Installation view of Vivan Sundaram: Disjunctures, 2018.
Politics and poetics, ethics and aesthetics: the continual crossing of these dimensions defines the forcefield in which the multimedia oeuvre of Vivan Sundaram (born 1943 in Simla, India) has taken shape over the last 50 years. His artistic beginnings coincide with an emblematic date in the second half of the twentieth century: 1968, synonymous with the international protest movements of students, workers and civil rights activists.This was the year in which Sundaram made an important set of paintings, soon after graduating from the Slade School of Art in London. It was a moment that crystallized his conviction that an engagement with the world in all its actuality was the fundamental reason for being an artist. All his endeavors since then, in whichever medium he has explored, have focused on finding the formal means appropriate to this commitment. The collage/montage principle that he adopted early on made for a disjunctive pictorial space which put the frame under considerable pressure. Both Pop Art and Minimalism paved the way towards a practice understood as situated in an expanded field, and Sundaram is the artist in India whose work has most keenly registered the political import of this deterritorialization.
(Photo by Maximilian Geuter.)