A ramshackle in grim tints, that shows no sign of life that it once had is a recurrent image in many of Muralidharan’s canvases. There are many such buildings, and the artist reveals, “They are my impressions on the chaotic state of the city where I have been living for the past 20 years.” T K Muralidharan, who lives in the bustling suburbs of Mumbai, has portrayed a hitherto unperceived picture of the city through insipid life in many forms like dilapidated houses, wires, batteries and other odds and ends, in his works exhibited at the Machinoscapes show at Durbar Hall.
The works done in acrylic are imprints of the present in the canvas of time, opines the artist. The black, grey and white vacant highrises represent calamities, both natural and man-made. They have an air of stillness and drabness that lives in cities generally have. Convoluted machines are aplenty in the exhibition, but they indicate the artist’s thoughts not in a direct manner. He says, “Machines generate dread in my mind, being a person who does not even know how to ride a bicycle. Maybe that factor might have worked as the motif of fear that I have for cities.” While contemplating himself as working in a small room amidst the swarm of people, he adds: “Maybe I am the machine.”
The artist laments that while cities entice and entrap us with their conveniences, those living there tend to lose their cultural detailing. “We lose our minute dialect differences, habits and other subtle things of life that we have acquired over thousands of years. My works are inspired from such thoughts,” he says. The state of Kerala too is not different of late, says the artist who hails from Angadipuram in Perinthalmanna .
A uniqueness of the works of the artist who runs a textile hand-printing unit is the use of PVC colour (used as printing ink) in non-tearable paper. This is a technique that he has learned from his 18-year long experience in textile designing. For Murali who reached Kalbadevi in Mumbai for a short visit in 1994, his initial canvases were salwars and duppattas. “Though it didn’t gave me much liberty as an artist, the designing job gave a firmness to my strokes.”
Being an ardent art enthusiast, Murali found time to see the shows at Jehangir Art Gallery and National Gallery of Modern Art.
It was during one such show that Murali met Bose Krishnamachari. “He encouraged me to draw,” he says.
This is the third solo show of the artist who has been drawing since ‘95. The show will conclude on November 28.
Murali who has been part of many small and big artist camps says that for him, his works are a means of artistic survival. Surprisingly, along with his paintings, poetry is also a medium of expression for the artist whose poems frequently appear in Malayalam weeklies.
Quiz the artist who has published a collection Nethravathi, and is gearing up to publish the next. whether poetry or paintings give him more satisfaction, he says, “Paintings are more expressive since they can be enjoyed by a wider section.”