Born in Thrissur, Kerala, 1966
Currently lives and works in Bangalore
..my working process is a kind of extraction system, that draws on tiny concerns about uber urbanization, frenzied globalization and the visual/virtual stimulation therein, and folds and unfolds them into another reality to simplify their characteristics and relationships in order to build a new visual experience that is clear and vivid.
Murali Cheeroth was born in a small village in Kerala (India’s only communist state) and his work is imbued with issues concerning the rapid development of Indian society and the underlying violence that sometimes erupts as part of this process. For many years Murali Cheeroth has lived and worked in Bangalore known as the Silicon Valley of India because of its preeminent position as the nation’s leading IT employer and exporter. His palette is vivid, utilising unnatural colours more akin to advertising and the internet in an attempt to translate the speed and vigour of new urban India onto the canvas. As such he could be seen as a successor to the great painter of an earlier wave of industrialisation in Europe Fernand Léger whose leftwing views, account of industry and love of cinema (Murali Cheeroth has a background in theatre and a interest in cinema) echo concerns of another era of rapid urban growth.
The architecture of megacities as a construction of interwoven lines is a central topic in the colourful paintings of Murali Cheeroth. His paintings show influences of both his immediate environment and city life, they are focused on his interest in the physical and psychological aspects of everyday life and human emotions. Murali Cheeroth creates scenes in an unusual perspective where human figures are depicted as mythical and isolated at once. Often mere fragments, they are placed in worlds which are immersed in the glare of neon light, presenting a stark contrast to the realistically portrayed industrial sites and objects. The dramatic tension of Murali Cheeroth’s paintings is heightened by the contrast between the sharp lines and blurred parts. Different levels of reality are interwoven and placed in multiple layers on top of each other, creating a scene from several different points-of-view. Their collage-like structure makes the content of the paintings enigmatic and difficult to fathom.Despite the recognition value of certain shapes and objects, structures in Murali Cheeroth’s paintings are distorted, bent, twisted and deformed. The artist extracts visual moments from different situations and realities to assemble them into visionary and virtual structures.
Dr. Verena Widorn
Alongside Cheeroth’s interest in the energetic development of urban India is a sense of underlying violence the possibility of riot and an ever present sense of repression. In several instances, Murali depicts uniformed men, who are seen casually carrying weapons. There is an inherent sense of violence in all these works but the socio-political implications are carefully controlled and subdued. His idiom is stronger and the strokes fast and frenetic, quite like city life, the urban tribe, children of displacement, living in an emerging world, with new problems and new thrills. Violence apart, the artist draws on his theatre experience to capture the “active parts of human bodies”. Against the backdrop of a bustling city, a construction worker is hard at work while the city dissolves in psychedelic colours. “It is a celebration of human strength,” remarks Cheeroth, “I use pictures from press agencies to capture the right movement and gain precision. And computer wizardry does the rest”.