Bronze sculptures in fluid movements

The sculptures are made of bronze, but what is striking is the amazing sense of lightness they evoke.

Leading Indian sculptor K.S. Radhakrishnan's works, which are on show here, have elements of dance and performance. They stand out for their remarkable attention to detail.

Method And Wisdom, now on at Indigo Blue Art, features 15 smaller works priced between $5,000 and $15,200.

In town for the opening, the artist tells Life about his journey from Kottayam in the southern Indian state of Kerala to Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

He went there to study painting. Instead, he met pioneering sculptor Ramkinkar Baij and was drawn to sculpture as a medium.

His longstanding commitment to simplicity and his fidelity to bronze as a medium are evident in this exhibition. On his use of bronze, he says he initially took to modelling in clay. From the beginning, this was meant to be transferred to another permanent material.

"Bronze is the most suitable to get all the details from clay and the technique used is lost wax process," he says. "Also, most of my sculptures are space-bound, with less contact on the ground.


Sculptor K.S. Radhakrishnan’s Musui With Ascending Figures.PHOTO: INDIGO BLUE ART

"This evokes lightness and is best attained using bronze. Because of bronze, I can explore the potential of the medium to create the air-bound forms."

Almost four decades into his artistic practice, the 59-year-old New Delhi-based sculptor says he is not tired of the medium.

"I am sure the understanding that exists between me and my chosen medium will open up more undiscovered spaces."

The two major themes of his art are the male and female figures of Maiya and Musui, who are almost always portrayed as reed-thin figures in various acrobatic postures.

Their extraordinary body movements are what the sculptor calls "his meditations" on issues spanning migration, history, nostalgia and memory.

His use of these dynamic alter egos - the male, Musui, and the female equivalent, Maiya - goes back to 1970.

"I met a young boy named Musui and was instantly drawn to his peaceful expressions and inner sense of happiness. When I first met him, he was begging for bread, but with a smile," he recollects.

That smile stayed with him and his Musui figures almost always radiate energy and happiness even when they are on the move or engaged in tough labour, such as pulling a rickshaw.

  • VIEW IT/ METHOD & WISDOM BY K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN

    WHERE: Indigo Blue Art, 52B Temple Street

    WHEN: Till Dec 15, 11am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), Saturday by appointment only, closed on Sunday and public holiday

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: Go to www.indigoblueart.com or call 6372-1719

Together with his female counterpart, Maiya, the duo appear in joyous and charming dance-like movements. They are also meant to reference the existence of mutually co-existing forces which have been chronicled since time immemorial in many civilisations.

The presence of Purusha-Prakriti, Yin-Yang, Method-Wisdom in Buddhist sutras are some examples the artist gives, when speaking of togetherness in the universe and how people are often brought together by what he calls "a multitude of forces welded together for loftier objectives". These individual figures partake in a larger scheme unknown to them, but they are each fulfilling their roles.

Radhakrishnan has participated in more than 50 solo and group exhibitions since 1979. His works are housed in several private and public collections worldwide.

Next month, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore will host a major museum exhibition featuring more than 60 sculptures of varying sizes, which will be displayed in the indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces. He lives in New Delhi with his wife and son.

Recalling some of his early years with sculpture, he says: "When I started in the 1980s, sculpting was not seen as mainstream.

"You had to travel overseas, particularly to Europe, to be recognised in India.

"Today, the world has opened up and it is great to see different artistic mediums overlapping."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'Bronze sculptures in fluid movements'. Print Edition | Subscribe