Born in Allapuzha, Kerala, India, in 1956.
He lives and works in New Delhi and Kerala, India.
A highly-regarded filmmaker on the international scene, Madhusudhanan is best known for his evocative films and documentaries that explore the history of cinema, historical events, memory, and dreams. He is also an accomplished painter, draftsman, and graphic artist. His practice, which flows smoothly from one art form to another, is foregrounded by a certain poetics of forms and narratives, reflecting his deep interest in the constitution of the image, both still and moving. As Madhusudhanan once stated, he has made drawings consistently since childhood, and therefore drawing remains fundamental to his work. Even in his work as a filmmaker, he relies on drawings to help formulate his work, from outlining basic concepts to scripting and shooting.
Madhusudhanan’s work at the 56th Biennale di Venezia is represented by two projects: a selection of thirty drawings from the series Logic of Disappearance: A Marx Archive (2014), a singularly important project first shown at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, and Penal Colony (2014– 2015), a new series of drawings. His filmic technique and dream-like compositions are very much present in these chiaroscuro drawings. Spotlighted in the middle of each image area are figural and industrial forms, surrounded by a sea of darkness. Both in their execution and their arrangement, the drawings suggest film stills or story boards for a silent film, and revel in their vintage quality. In both sets of charcoal drawings, he explores the intersection of world history and that of India, a subject he has explored at length, not only in his films but also in his personal sense of place. In Logic of Disappearance: A Marx Archive, such historical personages as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin appear as fragments from a certain past, yet perhaps they also point accusatory fingers at the turbulence of the neoliberal present, from Ukraine to the Middle East. Referencing the title of Franz Kafka’s In der Strafkolonie (In the Penal Colony) (1919), Madhusudhanan’s Penal Colony is a visual retelling of the so-called Wagon Tragedy of November 19 and 20, 1921, involving the massacre of more than a hundred rebel prisoners who were suffocated while locked in a rail car in Kerala at the hands of the British imperial army.