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b. 1980, India

Ratheesh T. Biography

Ratheesh T. is a leading contemporary Indian painter from the South Indian state of Kerala. His large figurative paintings, inspired by the people and landscape of his home state, present scenes from daily life that are rich with narrative possibility.

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Born in Kilimanoor, Kerala, Ratheesh T. studied at the College of Fine Arts in Trivandrum, graduating with a BFA in 2004. That year he also received a Royal Over-Seas League Scholarship to travel to the United Kingdom. Today Ratheesh still lives and works in Trivandrum. As he explained in an interview for India Art Fair, 'I like being in Kerala. I am inspired by its people and landscapes. I think my practice would change if I moved to a different place.'

Ratheesh T.'s paintings often comprise lush, radiant tropical forest backgrounds typical of the Kerala region, and ordinary people playing out scenes of daily life. A firm believer in painting life as it is, Ratheesh's paintings are a testament to observing and contemplating the people and the natural landscape around him.

The style and narrative structure of Ratheesh's paintings leave much to interpretation, presenting various forms of human communication and interaction in subtly dramatised tableaux that never tangibly offer the significance of the event.

These ambiguous interactions can be found in the broader communal setting, as in the bustling town space of Allotted Land (2018), but they can also be found in depictions of intimate familial interaction as we see in Kiss (2016)—a tender but narratively ambiguous moment. These human tableaux convey ubiquitous human experiences.

Even Ratheesh T.'s paintings where the human figure is absent show traces of human presence and interaction. In Independence Day (2017) one finds in the tropical forest—a complex natural matrix of entangled trees, branches, and greenery, painted in lavish and exacting detail by the artist—discarded detritus and a dilapidated shed upon which layers of graffiti declare both young love and political allegiances.

Some of Ratheesh's works are autobiographical, as the artist presents his persona in various ways. We can see the artist as the father in Kiss (Clear Pond) (2016), just as in Amma (2016) we see the artist putting rice on his plate. In Saami (2018), he hints at his humble beginnings, depicting a visit to his village and kin, where the villagers joke about his urbanised appearance and possessions.

In I Am (Cleaning Pond) (2015) Ratheesh's persona appears wearing nothing but a manic grin—his nakedness profanely renouncing the demands and expectations of the social sphere. In his hand is a hammer and behind him is a bed loaded with material possessions beyond which a demolished wall opens the view to a large pond being cleaned. The hammer and the smashed wall can be read as Ratheesh's desire to break away from the urban, materialist lifestyle to connect with nature.

Recurring in Ratheesh T.'s works are also motifs of purification, cleansing, and renewal. In Maranan (2013), the artist proffers a wholistic vision of birth, decay, dissolution, and resurrection. A skeleton lies across three landscapes that depict organised agriculture, unkempt blossoming vegetation, and industrial matter.

Ratheesh's art, touching upon universal experiences and emotions, has found a broad international audience. His work features in exhibitions not just across India but also in Britain, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. His work can be found in public collections such as the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

Ratheesh T. Solo Exhibitions include:

Ratheesh T.—Recent Paintings, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2018); Green Pond, Gallery Michael Haas, Berlin (2011); Moving Earth, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2007).

Ratheesh T. Group Exhibitions include:

Nine Painters from Kerala, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2018); India is Now..., Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany (2011); India Inclusive: Contemporary Art from India, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland (2011); Open, Zoya Museum, Bratislava, Slovakia (2010); Everything, 12 Artists from India, Willem Baars Projects, Amsterdam (2008); KAVA 1, Kashi Art Gallery, Kochi, India (2005).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Exhibition view: RED II, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (8 April–3 June 2021). Courtesy Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke. 

Ratheesh T. Featured Artworks

View All (15)
The Wall Between Us by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.The Wall Between Us, 2020Oil on canvas
183 x 214.5 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Invisible Caterpillars by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.Invisible Caterpillars, 2019Oil on canvas
72 x 96 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Contestant Waiting at Legend’s Corridor by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.Contestant Waiting at Legend’s Corridor, 2020Oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches
Sold
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Morning Fruit by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.Morning Fruit, 2019Oil on canvas
72 x 48 inches
Sold
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Saami by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.Saami, 2018Oil on canvas
72 x 60 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Mysore Road by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.Mysore Road, 2018Oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Sold
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
I See You by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.I See You, 2018Oil on canvas
98 x 76 inches
Sold
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
I Am (Cleaning Pond) by Ratheesh T. contemporary artwork
Ratheesh T.I Am (Cleaning Pond), 2015Oil on canvas
78 x 96 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery

Ratheesh T. Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, RED II at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Open Now
8 April–3 June 2021 Group Exhibition RED II Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Ratheesh T., Recent Paintings at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Closed
5 September–20 November 2018 Ratheesh T. Recent Paintings Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Nine Painters From Kerala at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Closed
9 March–3 May 2018 Group Exhibition Nine Painters From Kerala Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai

Ratheesh T. Represented By

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