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Valsan Koorma Kolleri

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1953, Pattam, Malabar, Kerala, India
Lives and works in Vadodara and Pattam, Malabar, Kerala, India

Valsan Koorma Kolleri is an important contemporary artist of India. He gained his reputation as a sculptor who explores newer possibilities of sculptural expression bridging art and society, environment together through his work.



Ecole Nationale Superior Des Beaux Arts, Paris


Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda, India


College of Art and Crafts, Chennai, India

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UNDERSTANDING Valsan Koorma Kolleri

The Repeated occurrence of the notion of the mundane and ephemeral

In Valsan’s work there is a consistent emergence of the idea of the mundane or ephemeral. It can be noticed in the usage of the material, the space and in the content as well. His forms inhabit an organic space.  His immense fascination and love towards nature inspires his forms. But interestingly apart from his sculptures in his paintings also such notion of ordinary has occurred like the Untitled series of paintings of people who had helped him while working for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012. They have remained in his memory which later translated as paintings in the show “The Shape Things Will Take”. So not only the environment but society largely gets reflected in Valsan’s works where he explores the mundane.

Valsan Koorma Kolleri, Untitled 3, pastel on paper, 48 x 61”

Metaphorical allusions about time through found objects

Valsan Koorma Kolleri has constantly being exploring the idea of using found objects in sculptural language. He transforms the identity of an object with his intervention, doing so he ponders upon the fact of us being dismissive of various elements in society. In his work How Goes the Enemy he brings out his interest towards found object as well as weaving it to produce a deeper sensibility. In this work he has used old springs and parts of grandfather clock which  is not only a fascinating object in itself but also something which connotes time, a theme often dealt by Valsan. For him time is indeed was an enemy in many ways which is also how society sees it. His allusion about time comes out metaphorically through this works.

Valsan Koorma Kolleri, How goes the enemy, 2007, mild steel, tempered steel, rust, copper wire, 24 x 79 x 32.5”

Eco-friendly Art, A concern towards the contemporary Global situation

Valsan in a very intriguing way has developed a different kind of sensibility towards environment and nature through his artworks. He has consciously dealt with the concept of eco-friendly art or artworks which resonates a keen concern towards changing natural spaces in contemporary times due to various reasons. He often uses such spaces and as well as materials which are discarded or being wasted, his primary intention being to use those spaces and materials which are being neglected and creates such work of art that not only create newer possibilities of visual language but also reflect a strong concern towards addressing such important  issues in contemporary times. For example his recent work in Kochi-Muzrish Biennale 2014 at reflects these aspects of his concern towards art. The work, How goes the enemy is made up of laterite which is a very ephemeral as well as very environmental friendly material. The site gets transfigured into a space where nature has interacted spontaneously with a strip of earth which once used to be a place of human activity. Valsan has not only created a sculpture but has been able to intervene into the space and has subtly transformed it into an interactive space between nature and art. The sculpture also reflects the passage of time symbolically like a sun dial, through shadows which subtly move as the earth moves.

Valsan Koorma Kolleri, How goes the enemy, 2014, laterite, mud and baked earth

Working with materials that speak of nature

Valsan not only from his ideas but also from his usage of materials creates a very interesting amalgamation of art and nature. He deliberately uses materials like laterite, wood, leather, bones, hair, nests and hives. Such use of materials helps him establish his ideas about environment in contemporary world where it is being dealt with very seriously. More importantly the role of human in it becomes epicenter from WHICH Valsan explores it further and to bridge the space between human and nature. Leaf Let into Earth made by Kolleri has very camouflaging element in it which deceives the viewer as it gets dissolved in the nature because of its material. He has used leaves and twigs to make the sculpture which fulfills the idea of environmental friendly artwork as well as speaks about how such ephemeral and mundane materials can be used and explored in a great extent.

Valsan Koorma Kolleri, Leaf Let into Earth,leaves and wood