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Sumedh Rajendran

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1972, Trivandrum, India
Lives and works in New Delhi

Sumedh Rajendran is known mainly for his sculptural works. He is a versatile artist who uses many different types of materials as mediums of his art including industrial materials like stainless steel, ceramic tiles, iron rods and leather that breaks traditional barriers of art and transforms basic materials into forms that are alive and organic.



Masters of Fine Art, Delhi College of Arts, New Delhi


Bachelor in Fine Art, College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum

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UNDERSTANDING Sumedh Rajendran

He uses various mediums for his sculptures

Sumedh Rajendran is a Kerala born but Delhi-based artist who is known mainly for his sculptural works. He studied fine arts first in Trivandrum and then achieved his graduate degree from Delhi College of Arts. His sculptures combine several rudimentary forms such as animals, daily objects as well as human beings and create hybrid species that are capable of violating conventional notions and stereotypes. He is a versatile artist who uses many different types of materials as mediums of his art including industrial materials like stainless steel, ceramic tiles, iron rods and leather that breaks traditional barriers of art and transforms basic materials into forms that are alive and organic.

Sumedh Rajendran, Another Half Crossing, 2015, steel

His domestic life gives a political colour to his works

Rajendran currently lives and works in Delhi with his wife Masooma Syed who is also an artist and is originally from Pakistan. They met during a residency program and had to overcome a lot of difficulties initially. But this cross-border romance adds an altogether different dimension to his life as well as his work. They had to struggle to stay together at the start considering the uneasy relationship between both the countries despite their shared histories.

They lived a nomadic life for a while, visiting places all over the globe. Now they have settled down in Delhi but their background helps Rajendran achieve unique perspectives through most of his works. His landscape is the crossroad of the social and political, the ruthlessness and privileges of power, coloured by an irreverence for authority.

Sumedh Rajendran, Aware Edges, , 2006, stainless steel

He explores global issues through masculinity

With the all kinds of conflicts, cannons, choppers, horses, murders, weapons and struggles, the sculptures of Rajendran acquire consciously masculine traits. However all of these have a purpose and it is obvious that he has been inspired by global conflicts that he has witnessed over his lifetime. Events like the US invasion of Iraq have had a profound impact on him and he has worked hard to translate the same to his own surroundings through his work. Such psychological and emotional conflicts have made his works melancholic and ominous. He explores the possibilities of complete breakdown of civilization, communication and everything that makes the societies work. That is what makes him explore themes like blood money, loyalty, false subsidies and fake promises. This is exactly why the masculinity in his work is not something to be sniggered at but it is has to be seen as something vital. He works almost like a vigilante, reminding us of the unpleasant truths that surround us and this is what makes him a very important figure in the contemporary art scene in India.

Sumedh Rajendran, Strong Trade, 2006, wood, imitation leather and stainless steel

His sculptures are spatial and architectural experiments

Rajendran’s works can be seen as a spatial experiment because they are three dimensional entities and also due to the fact that they have a solid architectural emphasis. The use of tiles, metal and leather create such a composite structure that takes inspiration from informal and unplanned architecture of modern Indian cities. He enjoys experimenting with forms as well as time periods, and he makes history come through his works. In this regard he has also drawn inspiration from his city of residence Delhi. It is a city with so many layers of history that are juxtaposed both temporally as well as geographically. Various periods of history here are not segregated but muddled and mixed up, as can be seen through scores of scattered monuments coexisting with modern architecture. Rajendran’s work can be easily compared with the same due to his effortless bending of traditional forms and rules. That is why he mentions that “Every figure, every incident has its specific architecture for me”. So, he finds narratives in every structure that eventually permeate through to his own structures.

Sumedh Rajendran, Downstair Rooms, 2010, graphite, charcoal and imitation leather on paper

His dynamic sculptures dramatize contemporary issues

Structures created by Rajendran try to ignore the conventional stasis imposed on them by their physical definition of mass, volume and location. In a way, he is able to infuse a sense of imagination inside the viewers too. These works are so vast and vivid that one can probably look at them as a tableaux vivant rather than as mere sculptures. There are human beings, animals and hybrid creatures, all of them look as if they are about to move at any point of time. They are marked by a distinctive amalgamation of conventional finesse with incredible versatility aided by a strong grasp of global issues and social as well as cultural relationships. From nuclear war to ethnic cleansing to road rage to satellite surveillance, every modern day issue finds mention in his works. He dramatizes the issues to evoke extreme reactions and play with the continuously shifting roles victims and oppressors in the complex society of the present.

Sumedh Rajendran, People Paid, 2007, wood and tin sheet