Colours depicting life

For Santhosh Kotagiri what reflects in the mirror is not the musical flow of life. It is a bizarre world of metamorphosis that comes out of his surreal compositions. The compositions that question the independent existence of the creations on earth, it also points fingers towards our simplified notions about beauty and life.

He explains, "I believe subconscious, dream state imagery is the real reflection of the self. They embody a freefalling organic metamorphosis where all universal elements merge and fall apart. This imagery of man, animal, plant in a symbolic, surreal state forms the major basis of my art work. I have been using materials like gold, silver leaf, to create a mesmeric quality that reveals yet hides, so very true to my concept of –what is real? . Of late I am experimenting with the idea of using reflective surfaces like glass, mirror, steel, that seem to realise these illusionistic qualities more aesthetically and with more contemporary uniqueness. They are optimally reflecting my ideas of optical play of what is real? And what is imaginary? These reflections on a wide variety of materials symbolically visualize an experience of willingly losing touch of reality."

Using different colours the artist elaborates its uniqueness, "My innermost dreams and desires, aspirations and delusions, each compliment the other. With dark tones against contrasting shimmer of metallic the forms are amended and revised in hybrid forms, in a diverged ebb and flow of rendering and tones. It's in the deep darkness of nights the stories unfold, sometimes dreamy and soft at times fierce and savage. The darkest of fears against the slightest of whispers ring through this dream state, as the subconscious takes over the rational and the logical."

Here past present and future come together on one plane. In the artist's world man, animal, bird, tree, become one sharing their joys and grief, the agony and ecstasy of life and death.

The darkest of dark against shimmer of gold and silver evoke a dream like fantastic quality. The expressions of the real and imaginary – a cat, a dog, a fantasy, bird a talking tree, whispering branches play their roles against solemn men and woman sharing a common surreal landscape.

"Exploring a variety of media, including caves paintings, carving, water colour and mixed media, I became much matured in understanding medium while integrating the painting with different material, which is challenging for every artist. There is lot of fragmentation and distortion in my work, and none of these are pre-conceived. I sit in front of the canvas it's like meditation. I believe intuition," shares Santhosh. -AJ

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