Achutan Kudallur. Civil Engineer and hobbyist writer. Today one of India’s top-notch artists. Coming from a family that religiously follows Gandhian values and the preaching’s of the great Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda, it is no wonder his art is exciting, energetic and yet tranquil, the very qualities practised and preached by these great men.
Achutan’s works are a study in contrast. Where there is a joyous riot of colours in one frame, there is total melancholy and sometimes even tragedy, in the next. To communicate so much through a non-figurative style is quite a feat in itself. That said, his oils are never about any conversation, they do not involve in dialogues with the viewer. They are just a communion of colours yet there is no riot, just a unique sense of calm. The colours work on the mood of the viewer. An Achutan oil has the innate ability to be whatever you want it to be – in an ethereal sense. Besides being rated as one of the India’s topmost artists, Kudallur has a huge collection of portrait and illustrations for his own stories, which have been published in prominent fortnightly magazines.
So said the artist of himself, “Colors spread by its own logic. The problem starts when you begin to depend on certain shapes. It is like discovering an entire notation for a new language. A very personal vocabulary begins to evolve. It communicates very little, sometimes nothing! My works are my confession of my despair.”
Each Kudallur painting takes a color as its inspiration. He describes each painting with affection as ‘his blue’ or ‘his red’. While his work is oddly instinctive and emotional, it is always visually complex. Almost a self-taught artist, Achuthan has never travelled the beaten track. Each of his canvases has remained a journey exploring proactively his perceptions, feelings and sentiments and translating them through the use of color. With a subtle play of color, his work is evocative and reflective of the varying shades of human emotion.
A recipient of the National Academy Award and Tamil Nadu Lalit Kala Akademi Award, Achutan is a widely travelled person. Apart from sixteen solo shows all over India, sponsored by major art galleries and institutions, he has been part of most important juried and curated group exhibitions, such as Sothebys India sale in London, New South Delfina Gallery, London, Homage to Arthur Rimbaud in India and France and Heart Intuitive Logic Exhibition.
He has to his credit several institutional commissions including Air India, Mumbai. His works are part of several individual and institutional collections like the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Air India, Glenberra Musuem, Japan, and with other collectors in India and abroad.