Lakshmi Madhavan is an independent, contemporary artist residing and working in Mumbai. She has been drawing, painting and colouring, since she can remember. Art was her escape as a child and this childhood passion was brought to the forefront a few years ago when she gave up her successful marketing career to pursue art.
She has recently concluded her training & residency under the German artist, Bernhard Martin at the Summer Academy in Salzburg. She is mentored by the Indian contemporary artist, Jitish Kallat in Mumbai and has assisted him with the production and planning of his first career retrospective “Here After Here” curated by Catherine David. It was held in January 2017 at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. Another stint with the French artist Nicolas Menard at the Louvre in Paris, helped her understand the varied perspectives around the representation of the human body through the ages.
The artist’s oeuvre focuses on the interplay between phenomena and meaning when organisms, objects and environments interact. She alternates between form, material, scale, figuration and abstraction. Lakshmi has previously exhibited in Copenhagen, Austria and Mumbai.
Lakshmi’s last work, a towering installation titled “I need some air” was awarded the best installation amongst 100 installations by the curatorial board at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018. The work reflected the wake of the Anthropocene, humanity redefining earth’s geology and ecosystems, provoking one to reconsider mankind’s collective responsibilities as a species.
Lakshmi’s current work, titled “TIE(D) TIE(S)” is both symbolic & nostalgic to her, as she returns to her place of birth, after migrating from the state nearly thirty years ago. The installation explores the narrative of identity, culture and belonging using coir, a ubiquitous and versatile material that abounds locally. Coir is intrinsically linked to the history of the state of Kerala – traditionally, socially and politically. Multiple coir ropes are suspended and hung mid-air, contouring the map of Kerala. The coir has metaphorically knotted itself, hanging charred and worn out – a vestige of its former self, attempting to survive and persist, tied to its socio-political boundary. Reflected within these knots are also a myriad of notions of mankind with ties to ancestry, mortality, displacement and survival. The coir oscillates between object and subject, different orientations demonstrating the existential polyvalence tied to the material and humanity. The installation traverses the lines between metaphor, reality and illusion, rendering space-time theories linked to the memory and history of a place.