For the 36 year old this is introspection in full bloom.
As a vicenarian, while doing Masters of Fine Arts, Janarthanan Rudhramoorthy got an opportunity for his first solo show with Apparao Gallery in Delhi and Chennai. The promoter and curator of the gallery – Sharan Apparao, who had done stints with the likes of INTACH, Smithsonian and Christie’s found this idiosyncratic emerging contemporary talent courageous to carve a niche instead of taking the typical stance. At that time his work was related to home and aspirations. Later he moved to ‘self’ combining skilled technical craftsmanship with an idea and imagery so direct that it worked for her!
Thereon, since 4 years the Chennai man has been busy making 2D and 3D body sculptures, without reaching saturation point yet. His 25 such works in metal, resin, wood and paper have been shown at the India Art Fair since 2018. Captivated by his deliberate attempts to reveal little else but subtle thoughts through each work, we tried to learn more about the taciturn artist, from the horse’s mouth itself.
MD: Who encouraged you to pursue art?
JR: My middle school art teacher Mr. Jeevanandham nudged me to pursue a career in arts. He guided me to join Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai.
MD: Were you able to continue your art practice during the pandemic lockdown?
JR: Thankfully, my studio and home are in the same compound. And I had procured all my art material just before the lockdown so was able to continue working smoothly. Have also sketched to journal my thoughts in this period.
MD: How do you motivate yourself to keep practicing art?
JR: By distracting myself with a game of chess, badminton, martial arts or kickboxing.
MD: Which artists’ do you admire or resonate with?
JR: My inspiration comes from nature. After college I started practicing at Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai where I found Kumaresan Selvaraj, Saravanan Parasuraman, Ganesh Selvaraj whose works have resonated with me. I admire Antony Gormley, too.
MD: As an artist what would be the worst and best moments?
JR: The worst would possibly be our initial struggle of establishing oneself. Talking for myself I’d say my best moments are in doing what I like to do, with the freedom to select a medium or possibly the liberty to work according to my own will.
MD: Tell us a bit about your current series of body sculptures -‘Nest’?
JR: Painting was a medium I worked on during my initial days at the community studio – Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai. There, I was exposed to different mediums because of the experiments my fellow artists carried out. That initiated my journey of exploration.
I arrived at ‘Nest’ inspired by nature. Presently I am using iron and canson paper for it. It all began by casting my own body and constructing it with iron plates to form concentric pattern on its periphery, as a metaphor of thoughts and layers of the skin. To me, our body is the end result of matter and thoughts. If you’ll notice, the human body seems to move with such ease and fluidity. Getting those movements and their coordination was a task, which I borrowed from my own experience.