Indian artist T. Venkanna’s prolific and prodigious output has gained him the reputation of being one of his generation’s most exciting, versatile, and unconventional artist. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and Bachelors in Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in painting from J.N.T.U, Hyderabad where he was awarded a Gold medal. The artist lives and works in Baroda, India.
Major shows in 2012-13 include Pancha Mahabhuta (The Five Great Elements) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India, Cynical Love: Life in the Everyday curated by Gayatri Sinha at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida, India, a solo presentation at Art Brussels 30th Contemporary Art Fair, ProjectStage at Art Stage Singapore, the India Art Fair, India, the VIP Art Fair, (online). In 2011, Venkanna presented a controversial solo performance at Art Stage Singapore and was part of New Trends from South India, at the Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai, India. Other key projects during the year included; CROSSROADS: India escalate (India Pavilion) at the Prague Biennale 5, Czech Republic, a solo presentation at the Art Brussels 29th Contemporary Art Fair, Belgium, Fabular Bodies, curated by Gayatri Sinha for the Harmony Art Foundation, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, India, Printmaking: Open Studio, at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India, (M)other India at Galerie du Jour – Agnès B, Paris, France and Window in the Wall, Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai, China. In 2010 his work was part of Finding India: Art for the New Century, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei, Taiwan. His solo show, NERO opened at Gallery Luce in Torino, Italy and he simultaneously showed at Artissima 17 Torino, Italy. He was also the youngest artist featured in the Saatchi Gallery show The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, London, UK.
Venkanna was one of 20 artists shortlisted for the SKODA prize in 2010 and 2012. His works are in major collections in America, Japan, Russia and Europe including the Charles Saatchi collection (UK), the Burger Collection (Switzerland), Swagemakers collection (Netherlands) and many more in India and across the world.
The predominant subject in T. Venkanna’s works is sexual imagination which questions and confronts the stereotypical ways in which sexuality is understood and defined.
“The sexual behavior of human beings is habituated by societal norms and conditions. I believe it is due to this, that sexual fantasy gains importance in a human being’s life and an individual achieves extreme pleasure out of this simple act of day-dreaming, wherein s/he escapes from the harsh realities of this world via an undisturbed and uninterrupted flight of imagination.”
“In this endeavor of mine, I also have been (re)presenting certain imageries/motifs taken from artists of yester years [like Hockney, Rousseau, Mondrian, etc.] as well as from specific forms of traditional art. The political and social contexts underlying these works are quite different when they were made. I re-present these imageries according to my idea, in the process critically evaluating the norms and terms that exist within contemporary society.”
His continuous persistence with this subject has stimulated his interest to explore image–making in all kinds of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and performance. Venkanna’s most important linguistic device is the integration of the personal and the social using material as per the subject’s requirement with complete freedom and ease.
T. Venkanna CV
Born 1980, Gajwel, India. Lives and works in Baroda, India
2006 M.F.A. printmaking from the Fine Arts Faculty, M.S. University, Baroda, India
2004 B.F.A. painting from J.N.T.U, Hyderabad, India (Gold Medal)
Art Brussels 31, Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
Pancha Mahabhuta, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai
Art Brussels 30th Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
Pancha Mahabhuta, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India
Printmaking: Open Studio, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai
Art Brussels 29th Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
Untitled Performance, ArtStage Singapore, Singapore
NERO, Gallery Luce, Turin, Italy
Sacred and Profane, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India
For Identity, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India
VIP Art Fair, Online
India Art Fair, New Delhi, India
Cynical Love: Life in the Everyday, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida, India
ProjectStage, Art Stage Singapore, Singapore
(M)other India, Galerie du Jour – Agnès B., Paris, France
Window in the Wall, Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai, China
Fabular Bodies, Harmony Art Foundation, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai
CROSSROADS: India escalate (India Pavilion), Prague Biennale 5, Prague, Czech Republic
New Trends from South India, Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai, India
Group Show, India Art Summit, New Delhi, India
Finding India: Art for the New Century, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan
Artissima 17 International Fair of Contemporary Art in Torino, Torino, Italy
The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
loosentiefirst, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India
789, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, India
Chronicles of the Unspoken, Travancore Gallery, Delhi, India
Show-off, Kitab Mahal, Mumbai, India
Group Show, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, India
Student Show, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, India
Major collections in India, Japan, Russia, Netherlands, France, USA, UK, including the Charles Saatchi Collection, UK, the Burger Collection, Switzerland, and the Swagemakers collection (Netherlands).