Telling a story in copper

Telling a story in copper


Although S G Vasudev is primarily a painter, he has experimented extensively with copper as a medium over the years. He has worked in collaboration with artisans such as Kuppuswamy, Chandran and now Chandran’s son-in-law, Raja, to produce these marvellous works.

The works displayed at the exhibition include pieces created by Vasudev during the 90s and in the last decade. Although not apparent at first glance, each piece tells a very definite story, which can be perceived by the viewer only after paying close attention to every small element and nuance of the relief.

The styles and lines of these reliefs are very similar to the subjects in Vasudev’s paintings. However, the three-dimensional effect of the relief gives them a new depth. One prominent example of this is ‘He’, a relief made by Vasudev in 2006, which depicts a man’s head and shoulders. The intricacies in the lines of the face as well as the shoulders are a sight to behold.

Another intriguing relief is part of the ‘Rhapsody’ series, created by Vasudev in 2010. It incorporates a series of twisted, turning lines within which a few figures stand highlighted — a few human figures, which seem to be moving, a bird, and many more. Once more, the narrow, swirling lines and the few dots on the figures show a great attention to detail.

‘Earthscape’, a relief created in 2005, depicts a few mountains and trees set against a gently-moulded sky. Although the sky itself is bare of intricacies — making the relief much less crowded than many other examples of Vasudev’s work — the trees, mountains and even the few human figures in the relief are dotted and enhanced with spirals that add a certain depth to it.

Perhaps one of his most complicated reliefs is ‘Tree of Life’, created in 2010, which takes inspiration from his paintings of the same theme. The relief depicts a broad tree trunk, with several leaves and bird-like figures around it. The trunk is filled with all manner of details, ranging from flower-like patterns at the base, to thick stripes across its width and several dotted surfaces.

Similar intricacies can be found in the leaves and birds as well. ‘Man-Tree’, created by Vasudev in 2006, is somewhat similar in that it depicts a tree as well. However, the leaves here are represented as a single body, rather than individual parts, and the base of the tree has a few human figures which seem to be captured in movement. The exhibition is on till December 3.