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C.F. John

Bangalore, India Born 1960
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Degree in Philosophy; Initiation into art at Gurukul Art School in Bangalore under artist, Jyothi Sahi; Also disciple of Anthony Devasy of Kalakendra Art School in Thrissur, Kerala

Selected Solo Shows

New Work by C.F. John, The Noble Sage, London (2009); Landscape Parables Exhibition, Malabar House, Cochin, India (2005); Mainz and Saarbrucken, Germany (1997); Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore (1997); Alliance Francaise, Bangalore (1991)


Selected Group Shows

'50.25.10.', Art Corridor, Taj West End, Bangalore (2011); In the Fore, The Noble Sage, London (2007); 14 Bangalore Artists, Hues Art Gallery, Chennai (2006); Indian Contemporary Art, Indes Media, Paris(2006); Titled Untitled, ARTrium, Singapore (2006); Open-eyed Dreams, Durbar Hall, Cochin (2005); 100 Contemporary Indian Artists, Mumbai (2005); Metrospective: Visual Representations of Metrosexuality, Mumbai & Delhi, (2005-6); Mapping the South, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore & Vinnyasa Premier Art Gallery, Chennai (2005); Landscape Parables Exhibition, Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi (2005); Water Lines, India Habitat Centre, Delhi (2003); The Art on Paper Fair, London (2003); Gallery Sara Arakkal Annual Show (2003 & 2004); Temples of the Mind I & II, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi (2000); Arpanas Gallery,New Delhi & Bangalore (2002); The Dance of the Indian Brush, Leboye Gallery, Jakarta (2002); 10th Triennale-International, National Academy of Art, India(2001); The Eternal Embrace, Dubai (2000)

We must sleep with open eyes,
we must dream with our hands,
we must dream the dreams of a river seeking its course,
of the sun dreaming its worlds,
we must dream aloud,
we must singtill the song puts forth roots, trunk, branches, birds, stars,
We must dream backward, towards the source
We must row back beyond infancy, beyond the beginning
- Octavio Paz

Plastic Patriotism by?
C.F. John

Flags produced in materials like plastic, to my mind, is an antithesis to the values
Our flag affirms and celebrates.
Our flag is symbol of our stern resistance against imperialism,
- A symbol of self reliance.
Our flag honours and celebrates labour,
- labour seen not as drudgery but an act of consciousness and spirituality.
It affirms our faith and conviction in the philosophy that,
"the Means should justify the End".
The flag affirms the value of authentic materials
- which radiate aura and energy,
-which has a halo of truth around it.
Our flag is weaved.
It is weaved with fibres to make a reality,
- Bringing a view of life in its totality.
An understanding of labour, material, spirituality-relationship among these,
An understanding of self reliance, freedom, celebration of life,
Interconnectedness, nonviolence, purity in thought and action.
Flags produced in plastic is an antithesis to the values our national flag stand for.
C.F. John is one of the most promising contemporary Indian artists coming out of Bangalore in Karnataka. His career so far has emphasised installations; the themes inspiring him born out of the natural resources of the land and the indigenous cultures of South India. In 2003 John executed his largest installation yet, involving the revitalisation of a 30ft wide, 35ft deep, disused well a few miles out of Bangalore. Prompted by discussion with people living in its vicinity and those who had once used it, John directed artist explorations and performance in the well, decrypting a space that in its present vacuum spoke volumes. In 2007 The Noble Sage showed a series of canvas paintings that described his aim to capture the grey area between that that you can see is believably real/physical for a human form, that that is actually possible of a body under force, speed, gravity or through human strength and, lastly,that that is possible of a human subject when his or her three-dimensional action is transformed into a two-dimensional image. For this series, 'Four Corners of a Line' (2006), John worked with an American performance artist, suspending her from the roof of his balcony by trapeze-like constructions or else responding to photographs taken remotely in the USA. The results are astonishing moments of unusual physical calm and motion arrested on the canvas. John is adamant about his methodology being constrained to the real limits of the body both that of his model and that of his own. Elucidating, he says: "If I was to say that you could lay horizontal across my open palms, you would say that it is impossible. But, if you were to run and jump flatly across my palms, for just one singular moment, the impossibly unrealistic is made natural and believable. It is this moment that I try to capture on the canvas." The intrigue for the viewer has an X, Y and Z visual axis: we learn that the abstract, colour renderings about the model are the microcosm of her clothes and skin, the atomic make-up of her fabric of existence moving before our eyes. We look into the image imaginatively at the same time as standing back from it, objectively understanding the human pose.

In his new series of works acquired by The Noble Sage titled 'Still. Silent.' (2008), John again plays with preconceptions of surfaces. C.F. Johns work subverts our participation as a viewer as much as he subverts the action within his paintings.