Behind The Frame

Achutan Kudallur

Achutan Kudallur

Achutan Kudallur. Civil Engineer and hobbyist writer. Today one of India’s top-notch artists. Coming from a family that religiously follows Gandhian values and the preaching’s of the great Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda, it is no wonder his art is exciting, energetic and yet tranquil, the very qualities practiced and preached by these great men.

Achutan’s works are a study in contrast. Where there is a joyous riot of colors in one frame, there is total melancholy and sometimes even tragedy, in the next. To communicate so much through a non-figurative style is quite a feat in itself. That said, his oils are never about any conversation, they do not involve in dialogues with the viewer. They are just a communion of colors yet there is no riot, just a unique sense of calm. The colors work on the mood of the viewer. An Achutan oil has the innate ability to be whatever you want it to be – in an ethereal sense. Besides being rated as one of India’s topmost artists, Kudallur has a huge collection of portrait and illustrations for his own stories, which have been published in prominent fortnightly magazines.

So said the artist of himself, “Colors spread by its own logic. The problem starts when you begin to depend on certain shapes. It is like discovering an entire notation for a new language. A very personal vocabulary begins to evolve. It communicates very little, sometimes nothing! My works are my confession of my despair.”

Each Kudallur painting takes a color as its inspiration. He describes each painting with affection as ‘his blue’ or ‘his red’. While his work is oddly instinctive and emotional, it is always visually complex. Almost a self-taught artist, Achuthan has never traveled the beaten track. Each of his canvases has remained a journey exploring proactively his perceptions, feelings, and sentiments and translating them through the use of color. With a subtle play of color, his work is evocative and reflective of the varying shades of human emotion.

A recipient of the National Academy Award and Tamil Nadu Lalit Kala Akademi Award, Achutan is a widely traveled person. Apart from sixteen solo shows all over India, sponsored by major art galleries and institutions, he has been part of most important juried and curated group exhibitions, such as Sothebys India sale in London, New South Delfina Gallery, London, Homage to Arthur Rimbaud in India and France and Heart Intuitive Logic Exhibition.

He has to his credit several institutional commissions including Air India, Mumbai. His works are part of several individuals and institutional collections like the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Air India, Glenberra Museum, Japan, and with other collectors in India and abroad.


To see artworks by Achutan Kudallur, click here


Self-taught artist



2010 'Black is Beautiful', India Fine Art, Mumbai

2009 'Indian Harvest', presented by Crimson - The Art Resource, Singapore

1995 British Council Division, Chennai

1983 Alliance Francaise Art Gallery, Chennai

1981, 86, 88, 93, 2003 Jag, Mumbai

1979, 80 LKARC, Chennai

1977 MMB, Chennai

Has held numerous shows at Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and all over India, sponsored by major art galleries and institutions.



2009 ‘Deep In Black’, Galerie Muller and Plate, Munich

2007 Chawla Art Gallery, New Delhi

2006 ‘Chennai Excite’, The Noble Sage Art Gallery, London

1999 South Indian Arts & Crafts Exhibition, Dubai

1998 Gallery Maya, London

1997 Mareechika Art Gallery, London

1996 ‘Madras and Emotion’, Values Art Foundation, Chennai

1995 Maya Art Gallery, Hong Kong

1993 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

1992 Arts Acre Invitees, Kolkata

1990 Sakshi Gallery, Chennai

1989 Third Asian Art Show, Fukowa, Japan

1982-89 National Exhibition, New Delhi

1979 Lalit Kala Academy, Karnataka

1976, 77, 74 Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata



2001 Served as the Commissioner for the X Indian International Triennial

1988 National Academy Award

1982 Tamil Nadu Lalit Kala Academy Award

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