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LN Tallur

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1971, Tallur, Karnataka, India
Lives and works between Karnataka, India and Daegu, South Korea

LN Tallur’s artistic significations stem from his confines within the rural countryside. His works epitomise the haunting realities of the countryside— bonded labour and accompanying poverty, and speak through a characteristic network of signs and symbols of the underbelly spaces of India and at the same time deploying a certain sense of humour.



MA Contemporary Fine Art Practice, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK


MFA Museology, MS University of Baroda, Gujarat, India


BFA Painting, Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, Mysore University, India




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The body suffers a violent transformation in his art

Tallur’s works often bring about a metamorphosed body in his works. He subdues the very nature of the way of mythological representation, and introduces a painful alternative. The bodies undergo decapitation, are split into halves, splintered or sawed off. This then carries out a radical re-formulation of what representation stands for. More often, these bodies mark out a spiritual or historical critique than any associated morbidity with the desecration of the body.
Tallur’s bronze sculpture Unicode, 2011, presents the frame of the Nataraja statue, the dancing Shiva without the figure within. The figure is replaced by a huge ball of rough concrete with coins on its surface. This anti-iconic representation coveys the comment on the irrational fear of money being evil, and trace the idea of changing value of money and the world revolving around it.

LN Tallur, Unicode, 2011, Bronze, coins and concrete, 183X152X117 cm

The interactive nature of his works creates a greater engagement with the audience

Tallur’s works often encourage the viewers to directly interact with them, to merely touch them or operate them. His works also have an olfactory and aural dimension, positioning the viewer in enveloped state with the artwork. This creates multiple points of entry for the viewer to engage with his works.
His Unicode, 2011, sculpture is frequently kept oiled, thus emitting a certain smell. The Untitled from 2011 sculpture of the heaving mattresses bear the sounds of lungs breathing. His ATM (Anger Therapy Machine), 2012, invites viewers to sit and pull a rope and feel the breeze emanating from a colonial styled hanging fan.

LN Tallur, ATM (Anger Therapy Machine), 2012, wood, bronze, textile, 144 x 83.8 x 72”.

The symbolic order is frequently mapped on his works

Indian motifs and symbols play a crucial role in creating the vocabulary for Tallur’s oeuvre. There is a persistent (dis)use of symbolism, imagery and iconography belonging to the realms of mythology, ancient art and architecture and the nation/state. This symbolic order is the frequented means to aestheticise the politics of his art. This is often reinterpreted in an absurdist visual language.

In Esophageal Reflex, 2006, Tallur uses the elephant, a formidable image in Hindu mythology and religion. This is twisted to show a tiny form of defecation behind the animal to show a certain form of vulnerability and allude to a subservient and calm state of the gigantic animal.

LN Tallur, Esophageal Reflux Part 2, 2006, Burnt wood and silver, 200x160x90 cm

His artistic language is simultaneously rural and the urban

L N Tallur, prior to him travelling outside the country for the first time in 1999, had a rooted upbringing in the rural countryside. He has been since commenting on the afflictions of the rural countryside—bonded labour and poverty. A global leaning is also apparent with an effortless engagement of the issues with a global audience, and him now working both in India and Korea.
Tallur’sUntitled, 2007, with the hospital bed and inflatable mattresses marks out the critique of the situation of bonded labour in the countryside. The torn mattresses, piled up one after the other, all held together in a tightened grip and the blackened silicon over them convey the visuality of a forced and unhygienic labour. The bed also gives out the sound of breathing, with the mattresses acting like lungs, inflating and deflating. The hospital bed and the battered breathing also point towards the image of an unhealthy physicality.

LN Tallur, Untitled (Bed), 2007, Inflatable bed, silicon, latex rubber, medical cot and forceps, 275x280x160 cm,The bed inflates and deflates like a lung with the sound of breathing

Traditional sculpting meets new age installation art

L N Tallur uses traditional forms of sculptures as recognisable cultural markers to create a link of familiarity with the viewers and then reinterpret the forms with post-modern installation devices to suit new age exhibitionary forms. The sculptures can be alluded religiously to their original forms as Chola bronzes or Jain sculptures, but re-created to synthesise with materials and form to make installation art.
Lamp (Deepasundari), 2010, are recreated with imitative Chola bronzes but again, in his quintessential reformation of statues, their upper bodies are replaced with chunks of concrete. But the bottom parts are in close affinity to the iconography of Chola statues.

L N Tallur, Lamp (Deepasundari), 2010, bronze and concrete, 55.1 x 39.3 x 23.6”.