An internationally feted film-maker and artist, Madhusudhanan’s artistic practice flows seamlessly across media. His fascination with images, especially the advent of the moving image and its place in human history, is reflected in a series of films, paintings and drawings. The feature film Bioscope (2008) is one of his foremost works. It is based on the journey of a new art form —cinema— through India during the colonial period.
Madhusudhanan’s exhibit at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, Logic of Disappearance (2014), is an installation of 90 charcoal drawings. “There was a lighthouse on the shores of my birthplace; these drawings have been created as image fragments made visible by its sweeping light,” explains Madhusudhanan.
Several historical incidents and characters appear in these poetic nocturnal visions, emerging from the darkness as if from indeterminate points in time. The Bogeyman from Francisco Goya’s etching series Capricos is reborn here as military generals architecting wars. The 1921 model Chevrolet car Jagaddal with its separated horn from Ritwik Ghatak’s film Ajantrik also appears in these spot-lit stills, along with statues of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin that fell in the worldwide turbulence that was unleashed after the Soviet Union collapsed. The pig, a Buddhist symbol for greed and the thirst for power, also plays in the shadows of Madhusudhanan’s complex landscape of memory, triggering flashbacks of an era gone by.