Artist Profile Work Archive Exhibitions and Articles

SANTHOSH, T.V. - Artist Profile


(b. 1968)

Santhosh’s work tackles the relentless presence of violence and injustice in history. His canvases confront the hard-hitting subjects of war and terroism seeking to question the influence of politics and media on these global issues, most notably their representation and manipulationo of the events.

“…One looks at the world through a tinted spectacles of ‘news reports’, that unroll the stories of massacre of innocents, spectacular highlights of explosions, flux of faces of people who make headlines, spitting the words of hate and arrogance and the kinds of propaganda campaigns that just struggle to hide nothing but truth. It is a strange world exposed and manipulated. A world where one does not know who the real enemy is, yet ‘terror’ is the common word for both those who resist and those who attack. It is one’s extended vision that construct and reshapes the perceptions of the ‘present’. And it is riddled with a number of eternal questions and a couple of ready-made yet elusive solutions, which I am interested with. It is the touch and smell of the ‘present’ I am dealing with in my works, in a process to find a solution, where the praxis of language becomes one with the perceptions of reality.”
T.V. Santhosh

He appropriates references from such sources as magazines, newspapers and television. The influence of print media is reflected in the photographic quality of his works, both in their clarity and composition. The viewer is placed at the center of the action, whether pressed up against the nose of the sniffer dog in Whose War is It? or standing directly over the unexploded bombs in Waste Land of a History Lesson.

Our sense of a stolen, even covert viewpoint is heightened by Santhosh’s painterly technique and palette. The objects and figures tonal values are reversed like the image seen through thermographic camera, or xray in neon neon pinks, purples and greens.

Such solarisation, or negative imagery is a defining part of Santhosh’s work. In his last show works were mainly diptychs, a device he employed so that he could juxtapose both positive and negative images side by side. However, in these works Santhosh fuses both the negative and positive within one single frame. A photographic negative is usually the ‘original’ from which a photograph is printed, and so lies the paradox of Santhosh’s method of revealing the concealed truths of war. The inversion of the image gives the picture a new context and meaning as the darkest areas in the original image are transformed into the brightest highlights.

“More recently, I have been appropriating in my works the logic of turning a positive photographic image into its negative. Negative images evoke the inverse aspects of the phenomena. As certain elements get deleted and become unrecognizable, they reveal an event’s hidden implications. In the process, the elements of ‘local’ lose their specificity, attaining instead a universal significance and vice versa. Marking a shift from my earlier paintings and its linguistic concerns, which dealt with a world as seen through the pages of history that tells its stories through the images of metaphors, my recent works deals with the kind of devised ‘glimpses’ of a much larger, unresolved stories of immediate happenings…”
T.V Santhosh

Santhosh’s technique owes much to the modern masters before him. Man Ray’s ‘Rayograms’ for example were a simple process of exposing a simple everyday object, say an egg-beater, cigarette or light-bulb, against photographic paper to create a negative image of the object. The technique allowed him to subvert the object and to re interpret it, and it became a favourite of the Surrealists. Likewise, the Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his inverted images of the icons and symbols of his time, from Marilyn Monroe to The Electric Chair.

Santhosh however takes this technique and brings it into the 21st Century by using images from today’s society. At the turn of the 19th Century, which was also the beginning of the Modern Art Movement Baudelaire made a calling to young artists to “ il faut etre de son temps”, to be of their time, and Santhosh is one such artist.

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Selected Solo Exhibitions

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2014 ‘Dhaka Art Summit’, presented by The Guild
  • 2013 ‘Art Basel Hong Kong’ by The Guild, Mumba
  • 2013 ’India Art Fair’, New Delhi by The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2012 ’2 + 2 = 5′, The Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2012 ’2012: A Further Global Encounter’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London
  • 2012 ‘Mapmakers: The Evolution of Contemporary Indian Art’, Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2012 ‘The Contemporary Sultanate’, presented by Exhibit 320 at One Style Mile, Olive, New Delhi
  • 2011 ‘Indian Rainbow’, Luce Gallery, Torino
  • 2011 ‘Iconoclasts & Iconodules’, Religare Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2011 ‘Icons in Our Midst’, Artspeaks India, New Delhi
  • 2010 ‘Inside India’, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin
  • 2010 ‘Freedom to March: Rediscovering Gandhi through Dandi’, presented by Ojas Art at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2010 ‘At The Edge’, Gallery Maya, London
  • 2010 ‘Looking Glass: The Existence of Difference’, Twenty Indian Contemporary Artists presented by Religare Arts Initiative, New Delhi in collaboration with American Centre; British Council; Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
  • 2010 ‘Indian (Sub)Way’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi; Grosvenor Vadehra, London
  • 2010 ‘The Evolution of the Species’, Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA), Mumbai
  • 2010-11 ‘In Transition: New Art from India’, Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC, Canada; Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, Canada
  • 2009-10 ‘Evidentia’, Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore
  • 2009-10 ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Indian Contemporary Art in Global Times’, Lakeeren, Mumbai
  • 2009-10 ‘Sculpture’, The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2009 ‘Vicissitudes of the Constructed Image’, Tangerine Art Space, Bangalore
  • 2009 ‘Recycled’, Bose Pacia, Kolkata
  • 2009 ‘Mining Minds’, Chaitanya Art Gallery, Kochi
  • 2009 ‘Multitudes’, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore in collaboration with Zen Studio Gallery and
  • 2009 ‘Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art’, Grosvenor Gallery, London
  • 2009 ‘Re-Claim/ Re-Cite/ Re-Cycle’, presented by Latitude 28 at Travancore Art Gallery, New Delhi; Bose Pacia, Kolkata
  • 2009 ‘Passage to India, Part II: New Indian Art from the Frank Cohen Collection’, at Initial Access, Wolverhampton, UK
  • 2009 ‘My Little India’, Marella Gallery, Beijing
  • 2009 ‘Life is A Stage’, Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA), Mumbai
  • 2009 ‘In The Mood For Paper’, F2 Gallery, Beijing
  • 2009 ‘Threshold: Forging Narratives in South Asian Contemporary Art’, Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2008-09 ‘Where In The World’, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi
  • 2008-09 ‘Signs Taken for Wonders: Recent Art from India and Pakistan’, Aicon Gallery, London
  • 2008-09 ‘Hot Shots’, The Viewing Room, Mumbai
  • 2007-08 ‘India Art Now: Between Continuity and Transformation’, Province of Milan, Milan, Italy
  • 2007-08 ‘Similarities’, Lansdowne Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2007 ‘After Shock: Conflict, Violence and Resolution in Contemporary India’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 2007 ‘Young Guns’, Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA), Mumbai
  • 2007 ‘Year 07’, London, presented by Grosvenor Vadehra, London
  • 2007 ‘India 20’, a Group Show that Coincided With the Release of the Book ‘India 20’, at Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2006 ‘Here And Now: Young Voices From India’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London
  • 2006 Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collection at The Chrysler Museum, Germany
  • 2005 ‘Whose Space Is It Anyway’, Nature Morte, New Delhi in Collaboration with The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2005 ‘Double Enders’, Jehangir Art Gallery and The Museum Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2005 ‘Are We Like This Only’, Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2005 ‘Kaam’, Arts India, New York
  • 2005 ‘Change Of Address’, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2005 ‘Paths of Progression’, Saffronart and Bodhi Art, New Delhi, Mumbai , New York and Singapore
  • 2005 ‘Ways of Seeing’, Art Alive, New Delhi
  • 2005 ‘Endless Terrain’, Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
  • 2004 ‘Anticipations’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2004 ‘Bombay Boys’, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2004 ‘A Journey’, a Charity Art Show for Passages Breast Cancel Health Project, Gallery Art and Soul, Mumbai
  • 2004 ‘A Tribute To Bhupen Khakhar’, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2004 Viart Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2004 ‘Zoom!’, Art in Contemporary India, Culturegest, Lisbon
  • 2004 ‘Generation I’, Saffron Art Gallery in Collaboration with The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2004 ‘RED’, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2004 ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’, Sarjan Art Gallery, Baroda
  • 2003 ‘Crossing Generations : diVERGE’, presented by Gallery Chemould at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai
  • 2003 ‘The Dual Path of Indian art Today’, Galerie Muller and Plate, Munchen
  • 2003 ‘Highlights’, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai and Bangalore
  • 2003 Works on Paper, Saffronart Online Show
  • 2002 ‘Art Edge’, presented by Fine Art Company, at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai and India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
  • 2002 ‘Trans-Figuration’, presented by ArtInc. At India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
  • 2002 ‘Words And Images’, organized by The Guild Art Gallery at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai.
  • 2002 ‘Quotable Stencil’, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai.
  • 2002 ‘Cross Currents’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2002 ‘Creative Space’, organized by Sakshi Gallery at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
  • 2002 ‘Mela-A Carnival Of Indian Art’, RPG Show at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2002 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2002 ‘Tribute To Picasso’, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2002 ‘The Human Factor’, organized by The Guild Art Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2001 ‘Excerpts From My Diary Pages’, Fine Art Company Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2001 ‘Engendering Images Of Women’, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2000 ‘Exile And Longing’, Lakeeren Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1997 Visual Arts Centre, Ahmedabad.
  • 1993 Birla Academy for Arts and Crafts, Kolkata
  • 1993 All India Institute of Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Exhibition, New Delhi


  • 2014 Making History, Colombo Art Biennale
  • 2013 Heritage Transport Museum curated by Priya Pall
  • 2012 WAR ZONE: Indian Contemporary Art, ARTEMONS CONTEMPORARY, Das Kunstmuseum, Austria
  • 2012 ‘To Let the World In: Narrative and Beyond in Contemporary Indian Art’, as part of Art Chennai, Edition II at Lalit Kala Regional Centre, Chennai
  • 2011-12 ‘India: Lado a Lado / Arte Contemporânea Indiana (India: Side by Side / Indian Contemporary Art)’, part of the Exhibition ÍNDIA! presented by Brazilian Ministry of Culture and Banco do Brasil at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo; SESC Belenzinho, São Paulo and Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brasília
  • 2011 ‘Crossroads : India Escalate’, India Pavilion at Prague Biennale 5
  • 2011 ‘Collectors’ Stage: Asian Contemporary Art from Private Collections’, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
  • 2010 ‘The 11th Hour: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art from India / Diaspora’, Tang Contemporary, Beijing
  • 2010 ‘The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today’, The Saatchi Gallery, London
  • 2010 ‘Size Matters or Does it?’, Part2 at Latitude 28, New Delhi
  • 2010 ‘Size Matters or Does it?’, Part 1 at Latitude 28, New Delhi
  • 2009 ‘Expressions at Tihar’, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
  • 2009 ‘Failed Plot’, part of KIAF 09 at COEX, Seoul
  • 2009 ‘India Xianzai: Contemporary Indian Art’, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Shanghai
  • 2009 ‘Armory Show’, New York represented by The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2009 ‘ARCOmadrid’, Spain represented by The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2009 ‘CIGE 2009′, China represented by The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2008-09 ‘Collision Course’, GSK Contemporary: Part 2, Royal Academy of Art, UK
  • 2008 ’101 Tokyo Contemporary Art Fair 2008′, represented by The Guild, Mumbai
  • 2008 Presented by Jack Shainman Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach, Basel
  • 2007-08 ‘Kashi 10 Light Years – Anniversary Show’, Kashi Art Gallery, Kochi
  • 2007 SH Contemporary, Shanghai
  • 2006 ‘Scars of An Ancient Error’, Singapore Art Fair presented by The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2003 ‘National Gallery of Modern Art Annual Show’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai
  • 2002 The Contemporary Asian Art Fair-by The Guild Art Gallery in Sing apore.
  • 2001,02,03,04 ‘Harmony Show’, Nehru Centre, Mumbai
  • 2000 Kala Ghoda Show on ‘Functional Objects’ presented by The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1997 Kerala State Exhibition, Kerala
  • 1996 Bombay Art Society, Mumbai

Honors and Awards

  • 2010 Padmini Award, Kerala Lalit Kala Academy
  • 1997 Kerala Lalit Kala Academy State Award
  • 1997 Inlaks Foundation (Indian)
  • 1997 Kanoria Scholarship, Ahmedabad
  • 1997 National Scholarship
  • 1994 Ramkinker Award
  • 1990-94 Viswabharathi Merit Scholarship