India’s First Installation art thespian leaves the mortal world

Art created by Nirankar Rastogi

Lucknow/  New Delhi : A respected name in the Indian art fraternity,  Vivan Sundaram passed away. He was 79 years old. He was very ill for the last few days, due to which he died at a hospital in Delhi. As soon as the news of the demise of the artist was received through social media, a wave of mourning spread in the art field in the country and abroad.

Everyone paid their tribute remembering him in their own ways. In Lucknow too, through Saprem Sansthan and Asthana Art Forum, people remembered him and paid their heartfelt tributes. On this occasion, the artists of Lucknow, Prof. of Amity University. Nirankar Rastogi made digital portraits of Vivan Sundaram and Sandeep Ray, a fine arts student of Swami Vivekananda Subharti University, made sketch portraits.

Vivan Sundaram was born in 1943 in Shimla. His mother Indira Sher-Gil was the elder sister of renowned painter Amrita Sher-Gil. His father was Kalyan Sundaram. His wife was Geeta Kapur, a renowned art historian and art critic. After getting his early education from Doon School, Vivan Sundaram did higher education from MS Vidyalaya Baroda and Slade School of Art, London.

Sundaram has a multi-faceted practice in the field of art, he has also produced works in painting, sculpture, installation art, photography and video. He returned to India in the 1970s after studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in the 1960s and has since been at the forefront of the Indian contemporary art scene, constantly pushing and challenging boundaries in contemporary art were also Vivan Sundaram was seen expressing his art fearlessly on odd social incidents especially violence.

Painter Bhupendra Kumar Asthana said that Vivaan Sundaram was one of the foremost veteran artists of India. His artworks span a variety of mediums and scales to address issues surrounding national modernism, post-colonial identity and Third World ideologies.

Inspired by archival and allegorical impulses, his bold political drawings, artistic collaborations, reckoning with his forefathers, and reflections on topical events, reveal his engagement with contemporary society, history, and the monument.

An ardent materialist, he experimented vigorously to push the boundaries of the picture-plane – he was India’s first installation artist. Apart from Bhupendra Asthana, there were many artists including Girish Pandey, Dheeraj Yadav, Manisha Kumari, Ashwani Kumar Prajapati, Manisha Srivastava, Amit Kumar, Alok Dev, along with many artists expressed their tribute in their own words on social media.

Young painter Abhijeet Pathak from New Delhi said that Vivaan Sundaram is one of the main pillars of experimentation in Indian art, luckily I got the opportunity to study under him for two years, he is a good teacher, thinker, artist, and Strongly expressing his views on social issues, his energetic personality inspired all the art students around him to forge new avenues in their creative process.

Lucknow’s senior artist Jai Krishna Agarwal said that the death of Vivan Sundaram is an incomplete loss to the Indian art world. He was an experimentalist artist full of intellectual complexities as well as determined towards his social concern. May God give peace to his soul. Senior sculptor Pandey Rajivanayan said that he was an experimental artist, he has been an artist of national as well as international level. He did extensive experiments in installation art in such a time when people could not think.  Many times in Vadodara, there has been an opportunity to come face to face with his experimental arts.

Senior painter, art critic Akhilesh Nigam from Lucknow said that the established artists who give direction to contemporary / modern Indian art are slowly saying goodbye. A big void is being created, which is very sad. The death of Vivan Sundaram also falls in this category. He used to command respect in various arts – sculpture, print art, cinematography, installation art etc.

Rather, he is considered the pioneer of Indian modern installation art. His subjects have been boldly giving art expression on social events especially violence. Sculptor Girish Pandey said that Vivaan Sundaram has been a renowned artist of contemporary art.

Sundaram is from a series of artists who brought the art tradition of independent India at par with global art. Sundaram was familiar with various genres of art, in which he did many experiments, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and videography etc.

Vivan Sundaram’s art education journey was from Doon School to Bengal’s famous painter Sudhir Ranjan Khastagir, from M.S. School Baroda to Slade School. The diversity of experience is reflected in his art. Art was already there in Sundaram’s family. The relationship with Amrita Shergil seemed to be his maternal aunt. Living in his company, self-strength and independence of thoughts are clearly visible in Sundaram ji’s art. Vivaan Sundaram is an indelible signature of the art of modern India, who can never be forgotten.

Ravindra Das from Delhi said that Viman was the foremost artist of installation art in India. Rajendra Mishra said that it is very sad, I am in his presence. Speaker in Acharya Nandlal Bose Seminar in 1985-86.

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