Back to all artists
Next Previous

TV Santhosh

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1968, Kerala, India
Lives and works in Mumbai

T.V. Santhosh by the use of appropriation of media images attempts at creating a discourse surrounding violence and war. With his canvases, he investigates the political impact on questions surrounding the real event and their representation in popular media. He usually uses the negative/positive cutout technique with digital and print media images.



Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture), Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India


Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture), Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India


VIEW     Selected exhibitions     Text      Videos      Awards      Selected images      View all




Gallery Show Solo


Countries exhibited in


Museum Show Solo


International / national residencies


Years in Practice




Special Projects




Museum/public collections


Museum Show Group






Gallery Show Group


Art Fairs


Colour inversion as a technique and tactic to allow multiple-narratives of a single image

T.V. Santhosh’s paintings are charged with a psychedelic edge, the colours non-realist while creating the affect of a photographic negative by the process of solarisation. This inversion of colour, or a certain discolouration of the natural colour order becomes a device for Santhosh to create the alter-narrative. The colourful images that inhabit the human visuality via television or newspapers or the internet, are extracted and re-created by inverted the given colours. This transforms and subverts the universal narrative, thus offering multitudes of narratives instead of the single dominant one.
In Stitching An Undefined Border, 2007, the image of an aged man operating a sewing machine is inversed in colours, using the negative rather the given positive, furthering the narrative to highlight the undertones of minority politics and peripheral identity.

T.V. Santhosh, Stitching An Undefined Border, 2007, oil on canvas, 48 x 72”

A dire sense of apocalypse permeates in all of Santhosh's works

T.V. Santhosh’s works are laden with political and social underpinnings, with premonitions of a bleak future. His works borrow from an apocalyptic history while transposing it to contemporaneous terms to evoke a similar sense of foreboding. Terrorism and state fascism constantly makes an appearance through aggressive and totalitarian imagery confronting the viewer with the prophecy of an ultimate end.

Counting Down, 2008, is an installation that comprises of 30 fibreglass dogs with LED counters mounted on their backs. These LED counters mimic the doomsday clock with countdown timers, presenting the inevitable. These dogs are a reference to the ones used by Nazis while tracking down Jews during the Holocaust. This grim reference re-creates a vision for humankind of a doom coming soon, with the strict time-keeping creating a suffocating urgency.

T.V. Santhosh, Counting Down, 2008, 30 fibreglass dogs, LED strips, paint, dimensions variable.

The sources for Santhosh

The images for the artist’s works are derived mostly from newspapers and magazines. The topicality of the image and the surrounding narratives provide a fertile ground for art with political and social addendums. His art is a conjuring of the reality that is presented, then transmute into another reality that is hidden from everyone. The usage of the actual press images, though lends an air of authenticity, are then questioned and probed to reveal the hidden, thus subverting the very authenticity that the images had initially vouched for. The process of artmaking for Santhosh becomes an act of uncovering from the cosmetics that government and sponsored media abundantly use.

“Living with a Wound” is in aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Santhosh derives his forms for the canvas from the newspaper and TV images of the terrorist attack. The ‘real’ images provide the frames of reference for him to scan the for the truth and the multiple stories that are stacked beneath all that was constantly playing on televisions sets or appearing in newspapers.

T.V. Santhosh, a painting from the exhibition "Living With A Wound"

Hope co-exist as a theme in his works along with images of terror

T.V. Santhosh’s oeuvre might strike a chord with the bleak and the devastated, but some of his works, according to him, attempt to reinvigorate an earlier hope. This is to summon a peaceful awakening in response to the terror and chaos that he usually depicts. This depiction of an almost polarised sentiment of hope in his works, which always had an overtone of despair, reflects a humanising attempt in the thick of inhumanity.

His The Advent of a Saviour, 2007, is an image that is taken from a newspaper clip showing a pregnant Afghan woman undergoing a sonography test, pointing towards the birth of new life and hope of a fresh beginning in spite of the violence and deaths in the country.

Hope coexists

T.V. Santhosh, Advent of a Saviour, 2007, oil on canvas