Aicon Gallery London Presents T V Santhosh: Burning Flags May 14- June 12

Prominent artist T.V. Santhosh requires little introduction having seen much success over the last decade featuring in a number of key exhibitions and collections, including 'India Xianzai' Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China, 2009; 'Passage to India, Parts I and II New Indian Art from the Frank Cohen Collection', at Initial Access, Wolverhampton, UK, 2008 and 2009; 'GSK Contemporary' at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 2008 and 'The Empire Strikes Back' at the Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, 2010 amongst many.

Aicon Gallery presents his eagerly-awaited new body of work 'Burning Flags'. A suite of paintings are rendered in the burning green, orange, yellow and red hues that Santhosh has become known for. In all of the paintings we see a close-up of a figure staring back at the viewer, dominating the foreground but also enmeshed in the background which details which jag in and out of view. Each painting is mired in the chaos of war, a snatched moment heightened by the solarised colour scheme. Santhosh's images are taken from media coverage of terrorism and war - and it has been much commented how his deliberate referencing of photographic negatives both comment on the mediation of such events through the media (recalling Baudrillard's now infamous comment about the Gulf War) but also produce the drama of The Situations which he is depicting. The works are hallucinatory - what is it exactly that is being witnessed by both the protagonists of the paintings and us the viewers who look at them?

Similarly Santhosh sculptures, two of which are presented in the show, gesture towards destruction and waste. Each uses scrolling neon messages set in what seem torture or imprisonment cells rendered in white. The use of the neutral medium of white fiberglass directs the pieces towards Hannah Arendt's coining of the phrase "the banality of evil" to convey that most atrocities are committed by ordinary people rather than sociopaths. This sense of everyday atrocities is developed in Santhosh's watercolours which with their black and white depictions of individuals, seem a deliberately quieter counter-point to his paintings. Evil is both banal and widespread in a world where as Santhosh points out in, utopias seem as distant as they ever have been. Santhosh's works invite us to consider the dark side of globalization - the conquests and the wars that have always been fought in the name of religion, nation or progress.

In collaboration with the Guild Gallery

Private View
Thursday 13 May
6:30 - 9pm

Exhibition Dates
14th May- 12th June 2010

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