Akkitham Narayanan


Akkitham Narayanan,  born in 1939 in Kerala,  received a Diploma in Painting from the Government School of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, India. He then studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris on a Government scholarship. He is the recipient of the IV International Festival of Painting Award, in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. Narayanan's works have been exhibited widely in India and internationally. Akkitham Narayanan lives and works in Paris.

Akkitham Narayanan’s paintings are geometric configurations of abstract forms. With a predisposition towards the purity of geometry, he creates a fusion of Indian tantrik art and the European geometric art.
According to the artist, geometry comes from earth, a form of universal system, where everything appears simple and straight and therefore, rigid. But if we were to look at it in subjective manner, the perspective would change. Akkitham Narayanan’s creations are abstract in character, reflecting a deeper understanding of the nature and its varied colors and moods. The forms and colors that come repeatedly in his works remind the viewer of the chanting of a hymn, reverberating with the essence of life spirit. 

The artist oversees the picture plane with a classification of space through lines, angles, squares, rectangles, and so on. There is a clever use of color within each space, which may be amorphous and smudged in some areas, or sharp in others. The blending of triangles and rectangles has a lyrical, emotive touch. Within these forms one can see thin lines suggestive of the forms of cloud and elements like fire and water. Also seen is the combination of archaic lines reminding one of letters and snakes. The artist has been inspired and influenced by traditional Kerala architecture. His colors come from the mural paintings that had inspired him during his childhood days. The color black that he uses on the canvases too reminds one of ancient Indian wall paintings and murals. 

He creates the feeling of light by applying a thin coat of oil paint on the canvas and then erasing it. Using this technique to blend the colors, he creates an illusion of using watercolors and is able to retain the texture of the canvas. The color settles in the weave and lends the painting its texture. The technique thus lends a three-dimensional feel to the work. To break the monotony, he uses a knife to carve or draw lines and write out from the scriptures while the paint is still wet. 

Akkhitam Narayanan studied art at the Madras College of Art and Craft, where under the tutelage of the noted painter K.C.S.Panicker his art philosophy was truly shaped. Observing his adoption of many a religious symbolism into the scheme of his pictorial language, he realized the limitation and possibilities of the intended 'indigenous art lingua'. Recognizing the fact that the palpable religious symbolism could degenerate into another convention, which could help the proliferation of 'ritualism' in art, the artist consciously chose a path where the religious symbolism could demystify itself and become a part of the high-modern abstract language that defied regional and ritualistic boundaries. 

Developing an indigenous art became a pivotal issue for Akkitham Narayanan while he was staying in Delhi during mid 60s. In late 60s, he went to Paris on a scholarship to study art there and settled down there about three-and-a-half decades ago. His decision to settle down in Paris had made a lot of difference in the artist’s perceptions. His canvases became more and more refined. Irrespective of the medium, he experimented with colors and formal rhythms. Collapsing the figures into minimal forms, he naturally arrived at the field of geometric patterns, forms and shapes. Triangles, squares and circles, like individual instruments in a musical ensemble, started falling in place. Suggestions of the elemental aspects like fire, water, air, earth and ether started playing hide and seek in constructive designs of geometrical forms. Creative experiments that spread across almost four decades have refined his visual linguistics. Despite the conscious blocking of visual narratives from within the frame, a closer look at Akkitham Narayanan's works reveals that they are geometrical constructions, rather than 'formless' abstractions.

Solo Exhibitions

2011 - Gallery HUS, Paris

2010 - "Art and Religion in the Indian world", House of Researches, Paris Sorbonne

2009 - Indigo Blue Art Gallery, Singapore

2007 - Galerie Normand, Paris

2006 - Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi. KL Gallery, Kuala Lampur

2005 - Galerie "Mille Lieux du Monde" Servoz, Chamonix, Paris. Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

2003 - Municipal Library, St. Pierre des Corps

2002 - Galerie M & R Kolbein, Garbsen, Germany

2001 - Espace Lino Ventura, Garges-les-Gonesse

2000 - 4th Festival of Art & Music, Cornservatoire Andre Navarra, Charenton-le-Pont

1998 - Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

1995 - Chateau de Talcy, France

1994 - Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai

1991 - Galerie Seibu, Tokyo. Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai.

1990 - La Collegiale, Orleans

1988 - Galerie La Marge, Blois. Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai. Galerie Steintor Verlag, Hannover. Galerie Seibu, Tokyo.

1986 - Mukai Gallery, Tokyo

1984 - Galerie Seibu,Tokyo

1983 - Galerie Steintor Verlag, Hannover

1982 - Galerie La Marge, Blois

1981 - Galerie Seibu, Tokyo

1980 - Galerie Steintor Verlag, Hannover

1978 - Galerie Seibu, Tokyo. Gallery Miyawaki, Kyoto, Japan

1976 - Galerie du Haut Pave, Paris. Galerie Steintor Varlag, Hannover. Museum, Wilhelmshaven, Germany

1974 - Mukai Gallery, Tokyo. Galerie Steintor Verlag, Hannover

1973 - Galerie Steintor Verlag, Hannover

1972 - La Galerie, Paris

1970 - Galerie Transposition, Paris

1966 - Triveni Art Gallery, New Delhi

1965 - Max Muller Bhavan, Chennai




The Faraway Tree Gallery,
1, Kuppusamy Street,(same compound as Millennium Software), T Nagar, Chennai - 600017

Email: pal@thefarawaytree.com