Achuthan Kudallur

Start Date : 22 January 2024

End Date : 09 February 2024

Achuthan Kudallur’s life and work speak of the power of painting to change destinies. A civil engineer by training who aspired to be a writer, his foray into art was accidental. His brush with art however turned into a lifelong journey as he practiced it, at times against his own will, and produced paintings in helpless profusion. Not only was his career in art unanticipated, so was the direction it took. From highly emotive images and nudes he gradually moved towards abstraction, which at the beginning of his career he had little regard for. 

A native of Kerala, he moved to Madras as a youth and lived in the city until his passing. It was here that he began practicing art, enrolling as a student at the Madras Art Club where he was taught by artists such as P.B. Surendranath and Anthony Doss. He began exhibiting from the 1970s onwards, displaying his work both individually and alongside fellow artists from Madras. By this time, the Madras Art Movement, which sought to combine Indianness with modernity, was nearly two decades old.  A new generation of artists exploring different themes and concerns was emerging on the horizon. Cholamandal Artists’ Village, founded in 1966, was also evolving in form and identity. Perhaps due to the nature of his artistic training and his interaction with fellow artists, Kudallur was an insider and outsider, and a participant and observer in this shifting art scene. He therefore evolved his practice that was in conversation with these developments while also consciously maintaining a certain distance from it.  His immense reading and friendship he shared with artists from different places meant his work was also cognisant of the trends in the national and global arena.

This exhibition, “Achuthan Kudallur: A life in art”, encapsulates the artist’s journey from his early days to the later years when he painted the abstracts that he is remembered for. Through this, the exhibition surveys the works of the artist and contextualises it. In addition, the works and archival material also offer an insight into the mind of an artist who shared a complicated relationship with art yet never wavered in his commitment to pursuing it. 

Let's stay connected!

Join our mailing list for updates

Request Info