Veni, Vidi, Vici

Installation by L. N. Tallur in the South Asia exhibition

The site-specific installation by the renowned contemporary artist L. N. Tallur (born 1970 in Karnataka, India) from 2022 consists of terracotta roof tiles and sculptures. The artwork brings together two chapters from India’s colonial past. In the middle of the 19th century, German-speaking missionaries from the Basel Mission came to Mangalore in South India, where Tallur grew up and lived. To provide work for the Indian converts, they founded a roof tile factory. The product was made from local clay using technologies and patterns imported from Europe.


Around the same time, clay figurines of wandering ascetics or yogis in extreme postures were made in Mumbai for anthropological display purposes. The British and Indian elite viewed the yogis with suspicion and often saw them as criminals and propagators of superstition. Tallur’s yogis were inspired by figures from the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai (founded in 1855).


Tallur sees similarities between the efforts of the missionaries – many of whom died of tropical diseases – and the yogis’ quest for liberation and immortality. Both speak of the fragility of the human body and our efforts to overcome this fragility. It is also what draws Tallur to terracotta, a material he has been working with for many years.


The installation was acquired in 2022 with funds from the central fund. It complements the Linden-Museum’s world-famous collection of terracotta art from South Asia, which ranges from sculptures dating back more than 2,000 years to modern and contemporary works of art.


€ 4/3 for all permanent exhibitions