“Something from within is always making its way out,” says Chennai-based artist Kumaresan Selvaraj.
Born in 1983, Selvaraj explores the conscious and unconscious layers of perception, memory and existence through his sculptures in cement, wood, paint, metal and paper. Selvaraj has been interested in fine arts since school and won many awards for his paintings. His online solo show is called ‘Known Creates the Unknown’, at TAP 2x (2020). Other solo shows include ‘Lines of Sight’ at Exhibit 320 Gallery, Delhi (2019), and ‘Visible Invisible’ at Veda Art Gallery, Chennai (2014).
Selvaraj started painting in his high-school days. His transition from painting to sculpture and mixed media was smooth and necessary for his creative expressions, he says. He earned his BFA from Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai, where he gained both exposure and inspiration, especially from artists and art academics like L Munuswamy, Nasreen Mohamedi and Santhanaraj.
He was captivated by landscapes and made many plein air artworks during his college years. His constant love for travel has fuelled his creativity till today. “I consider travel very essential for my work. I travel regularly to local places as well as neighbouring countries,” says Selvaraj.
His work consists of tightly compressed layers of various colours overlapping each other, erected through different surfaces. “The variety of mediums used in all my works is not proportionate to the mediums I have experienced. The idea of the work is the primary factor for the choice of the medium. I do not choose my medium or material and then begin to work. Each work demands a set of materials. That’s how I have explored various mediums for all the works,” explains Selvaraj.
His tip-of-the-iceberg approach captivates viewers and teleports them to imagine and transcend between their inner existential conundrums and nature. His sculptures are dense and compact. He explores why the human mind wishes to be full of thoughts at all times and whether our minds require emptiness or not and, if we can achieve that emptiness, are we really feeling empty? For him, “Art enriches and enhances our life by helping us see it more intensely.”
Just like his sculptures, his personal experiences in the Indian cultural context are displayed through the density of the layers. He captures his own inner journeys through a vivid display of visual exploration. The layers of his work are often composed of old magazines that he finds at waste paper shops. The layers in his work appear like layers of mountain and of soil. “Be interested in many things. Stick to what you think is important, and do not compromise for other things. Make travel a priority,” Selvaraj advises aspiring artists.