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Vivek Vilasini

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1964, Thrissur, Kerala, India
Lives and works in Bangalore, India

A Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Kerala University, VivekVilasani learned art and studied sculpture from traditional Indian craftspeople. His works focus on social structures and issues of cultural identity. The choice of medium, ideologies, political issues, he uses in order to evoke the conscious among viewer. Representation of his ideas in photography is his forte; the panoramic views appear larger than life leaving the viewer in a quest of search.



Political Science, Kerala University


All India Marine College, Kochi


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Vilasini's works are an attempt to capture moments in time

His work broadly incorporates transformations and questions of social settings and primarily focuses on the ever evolving global scenario. In the beginning, Vilasani participated in many group shows, and learned the technical know-how's until he did his solo show in 2007 'Between One Shore and Several Others', which established photography as his forte.

The artist uses large size photographs, which evoke existing and current ideologies of society, using sarcasm and 'the carnivalesque' existing in everyday life. He used traditional Kathakali dancers, all dressed up and captured in motion. Similar to the dance, even in photographs the dancers pose, give striking expressions and their gestures express the modern dilemma and political tension in a contemporary manner. Works like "Between One Shore and Several Others (Potato Eaters after Van Gogh), is the artist version, on the current transitioning culture. The "local" representation of the 100 year old modern European work of the famous late Dutch painter is very thought provoking keeping in mind the differences of time period, culture and thought process. The narrative in Vilasini's version lies in the costume, gesture of the dancers and the play of light. The work seems eccentric, as compared to the old, which was more emotional.

Vivek Vilasini, Between One Shore and Several Others (after Pieter Bruegel`s "Blind Leading the Blind"), 2009, archival print on Ilford silk fibre paper, 48 x 73 in

Vivek Vilasini, Between One Shore and Several Others (Potato Eaters after Van Gogh), 2008, archival print on hahnemuhle fine art bright white archival paper, 55 x 67 in

M F Husain's interest in him brought alive his artistic ambitions

He started his journey in art with making sculptures in schools, and won prizes through the course of his studies. He started taking himself seriously as an artist, when he was selected by M.F Hussain, for a show curated in 1991 in New Delhi. The artist uses large scale photographs and sculptures to depict the impact and transitions brought about by global exchange of cultures.

Vivek Vilasini, Between One Shore and Several Others (after Creation of Adam by Michelangelo), 2009, edition of 9, archival print on paper, 60 x 116”

His subjects and themes span across varied backgrounds

The artist learned detailing of sculptural practice from traditional craftsmen. The final art work depends upon his ability to choose topics from varied backgrounds. His use of religious motifs and cultural identities are a means to present the work symbolically. For example he has used Buddha figures, next to the crucifixion scenes of Christ.

He uses attractive material, like perforated vinyl for photographs, mounted to a hologram for reflective shimmery effect. The uniqueness of his work lies in conveying social messages with his personal signature giving it a different meaning which is new to each viewer.

Works like the “Coloured House “series, signify signs of prosperity in the new age. Use of rich colours and lavishly decorated residences exude an upbeat social life and that these houses enjoy a comfortable financial status.

Be it photographs, prints, sculptures or canvas the colour palette of his works are subtle yet bright and make the compositions vibrant and life like.

His passion for art urged him to experiment with different mediums

Vivek Vilasani can be rightfully said to be an all-rounder as an artist. Not having any background association in art did not stop him from learning the essentials required to be an artist.

It is clear that his passion for art drove him all the way from being a manager of an oil-additive company to a well known multimedia artist. He is well versed in the art of making documentaries, oil paintings, sculptures out of which photography is his forte. He says, "The photographic image is all around us - and they’re all seductive and pleasing"…."Street signs, posters, books - artists need to compete with them in scale. So I started doing large scale works; that's perhaps the disruptive innovation I introduced in Indian photography."

"I had 13 lights, and I just kept shooting," he said. "The models would relax then hold the pose, then relax, then hold the pose. In such shoots, you suddenly come up with one image that you feel works."

The idea behind his most popular work the "Last Supper", originated from Leonardo da Vinci's original, but with a twist. In order to recreate the magic of the original he presented women wearing long burkas, only revealing their expressive eyes, sharing their inner anxiety . They seem, sensitive, poised, but maintain the swirling turmoil inside them calmly. The panoramic view of the photograph communicates the conflicts of present day religion, love, politics, and lifestyle.

Vivek Vilasini, Last Supper - Gaza, edition no. 8/9, 2008, inks on archival canvas, 52 x 143 7/8”.

Vivek Vilasani, Include me out II , 2011- 2014, digital print on canvas