Laxma Goud: Solo Exhibition

19 Mar 2009 – 14 Apr 2009

Aicon Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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Through the 1970s K. Laxma Goud explored the technique of etching building on the visual language he had developed in the drawings and woodcuts he made in the 1960s. Goud had studied both printmaking and mural painting between 1963 and 1965 after his initial diploma in drawing and painting, so this progression was consistent with his academic development. Many of the resulting works featured figures who through Goud's use of the etched line, visually blend into each other or into neighbouring figures, animals or the landscape. The overall effect is a body of works that gesture towards mythological ideas around transformation. For example his 1972 work, 'Untitled (Man with Goats Near Tree)' seems, on first site, to show the simple pastoral scene. Yet on closer inspection, Goud's use of the etched line works in a way to suggest unlikely parallels. The flattened effect caused by etching means that the goat immediately next to the goatherd is bisected by him, rather than being behind him. Furthermore, the hairs on the man's chest are rendered with the same weight as the fur of the goat — in effect there is an odd continuity between the man and the goat. The second goat, further to the right, similarly seems to extend from the first goat. And above both goats seems a ghostly female figure, rendered through much less defined area; except that instead of a head, a tree rather enigmatically sprouts upwards. Man, woman, goat, tree are linked in a continuous visual plane through the clever use of etched line, each bleeding into the other, creating a tableau where each element is in the process of transforming what is next to it. Goud had explored this idea of transformation before — for example in his 1964 woodcut, 'Untitled (Black and White With Three Figures), the two female figures seem embedded in the background through the use of line. He would also do so in works in other mediums — for example his ink on paper work from 1979 'Untitled (Cow Woman).' And many commentators have noted the playful conjoining of man, woman and animal in bucolic and Bacchanalian bliss through his oeuvre. However, it has not really been noted just how much Goud's choice of the medium of etching enables some very strange equivalences — birds emerge from the top of women's heads; bulls seem to morph into trees that in turn morph into naked figures. Goud's playful works from this period suggest less an idealized pastoral vision (as later commentators have shoehorned him into) but a darker, wittier world where things take one form before shifting out of them and into another; a mythological world of tricksters and shapeshifters. K. Laxma Goud was born in 1940 in Nizampur, Andra Pradesh and studied in Hyderabad. He has exhibited widely in India, USA, South America and Europe, including solo shows at Aicon Gallery, New York, (2007), Galerie 88, Delhi (2009), Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai (2006) Grey Art Gallery, New York (2001). He lives and works in Hyderabad.

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