‘Interior Spaces’, a virtual exhibition, is the 17th solo exhibition by the artist
It was sheer coincidence that Murali Sivaramakrishnan titled his painting exhibition, ‘Interior Spaces’. He had no clue that it would end up as a virtual show, whereas he was all set to showcase them at the art gallery of Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum (AFT) in April. “I had named it ‘Interior Spaces’ much before the COVID-19 situation came in. Although some of the works were done during the initial days of the lockdown they were not made with the pandemic in mind. However, the concept became relevant for the current situation,” says the Thiruvananthapuram-based artist-poet.He explains that the series, with over 40 paintings done in oil and acrylic, is more like a continuation of his previous exhibition, ‘Belonging to Earth’, held at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai last year. “It was about the sense of belonging. When you belong to something, you automatically take a journey inwards and that exploration has come out in ‘Interior Spaces’. It is a journey within, where I consciously and unconsciously continue by interior dialogue with nature, which has always inspired me,” he says.
In a note about the collection, Murali has put down, “….we need to come to terms with the outer and the inner, the akam and puram, of our existence. When we are in a gallery with paintings on display we begin to recognise this. The COVID-19 pandemic situation appears to have necessitated this space and occasion. This is the time for our introspection, recognition of our true senses. Therefore, my Interior Spaces.”It is the 17th solo exhibition for Murali, who has been part of group exhibitions held across India and abroad. Having evolved his own style of abstraction, he, however, believes that there is nothing called abstraction in art. “Everything is abstract. When a child draws a mountain and sunrise, he or she makes a few lines here and there and fill it with colours. But, in nature, there is nothing like an outline with colours inside or outside. So what the child draws is also a kind of abstraction. However, unfortunately, people look for a sense of resemblance in art and try to find meaning. When they fail to do so, they get worried about an abstract work,” he says.
The artist stresses that he prefers to leave it to the imagination of a spectator to understand his works. “Instead of trying to bring meaning into a painting, I think it is better for the painting to come out with a meaning,” he avers. As someone who believes that “painting is a complete art and can evoke all senses at once and variously”, Murali says that he “doesn’t want to take the role of an interpreter.”Among the evocative images in the exhibition are two sets of triptych (a panel of three paintings) and another set with five paintings. “At times you tend to feel constrained by the end of the canvas or paper. But in a group of panels you can bring in separate dimensions and colour frames that complement each other. It is basically about bringing structural continuity,” he observes, adding that each painting in the collection holds significance for him.The 60-year-old artist taught literature and was professor and former chair at the Department of English, Pondicherry University. He is also an author with books on aesthetics, environment and poetry collection to his credit, besides being an avid bird watcher and nature photographer. “All these roles are important for me and they are a kind of nourishment,” he says.
During the lockdown he immersed himself in painting water colours and have been uploading them regularly on his Facebook page (Murali Sivaramakrishnan). “I enjoy travelling and since I can’t go out now, I have been painting the outdoors, especially those places in Kerala that I have visited, such as Ponmudi, Thattekkad, Munnar, Wayanad…,” he adds.The exhibition can be viewed online until November 30 via the link:https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/3128912/interior-spaces-by-murali-sivaramakrishnan