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

“seekrajan |CK Rajan: A Selected Retrospective” presents a survey of the artist CK Rajan, dating from the late 1980s to the present. It                assembles a comprehensive range of work, as well as archival material which has never been exhibited together before.

As a student at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda in the late 1980s, Rajan was a member of the Kerala Radical Group, a collective of painters and sculptors who sought to politicise the Indian art world. After the group had dispersed, Rajan moved to Hyderabad in 1990 where he lived until recently returning to his native Kerala. His output since the 1980s has mostly included small-scale sequential bodies of work that can be organised into distinct phases, each of which is represented in this exhibition.

Paintings made on the inside of cigarette packets between 1989 and 1990, collectively titled In Search of Utopia, suggest pocket-sized Constructivist utopias, defined by architectonic and geometric shapes painted in monochrome. Here, miniature cityscapes, stadiums, stage sets, and astronomical observatories are empty apart from singular matchstick figures. Survivors (1991), a series of still lives using Indian ink on paper, depict arrangements of objects from the artist’s studio. Elements such as a knife, pliers, and a brick hint at menace, but any allegorical interpretation associated with still life as a genre remains opaque.

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