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A Ramachandran: Writer by Ella Dutta

From 1986, A Ramachandran's visual language turned towards a new direction. He had been undergoing a creative ferment for quite some time but it found mature expression since the mid-Eighties. His writings and statements also changed in tone. It becomes increasingly clear from his essays and interviews that he is swimming against the current. He had been stridently criticised for drawing on traditional language of murals as resource. In the published statements it appears that Ramachandran is not afraid to take on his critics in the art establishment.

The writing style had become more lucid and mature, the irony sharper, the pen often dipped in acid. The sardonic laughter often hides a deep pain. Yet the statements on aesthetics often lightly tossed, flash a beacon light on the inner truths of Indian visual language. All these elements are beautifully blended in one of the most perceptive essays in the artist's corpus of writing. The thesis, An Enquiry into the Revivalist Tendencies in My Art and Hairstyle is a scintillating account of the evocation of his visual language and his aesthetic concepts. The section also includes an interview given to Art Heritage at the time of the Yayati exhibition. There is also an interview given to Art Today on the occasion of the gallery's inaugural show. The interview, which gives an idea of Ramachandran's superb ease in myth-making is also an eye-opener on how he does not suffer fools gladly. Also included is a short, lyrical description of Obeshwar which is the site of the lotus pond which has been an inspiration to many of Ramachandran's magnificent paintings. An essay on the male gaze and the human image is a fascinating aesthetic statement, albeit written with a dash of flippancy, on the artist's fascination with the female form. It is not an attempt to commodify the female nude but to explore the subtleties of the flowing lines and capture the visual code that unveils the enigma of the female form.