Lamp Inserted in the Human Web
S. Radhakrishnan is recognized as one of the most significant figures of contemporary Indian art. He is a sculptor and bronze has remained his prominent medium for a long time. Radhakrishnan was born in Kottayam district of Kerala in 1956. After completing his under-graduation from Changanacherry, Radhakrishnan went to Shantiniketan in 1973-74 to pursue formal training in art from the prestigious Kala Bhavan of Vishwabharati University. There he was mentored and trained by two important figures of Indian modernism – Ramkinkar Baij and Sarbari Roy Choudhury. His sculptural talents were acknowledged at a very young age when he was awarded with the National Scholarship offered by Government of India in 1978. During these early formative years of his career Radhakrishnan was invited to be the part of many exhibitions at Lalit Kala Akademi and Birla Academy of Art and Culture. He completed his MFA in the year of 1981 and very soon was awarded with a research grant by Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi to work in Garhi Village. This also gave him an opportunity to move to Delhi and explore the diverse artistic practices of the metropolis. Since then has had more than fifteen solo shows including at National Gallery of Modern Art (Bengaluru), Centre des Bonds de Marne, LePerreux-Brysur-Marne (France), Lalit Kala Akademi (New Delhi) and Birla Academy of Art and Culture (Kolkata) amongst others. Among the numerous group shows at which his works have been exhibited are the National Exhibition at New Delhi (1980); Triennalle India (1990); Salon International de la Sculpture Contemporaine at Nouveav Forum des Halles, Paris (1995); Hippodrome d’elongchamp, Paris (1996); Espace Michel Simon-Noisy le grand, France (1996); Beijing Biennale (2012). From 1980’s onwards Radhakrishnan has installed open air sculptures across the country and abroad including at the TMI foundation, Cotignac, France.
The two major themes/motifs of his works are the male and female figures Maiya and Musui which represent the anima-animus, the primary anthropomorphic archetypes. These sculptures range from small-intimate scale to lofty dimensions. These works are his meditations on migration, history, nostalgia and memory which have a direct engagement with the public sphere. He renders a sensuous quality to his works by deploying extraordinary body movements of his figures. He has curated the exhibition Ramkinkar Baij – A Retrospective at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. He has written a book titled Ramkinkar’s Yaksha Yakshi which was released during the aforementioned retrospective. Radhakrishnan has been awarded K.C.S. Panickar Puraskar, Govt. of Kerala (2011). Radhakrishnan is a frequent traveler and thus deems to be qualified as a cosmopolitan nomad who is not restricted by national or regional barriers. Radhakrishnan is a distinctive and appealing presence on the modern Indian sculpture scene. He lives in Delhi with his wife and son.