The other day, I went with a friend to meet an artist called Mr. Subramaniam. He is a collage artist. The works are very appealing and are liked by many all around the world. His collage is also getting auctioned at Christies! Talk about elite company!


A collage modeled after Mr. Subramaniam’s daughter, who passed away a few years ago.

The artist is a very nice person; he welcomes anybody interested to know more about his works including youngsters ranging from the age of five! And his wife makes really good coffee and goodies…. Maybe that’s why he’s famous! Lol…

The most interesting part of his work is the material he uses. The collage is made out of the pages of national geographic magazines. When u look at the figure u see that the face might be made up of anything ranging from a landscape or a brick wall, the clothes could be made out a turtles back or a pharaoh’s crown. But when one looks at the complete collage, nothing seems out of place! Lord Ganesha’s eyes were made out camera lenses, Lord.Krishna’s earrings were made out of Gucci perfume bottles and his clothes had a whisky bottle stuck on it. Hmmm…I guess you need not be too conscious. Our gods are keeping up with the contemporary times in his collages.. The background is painted with the help of oil colors and they help the figure look more attractive. In most cases even the text accompanies the borrowed image. So one never gets tired of looking at the collage because you have never seen everything…You are also tempted to read what is written as well, though you know your train of thought might get cut in between.

Now what is the process that is going on in his works? Whatever is printed in the natgeo magazines could be considered as signs where an “image-text” relationship prevails. But in the collage, the sign is removed from its context and is ‘re-motivated’ in a new frame. Just like photography, where once you focus on something, the framed scene/object gets isolated from the rest of its surroundings and it takes on a new meaning in the photo frame. Consider for example the cover page of Nikhil Kumar’s book. It shows a mobile phone and a coffee cup. The mobile phone and the cup are isolated from the coffee house and they get a new meaning once they are printed on the cover page of his book. Imagine how the same photograph would look like on a book talking about addiction and rehabilitation!


The cover photo of the book, “Untitled” by Nikhil Kumar. Photo by Akhil Curam 

So …I was just wondering if our old text books could be put to better use instead of giving it away…since you know we never open our books until the twelfth hour. And during that time we have no time to open it. So they always remain brand new…and they remain so even after they pass over to many hands… but the collages will not be colorful and they will keep reminding us of our flunked chemistry and math exams…so I guess we keep those signs in closed books. And let the experts do the sticking…

Posted by AnuShh…