“I am fascinated by the form on the space.
I go with them on a voyage of discovery
to understand their complexity and simplicity. 
Finally, I see things existing 
in the purest of forms.
Space and form are interwoven,
merged into one another,
until the original form becomes
intangible, imperceptible, sublime…”   
- A. V. Ilango


A.V.Ilango (b. 1950)


A self-taught artist, A.V.Ilango made his debut in the art scene in 1973 on completing his Masters in Mathematics at the Bengaluru University. Inspired by his childhood memories spent in Gobichettipalayam, the artist vividly recalled the harvest, fairs and festivals that resounded with folk songs, music and dance, the drumbeat and tinkling of the ankle bells, Ochre musicians and dancers that enlivened the crowd with leaps and swirls in ecstasy. These were some of the images he captured on his earlier canvas. He was also inspired by the architectural and sculptural splendours of Madurai temples, folk dances like Karagam, Kavadi, and Oyilattam and later on Odissi in the Utsav series that was a pure celebration of dance.


The artist opines that his way of conceptualizing, as a mathematician, has contributed a lot to his artistic research. He values the linear quality in his oeuvre, and the development of a concept and the motif. Besides the human figure, the artist has been engaged in capturing in painting and sculpture, the essence of the Bovine. According to him, cows and bulls form the very idiom of primitive, folk and classical arts of India. He continues to experiment with space, form and line and is heading towards capturing movements with abstract expressions.


His solo shows are ‘Space.Line.Form’ in 2016, ‘Utsav’ in 2010, ‘The Bovine Principle’ in 2008, ‘Under the Spell’ in 2005, ‘Women Series’ in 2004, ‘Chennai Series’ by British Council in 2002 & 2003 at Forum Art Gallery, Chennai , ‘Rhythm 2011’ in 2011, ‘Utsav’ in 2007, ‘Stree Mayam’ in 2002, and  in  2000, 2001, 2011, 2013 & 2014 at Jamaat Gallery, Mumbai, ‘Revisiting  Silapathikaram’ in 2019, ‘Utsav 2012’ in 2012, ‘The Bull’ in 2011, ‘Second Reincarnation’ in 2007 and ‘Utsav’ in 2005, at Sutra Dance Theatre,  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ‘Rhythm 2011’ at Time and Space Gallery, Bengaluru and ‘Utsav’ at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi in 2011, ‘Utsav 2008’ at Art Space The Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  and ‘Introspection’ at Tamarind Art Council, New York, USA in 2008, ‘The Bovine Principle’ at Art Smart Gallery, Trivandrum in 2007, ‘Utsav’ at San Francisco, USA,  at Hotel Windsor Manor, Bengaluru and at the Indian Consulate General, New York, USA in 2006, ‘Under the Spell’ at National Theatre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2005, at Hotel Lyon Est, Lyons, France in 2004, ‘Women Series’ by Forum Art Gallery at Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru in 2003, ‘Line. Space. Rhythm’ by the Bullukian Foundation, Lyons France and ‘Utsav’ at Lakshana Art Gallery, Bengaluru in 2002 and at Hyderabad in 2001, at Dauphin Gallery, Singapore in 1999, ‘Bull and Beyond’ in 1998 and in 1980 & 1984 at Alliance Françhaise, Chennai, Silapathikaram & Manimegalai’ at British Council Division and The Book Point, Chennai in 1996, at Grindlays Art Gallery, Chennai in 1989, 1991 & at New Delhi in 1996, ‘The Chennai Series, Landmark’, Chennai in 1997  and at  The Bhownagree Gallery, The Commonwealth Institute, London in 1995, ‘Rhythm 94’ at British Council Division, Chennai in 1994, at Chola Art Gallery, Chennai in 1990, at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1986 & 88, ‘Rhythm 85’ at C.P. Art Centre, Chennai and at Alliance Française, Bengaluru in 1985 and at Pandian Hotel, Madurai in 1980.


Some of the National and International Exhibitions that he has participated were ‘Identity and Experience’ by Forum Art Gallery, Chennai at Gnana Arts, Singapore in 2019, at Salon d’Automne, Paris in 2018, at India Art Festival, New Delhi in 2016, at India Art Festival Mumbai by Forum Art Gallery, Chennai in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016, Malaysian Art Expo, Dubai Art Festival, International Art Show, Singapore in 2012-15, International Art Expo at Sutra Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2009, Indian Art Show, Taipei, Taiwan and ‘Stirring  Odissi Festival’ at Petronas Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2008, International Art Fair, by Birla Art International at New York, USA in 2006, Salon de CREAC, Lyons, France in 2003, ‘Salon d’Automne’, European Academy of Arts, Paris, France in 2002, Salon de l’Ile de France, Brétigny sur Orge, France in 2001, Salon International de Printemps, Lyons Fine Arts Society, Lyons, France in 2001 – 09, ‘Art and Human Form’, National Exhibition in 1998, ‘Golden Jubilee of Independence’ in 1997, National Kala Mela in 1993 and State Exhibition in 1981 – 1991 at Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, National Exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 1992, State Exhibition, Tamil Nadu Ovia Nunkalai Kuzhu, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi in 1982, at Fifth World Tamil Conference Exhibition, Madurai in 1980.


The other Group Shows he has participated are, ‘Identity and Experience’ in 2019, ‘Margazhi Musings’ in 2017, ‘Padme’ in 2015, ‘Interface’ for Art Chennai in 2014, ‘Concurrence’ in 2013, ‘Heart of Sculpture’ for Art Chennai in 2011, ‘Raas Leela’ in 2012, ‘Present in the Past’ and ‘Functional Art’ in 2010, ‘Lining the Street’ for Chennai Sangamam in 2009, ‘Oh Hanuman’ in 2008, ‘Inaugural Show’ in 2002 at Forum Art Gallery, Chennai, ‘Art Smart Collection’ at Travancore Art Gallery, New Delhi in 2010, ‘10/10 Anniversary Show’ in 2009 and in 2010 at Jamaat Gallery, Mumbai, ‘Art Fusion Show’ at Nehru Centre, Mumbai in 2009 at Aathreya Gallery, Chennai in 2008, ‘Madras - An Emotion’ at Values Art Foundation, ‘Urban Signals and Shifting Images IV’ at Birla Academy of Art and Culture , Mumbai in 1996 at Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in 1992 & 1994, at The Gallery, Chennai in 1989 at Sakshi Art Gallery, Chennai in 1987, at Russian Cultural Centre, Chennai in 1985, at Alliance Française, Bengaluru in 1986, at Chennai in 1984.


His sculptures have been installed at Kongu Engineering College, Perunthurai, Tamil Nadu in 2005, IT Corridor, TNRDC, Chennai in 2006, at TCS, Siruseri, IT Corridor, Chennai in 2011 & 2007 and the Police Memorial Sculpture at the DGP Office, Chennai in 2009.


Ilango has co-authored ‘coming home to eARTh - Space.Line.Form’ in 2015.


He has also illustrated for ‘Chennai not Madras’, Marg Publications, Mumbai in 2006, Translation of Contemporary Classical Tamil Novel of Kalki - ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ Volumes I – V, Macmillan Publication, Chennai in 1999 - 2002, Folk Tale of Manipur ‘Who will be Ningthou?’ by Tulika Publication, Chennai in 1998, ‘D’une Inde à l’autre’ by Odile Orsini Dumoulin, Lyons in 1997, ‘Silapathikaram and Manimekalai’ published by Orient Longman Publication, Chennai in 1996.


A V Ilango was the President - Association of British Scholars, Chennai Chapter in 2010 and he is the recipient of the International Artist Award, International Spring Salon, Lyon France in 2009, Paramacharaya Award by Info Network Management Co Ltd. in 2008, International Gold Medal at the Salon d’Automne, European Academy of Arts, Paris in 2002, the Jury Award of the Lyons Fine Arts Society Salon International de Printemps, Lyons, France and Jury Award at the Salon de l’Ile de France, Festival de Brétigny/Orge, France in 2001, State Award at the Golden Jubilee of Independence in 1997 and British Council Fellowship, ABS Chennai Chapter in 1992.       

Raas Leela - November 1 - 30 , 2012
ConCurrenCe at Kochi - December 8 - 16 , 2012
Heart of Sculpture - March 22 - 23 , 2011
ConCurrenCe - January 2 - 4 , 2013
Present in the past - August 23 - 15 , 2010
Utsav - February 6 - 6 , 2010
India Art Festival 2011 - November 17 - 20 , 2011
Alay Payudhey - November 23 - 30 , 2013
IAF 2013 - December 19 - 22 , 2013
Functional Art - March 27 - 24 , 2010
Interface - February 11 - 12 , 2014
IAF2014 - November 27 - 30 , 2014
PADME - June 30 - 31 , 2015
PLETHORA OF GODS - October 14 - 14 , 2015
IAF - Delhi 2016 - January 14 - 17 , 2016
SPACE. LINE. FORM - April 2 - 7 , 2016
IAF - Mumbai 2016 - October 6 - 9 , 2016
MARGAZHI MUSINGS - Savouring the Art of Margazhi - December 21 - 11 , 2018
Identity and Experience - 2019 - November 20 - 29 , 2019
Reflections - March 14 - 18 , 2020

A. V. Ilango