Monday, May 31, 2010

'Expect 40 percent rise in art prices.'

Castlestone is anticipating a roughly 40 percent rise in prices to be realized over the next two years or so, as the market continues to recover from recent lows that it hit in Q2 2009.
The Collection of Modern Art Fund courtesy Castlestone Management invests primarily in Post-War art.

The art firm feels the stock market rally not only suggets clear signs of a far improved market sentiment, but also points to an upward trend especially as equity prices are significantly up from the dramatic fall in Q4 2008.

Stocks are considered a key indicator when analyzing the art market trends. Research shows that art tends to lag equities by almost six to 18 months. The Mei Moses All Art Index has established this fact. There is a clear co-relation between a favorable art investment outlook and equity market conditions.

Art can offer investors the chance to diversify their portfolio basket by diverting it from traditional asset classes. The recent recovery has thus increased the total sales volume at the Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art. In fact, Castlestone expects art prices to appreciate further before they enter a consolidation phase in 2011. Castlestone Management’s senior art adviser Constanze Kubern has been
quoted as saying:

“In times of economic downturn it has become apparent that museum quality Post-War art has not only increased in demand but also in value, especially artists who have manifested their names in art history due to their unique techniques and lifetime achievements have contributed to sell well.

“Modern/Post-War Art has shown to be a safer category pushing its share of global fine art turnover from 44 percent in 2008 to 48 percent in 2009, while contemporary art has dropped from 16 per cent to ten per cent for this year. Hence, we remain confident that the Collection of Modern Art Fund’s strategy of investing in modern/Post-War art is the way to move forward."

In essence, you should stick to your strategy irrespective of the market condition. Patience will pay, ultimately!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spotlight on contemporary Chinese art - II

With yet another major Chinese art sale at Christie's this week, CNN Asia decided to take a look at the Chinese art bubble and whether it will last or burst. This is how the article reads: “For many, the words “Chinese art” create mixed feelings. Admittedly, contemporary Chinese paintings appear to have rebounded from the economic funk of 2008 and are selling faster and for higher prices than ever.

Beijing-based artist Zeng Fanzhi’s oil-on-canvas diptych 'Mask Series 1996 No. 6' famously set the record for the most expensive contemporary Asian artwork ever sold, fetching US$9.7 million at a Christie’s sale in 2008. Forty-something emerging artist Liu Ye’s lampoonish 'Bright Road' fetched an artist’s record of US$2.5 million at a Sotheby’s sale in April this year.

But any discerning pedestrian strolling around the galleries of Hong Kong’s Central district will notice contemporary Chinese art also appears plagued by sameness - cartoonish figures, brightly painted canvases, and recurring Chinoiserie and communist motifs. Interestingly, the Chinese art scene is also getting increasingly varied and it is only a matter of time before investors acquire a more sophisticated appreciation of art.

Sotheby’s head of Contemporary Asian Art Evelyn Lin names a favorite: Jia Aili, a 31-year-old graduate of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art who just staged his first solo exhibition in Europe. “For many young artists of Jia Aili’s generation, cartoony styles are very common, and they’re focused on their daily lives. Jia Aili produces interesting works with a different angle.

His work talks about themes like the environment, and pollution,” says Lin. “Many young artists follow the trends of the market. That’s not healthy. To be honest, I think the cartoon style is everywhere, but their kawaii [cute] style doesn’t really say anything.”

Vinci Chang, Christie’s head of sales of Chinese 20th century art & Asian contemporary art, picked surrealist sculptor Zhan Wang, whose mercurial sculptures are currently exhibited in the US, as the next big thing. Also worthy of mention are auction favorites Zeng Fanzhi and Liu Ye, both distinguished by their caricature
cartoonist styles.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spotlight on contemporary Chinese art - I

Great things are now expected yet from upcoming Chinese artists. From calligraphy to gunpowder, Chinese artists have a wealth of cultural elements untouched by Western artists to bank on. The political and social turmoil Asian artists face in their homeland also help shape powerful, iconoclastic works that can hold their own against contemporary Western counterparts.Chinese art: a speculative bubble?

It also appears that the Chinese art stars will keep on rising. Both buyers maintained that the Chinese art market is actually undervalued compared to Western modern and contemporary art. Laughing off the suggestion that Chinese art is a speculative bubble, Lin says: “The Chinese art market is still at the beginning stage. In terms of investment, the price range of Asian art is still very attractive. Compared to Western contemporaries, there is still a long way to go.”

Vinci Chang, Christie’s head of sales (Chinese 20th century art & Asian contemporary art) echoes the view and points out that the sales of Asian ontemporary Art Chinese 20th Century Art at Christie’s grew 800 percent from 2004 to 2008, with a "growing international buyer base." The auction house refused to divulge in the exact figure.

Buyers’ taste for art also has room to mature, Lin adds. “Among younger generation of new art buyers in Asia, 47 percent of them are from mainland China -- a very high percentage. And they’ve only recently started to focus on the Chinese contemporary art scene.”

At this stage, about half of these new investors are speculators, Lin says. With more education, she expects the proportion of buyers with a genuine appreciation of the artworks to grow. “The images and language of Chinese art is approachable and easy to understand for the young Chinese generation. The market is very young, and with China’s strong history and more learning about the collectibles, we will eventually learn to appreciate (the artworks intrinsically)."

Is art priceless? This is what art lovers feel

Following are some of the interesting rejoinders to a virtual debate; ‘Can Art be Priceless? At New York Times website.
Reaction 1:”It’s not the question, it is priceless question. It is the question for claim. When we have to judge something, we do it in either saying: yes and no. But it is not the proper way of judging any object around us. There can be no judgment based on the principal of 'duality'. This principal only sees true and false. It only sees the two side of the same coin. It does not see the coin itself.

Art creation of any kind in any form. The creation itself is very precious. From our evolution to this very date, we have been judging several things and we don't know who we are, where we come from and what is valuable or pricier or priceless. To look more deeper into what is priceless and not, we need to fist investigate if something is worth a price or not. Art is the root of the holy tree. If we cut the roots, no doubt there will not be tree. The price comes second. The price is created by us after the art has been created by its creator...”

Reaction 2: “Everything anyone puts up for sale, has a price. We assign a price to skills, a price to land, a price to homes, a price to manufactured goods, a price to raw materials, and a price on services. Why is art any different? The price is what someone is willing to pay for a piece of art. Art, like gold and other commodities, doesn't yield a dividend, so you buy it and hope to sell it a bigger fool down the road. And while you hold it, you "enjoy" it and proudly show it off to friends.”

Reaction 3:“Why do people choose to invest in art and not in stocks or real estate - I would compare it more with people investing in diamonds. In both cases there is the illusion that it's timeless, and in both cases one feels that one is buying beauty. When buying these paintings what do people hope to get from this beauty? What are they looking for? If it wasn't for art's beauty people would buy stocks. What is it that people want from possessing beauty?”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Experts' take on whether art and creativity is beyond money

Here is three expert's take on whether art is beyond money. Denis Dutton is a prof. of philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand:

"Paintings and sculptures remain the locus of yet another kind of value. A painting is in principle the singular physical product of an individual artist’s hand and mind. Its complex textures and color gradations will likely make it impossible to trust the accuracy of any reproduction. As we see it today, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” is, down to exquisite detail, exactly what it is because of Picasso’s skill and expressive power.

"The painting is a perfect and irreplaceable record of a historic artistic achievement. "Whether or not you regard it as a great Picasso (personally, I don’t), it is a solid investment: Picasso’s place in the foreseeable future of art seems assured, and with it the interest and value of this painting."

Eileen Kinsella, the editor of ARTnewsletter: "The abundance of blue-chip artworks available this season sparked global demand. Experts tell me that when rare works like the Picasso, which was from a private collection and had been off the market for 50 years, or the $28.6 million Jasper Johns Flag (from the collection of the late Michael Crichton) come on the block, they will find buyers no matter what the economic backdrop since they are so rare.

"The reasoning is that the quality of the work will make the buyer confident in his acquisition, no matter what is going on elsewhere in the art market or in the broader economy. Buying right now seems to be concentrated at the high end of the market where, as one dealer told me, “a relatively small number of international buyers are willing to spend lots of money on a very small number of objects.”

Donald Kuspit, the professor of art history at the State University of New York:"The cult of celebrities among artists has replaced that of heroes. As long ago as 1961, the historian Daniel Boorstin observed, “The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark.” Picasso and Giacometti are avant-garde heroes to art historians; to the market they are big names, amplified by money as well as the media. It is this that gives their art surplus value well beyond its aesthetic

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What does experts state on art, creativity, investment and markets?

Denis Dutton: The high prices secured by top-end works of art are often ridiculed as somehow crazy or even obscene. Why is paying $100 million for an ugly downtown office building acceptable, while the same sum paid for an object of enduring beauty is a scandal? I rather find reassurance in the idea that in at least some of its forms, beauty can be a traded — and sublimely expensive — commodity.

Eileen Kinsella: Buying right now seems to be concentrated at the high end of the market where, as one dealer told me, “a relatively small number of international buyers are willing to spend lots of money on a very small number of objects.”

This is why we are seeing a resurgence in the market. Confidence has returned at a rapid rate. Spring sales in the past two weeks were over $1.1 billion, up considerably from the total for last year. Top collectors are fully aware that the best examples of blue-chip art have been snapped up by major museums and important private collections.

Donald Kuspit: The celebrities' cult among artists has replaced that of heroes. As long ago as 1961, the historian Daniel Boorstin observed, “The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark.”

Picasso and Giacometti are avant-garde heroes to art historians; to the market they are big names, amplified by money as well as the media. It is this that gives their art surplus value well beyond its aesthetic value.

Kathryn Graddy: The art market is alive and well. Should we be surprised? Frankly, there are not a lot of other attractive assets out there. Yields on Treasury bonds are
at all time lows, the current risk-reward profile of the stock market appears to be less than ideal, and gold prices are at dizzying heights.

The buyer of Picasso’s Nude (at a new record auction price) has invested in an asset that could act as a store of value both in the presence of inflation and economic uncertainty. This buyer will also receive dividends in the form of enjoyment and recognition — among friends if not the public.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bharti Kher’s noted sculpture will be on offer at Sotheby’s auction

Sotheby’s will offer on sale top contemporary artist Bharti Kher’s noted sculpture ‘The Skin Speaks a Language of Its Own’ in an auction event this June. The artwork - in the form of a huge elephant - has been much talked about. It is an archetype of India, her culture and history. It was sculpted in 2006. This is the first time ever the work will feature at an auction.

The life-size female elephant sculpture will be on offer at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction 2010. It’s estimated at roughly 1 million British pounds, according to a communique from the auction house. The work took her 10 months to complete. Every fold and recess of the sunken form of it has been meticulously contoured with intricately arranged patterns of bindis, which swarm organically across the beast in a second skin, noted the director of the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art section, James Sevier.

He termed it India’s identity in all glorious complexities. The sculpture is a beacon of the country’s avant garde emerging art scene. Zara Porter—Hill, Sotheby’s Indian Art Department head, said: “
Despite our familiarity with elephants, nothing prepares us for the emotional experience of seeing Ms. Kher’s elephant, huge and incongruous in the gallery space. With her head resting on her front foot, she is brought down to our level. Her glassy black eye entreats a communion and proximity rarely encountered in the wild. It is the most important work by this leading artist to appear on the auction market and will appeal not only to collectors of Indian Art, but also to the wider international community of connoisseurs of zeitgeist contemporary art.”
The art expert added:
“Sacred in Hindu mythology, Indian temples are adorned with stone carvings of the powerful, upright beasts that are worshipped in religious ceremonies. Throughout the ages, elephants have also been symbols of state power and royal authority in India... In the West, elephants have become a symbol of Indian culture. "
The artist ably personifies this creature as India’s archetype, culture and civilisation, by marrying it with the bindi. The artist lives and works in Delhi.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Transforming the realities drawn from daily life into coded dreams

Inspired by the familiar objects and landscapes, Prajakta Potnis transforms the realities drawn from everyday life into coded dreams, creating a make-believe world she depicts as 'a fairy tale suspended in reality’. She imparts a new dimension to it by inserting fictitious characters with a curious identity of their own, exposing the fragility of desire and the impractical romanticism of dreams. She stands out for her ability to rediscover instead of merely restating and documenting a piece of reality. She explains,
“The are of my work breeds between the intimate world of an individual and the vast world outside separated only by a wall. It resides within the four walls of a household where one’s life grows/ decays, wherein the ‘still’ walls transform as a veil and also as organic separations between the inside and the outside world.”
The artist builds a paradoxical situation around existing human habitation wherein walls are a metaphor of the closely guarded human territories. She subtly creates notations of the disregard and fragility inherent in everyday situations through and within them. In her installations and painted images, she exhibits an interest in the differences and the similarities, as perceived between human skin and urban walls by her.

The idea is to generate curiosity for both boundaries between the outer and the inner space of human nature and manmade constructions. Living in a city calls for a tough outer shell in order to tackle life’s challenges and literal, material shelter of four walls. Like the human skin, walls stand at the boundary between interior and exterior space. Both being vulnerable, the artist pays attention to wounds, disruptions and scars, giving a new perspective of seemingly familiar surroundings.

She began analyzing her own skin and then proceeded to scrutinize the texture and function of real walls, ones that circumscribe as well as protect the inner space. Once the walls start to crumble in her canvases, they create an entirely different space, leading us to a sometimes startling, new world.

Works by Francis Newton Souza on offer at Christie’s auction

An auction of paintings and other works by Francis Newton Souza, among India’s most celebrated modern artists, is slated to raise close to $3.4 million as art dealers bet on a recovery in the market.

A separately catalogued collection of over 150 lots of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and prints by Souza will be on offer at Christie’s International that takes place in London on June 9. The celebrated painter’s works are being offered straight from his estate, the auction house revealed in an e-mailed release.

Respondents in Indian Confidence Report of ArtTactic last year voted Souza as the modern artist most likely to have a market with high importance in a decade. At the peak of the boom in June 2008, his 1955 work ‘Birth’ fetched 1.3 million pounds at Christie’s in London, a new record for a modern Indian art work.

Auction prices for modern & contemporary Indian art have increased and tapered off in a matter of a few turbulent years. According to Artprice, the French-based database, prices for contemporary works rose almost seven-fold between 2000 and 2008.

Average auction modern & contemporary Indian works’ prices are respectively 18 and 63 percent lower than the their peak levels in 2008, stated ArtTactic, the London- based research firm. The founder of ArtTactic, Anders Petterson, was quoted as saying in an interview to Bloomberg:

“There’s been a shift in the market toward the moderns. Not much is happening for contemporary works and there’s a lot of uncertainty about values. Indian buyers are looking for artists of known substance.”
Christie’s senior vice-president, Hugo Weihe, noted in an interview:

“The estimates for the Souza auction will be half the level they were then. We wanted to be able to price the works conservatively to attract new collectors.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gallery BMB presents Prasad Raghavan's ‘Shot Tilt’

The first solo show of Delhi based artist, Prasad Raghavan takes place at Mumbai’s Gallery BMB. His interest in cinema and posters helped him to think more about creating a set of works, which subscribed to the form of film posters but deflected the narratives to a new zone of meanings. In those works Prasad was focusing on the very ‘idea’ of posters that combine image and text in order to encapsulate the essence of a larger narrative.

‘Shot-Tilt’ is presenting a set of works that explain the personal aesthetic philosophy of Prasad Raghavan. He borrows the title from cinematic terminology. In a tilt shot, what a director does is to change the angle of perception from the conventional. With a tilt in the camera and angle of recording, the director can see the things in a new light/reality. Prasad plays both in the mundane and the transcended. Interestingly, when he titles his exhibition, he even tilts the norm of the cinematic jargon; instead of calling it a ‘Tilt Shot’, he calls it, ‘Shot-Tilt’.

In his works Prasad Raghavan debates the idea of desire and false promises. “We live in a society that constantly generates desire amongst the human beings. We are made into consuming subjects. There are a lot of false promises around us, which make us voracious consumers. The result is garbage and guilt. My idea in these works is to analyze and understand desire and false promises through the creation of ‘false icons’ and the images of garbage, sin and guilt,” he states.

Considering the artist’s interest in world cinema, and in the ethical and aesthetical foundational structures laid out by the universal philosophy embedded in the Bible, his works should be seen as the proclamations of an independent enquirer who makes ‘Christian religious allegory as a secular process of sociological inquiry into man's greed and ultimately annihilistic relationship with nature’.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

‘Holy Smoke and other works’ by Ebenzer

New York based RL Fine Arts presents an exhibition of new works by artist Ebenzer Sunder Singh. He is one of India’s exciting contemporary painters and sculptors.

Ebenezer is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University. His new exhibition, entitled ‘Holy Smoke and other works’, comprises a group of portraits of famous creative ‘artists’, pictured with their personal accessory, a cigarette. The works show a variety of philosophers, writers, directors and artists, each of whom has personally influenced Ebenezer.

A press release elaborates: “The posture of each, defiantly smoking, seems to bond these ‘supermen’ together. Some of them return the viewer’s gaze, others we only look upon. The act of smoking itself as a creative tool, a lifestyle and even, a process, is expressed in these works. All these artists are a source of intense creative energy and focus, each blazing a trail in their respective metiers.

The addition of bulbs on the canvas in the Holy Smoke works are used as elements of composition and also, indirectly, as homage to the various personalities, much as one would light a bulb or a flame in commemoration. Also included in the show is the artist’s dazzling new work, ‘Dance around the Golden Calf’, which though seemingly disconnected from the theme of smoking, nevertheless, abounds with the spirit of creative energy that emanates from the colorful and ebullient portraits.

This Dance conjures up the spirit of Matisse’s famous ‘Dance’, and yet brings it into the present world, where possibly, the art world dances around the ‘golden calf’. Ebenezer’s wonderfully loose technique and style of painting produces works where brilliant color and bold brushstrokes lead to paintings that resonate with energy and life force. For him painting is cathartic, like a stream of consciousness, where the artwork is composed as it is composed, not planned and executed to a previous design.

Ebenezer seizes the canvas and creates vibrant paintings that celebrate the art of ‘painting’ as much as they celebrate human energy and inspiration.

Monday, May 17, 2010

‘Contemporary Art in India: At Home and in the World’ - I

Below are the succinct observations by art critic Keith Wallace on Indian art and its expanding horizons:

The context for the production of contemporary art in India is signifcantly different from that found in Canada, the consequence of an art system that is, or perhaps is not, in place there. Whereas in Canada artists have a number of options for the exhibition of their work, India has little infrastructure for the support of its artists.

There are, of course, private galleries in India, but for the most part they are conservative enterprises with vested market interests. Public galleries also exist in India, but they are few and far between, with many of them serving as rental galleries that result in exhibition programs lacking cohesion or direction, and that provide scant educational opportunities.

Having said this, India has a highly dynamic contemporary visual arts scene. Artists are well trained and well read. Yet, relative to the size of the population India is the second most populous nation in the world the number of artists is surprisingly modest, but the benefits of this is a cultural ecology that fosters close communication and a self-supportive environment. With an equally small number of critics and curators who can articulate and provide insightful analysis of the artwork being produced, much of the dialogue that does take place is primarily generated among the artists themselves, and they are generous in attending exhibitions within their own communities and not shy of frank critical feedback regarding each others work.

And it is perhaps productive to think about creative communities of artists whether they be in Delhi, Mumbai, or Bangalore in considering Indias contemporary art beyond a national perspective. While there is no representative or consistent style or trend that manifests itself in any of these cities, and certainly not across the country, the artists are well aware of, and connected with, the international art scene.

Painting and sculpture continue to maintain a strong presence in contemporary Indian art, but photography, video, and installation are quickly taking root within the visual arts, and have been embraced by the outside art world as some of the most significant art produced in India today. Like China, India is a growing economic and cultural force that has attracted increased interest and investment from the outside, with one benefit being the attention given to cultural production.

(Courtesy: Richmond Art Gallery)

‘Contemporary Art in India: At Home and in the World’ - II

Here is the second part of an essay by art critic Keith Wallace on Indian art and its expanding horizons:

Major survey exhibitions have taken place or are in the planning stages in cities such as Berlin, London, Paris, Milan, Vienna, and Tokyo. This relatively recent phenomenon might be yet another symptom of the growing cultural tourism that is making its way into the most obscure parts of the globe, but it is also in large measure an acknowledgement that contemporary Indian art is well qualified to be positioned within the broader international art arena.

Yet, in spite of the pressures of globalization to produce homogenous cultural commodities or what some might call work with international rather than culturally specific characteristics much contemporary art in India still turns to its own traditions, mythologies, vernacular idiosyncrasies, and cultural particularities. And artists are self-reflective about the world they directly exist in, exploring ways of tackling an encumbered past while contemplating an uncertain future.

In a society that is filled with vast inequities, startling contradictions, and complex social constructs, it is common among many artists to assume collective responsibility and bear in mind these aspects when conceptualizing their artwork. Such self-reflection does have its dangers, however, and has come under criticism from some sectors of the art world. It has primarily been directed to artists of non-Western origin who draw upon the iconography and content from their particular culture, citing it as a way of appealing to a Western desire for cultural authenticity and simultaneously kindling a market for their work.

This phenomenon manifested itself in mainland China during the past decade with not always satisfactory results; some artists catered to a demand for work that offered easily consumable Chinese motifs as a form of cultural branding. But within emerging nations that are finding themselves having to adapt to international protocol, economic systems, and even political ideologies, there is a cautionary approach to not unequivocally sell out to globalizing pressures.

Instead, many of these nations are finding ways of positioning themselves within the larger world while exploring, and affirming, where self-identity might find its sustenance. And beyond that, while the visual vocabulary employed by some Indian artists can appear superfluous, it does represent what surrounds them and reflects their everyday lives; not only as gestures of celebration, but also of cultural, social, or political critique.

(Courtesy: Richmond Art Gallery)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Correlation between top incomes, equity and art prices

There is a correlation between top incomes and art prices. A significant study by The researcher duo from Tilburg University, Luc Renneboog and Christophe Spaenjers along with William N. Goetzmann of Yale School of Management concludes that it is ‘the wealth of the wealthy’ that pushes up and drives art prices, a phenomenon closely linked to stock swings.

Their new research document, ‘Art and Money’, investigates the impact, if any, of equity markets and top incomes on art prices. Employing a long-term art market index that comprises data on repeated sales right since the 18th century, they demonstrate how equity market returns - both same-year as well as lagged - have a significant bearing on the price level in the art market.

Explaining the connection, they state: “Over a shorter time frame, we also come across empirical evidence that a rise in income inequality may well lead to higher prices for art, in line with the results of a numerical simulation analysis. Finally, the results of Johansen co-integration tests strongly indicate the existence of a long-term relation between top incomes and art prices.”

The researches reveal: “When the buying power rises, this can be expected to result in higher art consumption, and thus to a higher level of price in the art market.” How does one test that proposition in practical terms? To prove their point, the researchers look at stock market returns as a proxy to measure the wealthy individuals’ buying power, since they are the ones who buy art.

Curiously, the researchers also dug out evidence to show that art prices happen to go up when inequality in a country rises, though this assumption doesn’t hold true particularly for the post-World War II period in the UK. However, they do establish the positive correlation between art prices and inequality in the US during post World War II phase.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Preeminent collections of Indian art

A wide variety of wonderful works displayed at Prestigious museums worldwide reveal the way artists from different time periods have contributed to the development of an inimitable Indian art idiom and form, laying the foundation for modern visual culture in a truly global context.

In affirmation of the rising stature of Indian art on the international scene, The San Diego Museum of Art organized a groundbreaking exhibit in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in 2008, to survey the expansive repertoire of artist Nandalal Bose, outside of Asia for the first time. ‘Rhythms of India ‘featured nearly 100 of his finest paintings, executed in a variety of media and styles.

On the other hand, The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) houses preeminent collections of world art, including one of the most encyclopedic collections of Indian art in the US. It has an extensive holding that comprises paintings, sculptures and decorative objects dating from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the 21st century. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, who introduced ancient Indian art to the West, compiled much of the Southern Asian collection.

Stretching its rich collection to the present era, the museum is hosting ‘Bharat Ratna’ (Jewel of India), drawn from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri. This is an outstanding body of works by India’s most celebrated modern painters, including luminaries of post-Independence era like Souza, Husain, and Raza, who founded the Progressive Artists Group (PAG), an important artistic avant-garde at defining transitional moment in India’s art history.

These art works reflect the real India, traversing pre-conceived notions and leading to a greater understanding of the depth and diversity of the country’s rich culture, new-found spirit and dynamic way of living, which is unique, yet universal even in its Indianness.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tracking lows and highs of art market

The moderns, who had seen their prices eroded by 30-50 percent, have significantly been the first to shown signs of recovery, bouncing back fast by more than 30 percent. On the other hand, the contemporaries are recovering by just about 10-15 per cent.

According to Mumbai-based Jamaat’s Pravina Mecklai, one reason for this recovery could perhaps be that the estimated prices were lower than market prices. Still the fact remains that there is return of confidence and a sense of semblance in the art market. Many contemporaries had witnessed their prices go down by almost 80 per cent. Pravina Mecklai mentions:
“Between 2004-08, they found their prices increasing through manipulation. The artists who are doing well now are those that saw gradual price increases.”

Yamini Mehta, director (modern & contemporary arts), Christie’s London for South Asian sales, has been quoted by The Week: magazine in a recent report: “
Investors and speculators have fallen by the wayside. Collectors are coming back. There is now lesser interest from trade and art funds.”
Shriya Bubna of The Week observes that the contemporaries are still struggling, even though the old masters seem to have regained their market. The writer notes:

”Whether up or down—one price is an exception, two is a trend and three is a market. Going by this old Sotheby’s maxim, the Indian art market seems to be springing back to life. The winter auction by the Indian art house, Saffronart heralded the comeback. The old masters and established modern artists have again found buyers, but our contemporaries still have a tough time.”
Close to 90 percent of the moderns and 65 percent of the contemporaries on offer were sold. The auction sales were far better than anticipated, as over 62 percent of the works were grabbed at prices above the higher estimate, whereas the autumn auction had just about 47 percent of the works selling at higher than estimated prices.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bose Krishnamachari's new line of clutches

Bose Krishanmachari is known for traversing the constraints of canvas and unleashing his unbounded creativity. He often designs non-functional chairs and fascinating furniture items. Even his home in the state of Kerala, has subtly stepped into the fiefdom of fashion accessories with a ravishing range of bags.

This is quite in contrast with some of his earlier works, which involved installation, photo-realist painting and video art. What has caused this move? In an interview with Georgina Maddox of The Indian Express, he states that he has been toying with the interesting idea of a line of accessories - exclusive and yet accessible - for some time. Underlining Bose Krishnamachari’s popularity with elite collectors, the article notes:
“Shah Rukh Khan has a 6-ft canvas by him in his study and Tina Ambani possesses a diptych by him. The artist’s trademark bold abstracts, with zany colors and swirls, have long been a lifestyle must-have for the fashionable class.”
Now, one will be able to see society ladies carrying captivating clutches, which have the signature swirls by Bose Krishanmachari; his name elegantly emblazoned in dazzling diamante print on the front flap. The news report mentions that the artist collaborated with Tushar and Vikram Sethi of the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA).

Currently living out of a suitcase as he continues to travel around global art fairs, he will be in India to launch the bewildering bags at the end of May. Tushar Sethi has been quoted as saying:
“We’ve a limited edition of 200 bags that are priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,500. There are matching scarves to go with it. We chose bags because it was easy to execute. We plan to work with other artists on more products that will be exclusive to ICIA”
He informs that Bose Krishnamachari’s painted works have been transferred digitally on to the satin material of the vivacious bags.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A positive turn in sentiment for the modern Indian art market

The combined auction sales for Indian art raised a good $15.2 million (roughly Rs 69.3 crore) in March 2010, pointing to a rise in buyers’ confidence level. Sales of leading world auction house Sotheby’s well illustrate this: Its auction of Indian & Southeast Asian art in NY logged more than $8 million, whereas its auctions in March and September 2009 had realized just about $3.32 million and $3.75 million, respectively.

The all-important Indian Art Market Confidence Indicator (comprising both modern & contemporary art) monitored by ArtTactic shot up 26% to 62 now from 49 in October 2009.; This implies that there is far more positive than depressingly negative sentiment for the first time in last six months in the Indian art market. The 50 mark suggests that there are an equal number of negative and positive responses on the short term outlook for the art market.

A highlight of the report is the widening gap in confidence between the contemporary and modern Indian art market. The Modern Confidence Indicator for Indian art is almost 51% higher than the equivalent contemporary art confidence indicator. The analysis reasons that the reasonably established nature of the modern market has created a serene sense of ‘safe haven’ for a section of buyers, leading to its expansion.

At the onset of the art market downturn globally in late 2008, the modern art market of India saw a drop in confidence. But compared with most other emerging markets, the fall was rather modest. The new survey notes that more than 70% of the people surveyed believe that art prices have now stopped dropping in the modern art market of Indian.

This is a significant positive turn in public sentiment from the previous reading in October 2009. Then 61% of respondents felt the modern Indian art market would encounter further downward heat on prices. Anders Petterson, ArtTactic managing director made special mention of a ‘significant pick-up in subscribers during the last one year’.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Indian art auction market rebounds sharply

A clear rebound in the modern Indian art market seems to have brought back speculators into the fray. Valuations are rising and so the activity in the market, according to a report by ArtTactic

The London-based art market research and analysis company surveys several key players in the market. According to it, the perception of speculative element is on the rise again after a sharp drop in the first half of 2009, when the art market hit an all-time low. Their Speculation Barometer for Modern Indian Art denotes a significant 28% rise since October 2009. It’s now perched at 6.3, up from mere 4.9. This is probably the highest reading since the firm began its survey in 2007.

The speculation barometer measured on a scale of 1-10, indicates how market players view and perceive the speculation level in the market. In its measurement, 1 stands for the lowest level of speculation and 10 denotes very high level of speculation. Respondents are concerned that market might enter another bubble if it rebounds too quickly and too sharply, owing to speculative buying, the new report mentions. Anindita Ghose of The Mint quotes Arvind Vijaymohan of Japa Arts, Indian arts advisory, as saying:
”It would be fair to assume that in a young market such as India, where appreciation for art is not engrained at a formative level, speculation is bound to be a key driver. In my reading of the Indian context, most collectors who entered the market over the last five-seven years were keen speculators. In the current situation, there exists a section of speculators who consider this the perfect time to enter the market, and acquire works of modern Indian art at low values. Some prominent players are on standby to acquire.”
Importantly, liquidity in the art auction market has been greatly boosted after getting deflated and hitting bottom in 2009.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

'Indian art collectors have become wiser.'

The CEO & co-founder of leading art auction house Saffronart, Dinesh Vazirani, is looking to chart new grounds and to break new territories. Marking a decade long stint of the top auction house is a significant tie-up with real estate service firm Cushman & Wakefield, there will be a proposed offering of premium residential as well as holiday properties in leading cities of India.

The Harvard management graduate spoke to Garima Pant of The Financial Express on the revival of the art market. He shared his views on the fast-changing profile of new-age collector. According to him, the art market in India has remarkably recovered. He believes it’s one notch ahead of where it happened to be prior to the financial crisis that hit the global markets.

He added: “The art market should reach its peak this year itself. It’s the old timers proving their mettle and collectors are going in for modernists such as Raza, for whom the market level has come up,” he observes. “There has been a marked incremental growth for top contemporary artists as well. Sharing his perspective for the market this year, he stated:
“The markets have matured and so have the buyers. The Indian market has gone up very sharply with a number of collectors coming in. They are looking for the best quality and have become wiser. And, with a wide range of information and knowledge available, buyers and collectors have become more informed. Indian economy is doing well and India has managed to survive the global crisis pretty well. "
There were people wanting to come in to buy before 2008, but the price rose too sharply then. So they want to come in now and see if they can get premium values on their choice of artworks. The focus and interest of the buyers and collectors is bent towards the masters. The older generation of artists has got critical acclaim, making them more popular among art lovers. The contemporary artists, with their global appeal, focus more on the global market.

Commenting on the changed profile of collectors, he said that with a much better access to knowledge about various works and genres of art, they are now better informed and equipped.

An exhibition of select works by Gieve Patel

A new exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculptures by Gieve Patel cover a span of about thirty years, from the nineteen seventies to the turn of the century. It spans an array of themes, though the content remains deeply human throughout.

A self-taught artist dedicated to multiple professions, Gieve Patel has imaged a sensitive and acute awareness of the human condition throughout a 40-year painting practice. Sourcing inspiration from the quietude of nature and the pulse of the city, his work articulates a mature, restrained balance between figuration rooted in realistic naturalism and the freedom of painterly abstraction.

Along with three books of verse and three plays, he has written extensively about contemporary Indian art and, until recently was also a practicing physician. In an accompanying note to his latest exhibition at Mumbai's Gallery Chemould, critic Kamala Kapoor notes:

“Gieve Patel has long drawn and painted the ordinary, in terms of the everyday, and also the extraordinary, in terms of deprivation and dispossession in a way that draws these features out, in a way that might never have been particularly noticed before they came to be on the artist's paper and canvas.

"That the 'action' inevitably side-steps despair, is among the many strengths of the artist's works where, instead and exploitation of emotional consequence, the protagonists with their calculated awkwardness of figures, often go on to acquire a strange dignity along with a retrieval of lost humanitarian significance and a sense of social and spiritual identity."

If one responds fully to the work, one can recognize the artist's commitment free of trend or compromise. Here the work has no middle ground that can lean this way or that, and where his art has been for him a means of probing reality, nature and human experience, much of it refracted through a belief, a conviction, a world view.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

‘The Game’ by Ravi Kashi

The protagonists of his recent works on view at Sumukha (Bangalore; Chennai) and Pundole are the Buddha, the body and the chest of drawers – all assembled to form ‘The Game’. Each of them serves him as a screen for the self’s disquietudes: a figure of contestation between carnality and transcendence, between archived sensations and unsettling revelations.

‘The Game’ originates in the artist’s delight in arranging objects to provoke spontaneous auguries. Interestingly, he started photographing the different arrangements, which ultimately became a serious art project. He reveals, “I’ve been collecting objects that seemed interesting, but without any design. Suddenly unexpected meanings started emerging from the juxtaposition.

"This naturally led to a process of exploration and expansion of the association of meanings. It’s not to say there was no pattern to the whole thing: the arrangements were planned to some extent but as the shooting proceeded, fresh ideas emerged, new associations popped up.”

This whole process can also probably be termed ‘Photo-performance’ in the sense that it presents itself as a photo documentation of continuously changing installations that happen in the studio space. Apart from his two suites of photographs, ‘Engaging Buddha’ and ‘Meeting in Darkness’, Ravi Kashi presents a timed video sequence, ‘Chest of Secrets’ that gradually discloses the pattern of secret obsessions lying beneath the surface routines of normality.

A curatorial note by Ranjit Hoskote explains how through the objects arranged in ‘Engaging Buddha’ in variable tableaux around a Buddha head, the artist extracts and performs the tensions between time and eternity, the ladder to heaven and the feast of sensuous pleasure, the self as animal nature and the self blindfolded against the world’s blandishments.

Friday, May 7, 2010

‘Safe to Light’ by Riyas Komu

‘Safe to Light’ by Riyas Komu underlines the importance of the ordinary to restore the organic stability of the countries constantly facing the looming threat of terror.

As suggested in its title, the installation questions the notion of exchange – and also as what has made it safe and why it’s safe for it to light now, something quite pertinent in terms of the way drinking water itself has become a politicized topic and also in terms of territorial control, particularly in the Middle-East region.

His ‘Blood Brothers’, casted in aluminum, is a large work that has 196 pieces in it. Straddling both sculpture and a drawing, it refers to internal conflicts, among the most complex issues to fathom and resolve in this region. His painting ‘Haleema’ is a strong argument for the precious freedom of speech.

In fact, the artist has been greatly influenced by the subject of freedom. ‘The Petro Angel’, as mentioned above, is inspired by Jaffer Panahi’s film ‘Circle’ that amplifies the plight of hapless women in Tehran. The filmmaker’s ‘Panahi’ has also influenced and inspired a work, titled ‘Offside’. It deals with the popular game of football, revolving around five young girls, whereas ‘Fragrance of a Funeral’ touches upon the ceremonial rituals that follow death. A curatorial note explains:
“Based on the impression of a table surface, it holds a similar potential for its reading as a setting for discussions, of a place to hover around. It relies on the dip of the table remains without a set of its front legs, thus bowing like a camel sipping from a pond. The work, a cross between a table and a funeral pyre or even a forensic table, has multiple meanings.”
Curator Shaheen Merali underlines the fact that ‘Safe to Light’ is a set of reminiscences of fear and omission, the work is a weapon, an ode to weapons and castration, in reproducing the existing orders in fascinating twists.

Inspiration from Iran for art

Artist Riyas Komu has been using current political scenarios that center around Iran as a source of inspiration for his recent series.

Elaborating on his artistic inspiration, he reveals in an interview: “I happen to watch a lot of Iranian cinema. A film about the suppression faced by females there deeply impacted me. But the same chauvinistic tendencies can be witnessed and similar agony can be experienced in any part of the globe. Terror, war, chaos, chauvinism, and exploitation cut across regions and races. When I depict them in my work, I am sharing these things at a universal level.”

His new set of works, after having been unveiled to art lovers in Tehran, will be showcased in Mumbai later this year. It comprises sculptures that are truly monumental in scale. Also noteworthy for the usage of carved wood, they tend to stray between a curiously mystical place of gothic pedagogy where signs and power cause a heady mix, apparently suggestive of knowledge in a fixed monumental strait, and certain plays with the effects of a raging realm in the 20th and 21st century.

Uma Nair mentions in a review essay how ferment of war and its catharsis provides the artist with his subjects. The renowned critic notes: “The artist in him is always questioning. He plays the observer as well as the participant often mulling on the elegiac, the elusive and the emblematic to make sure that his aesthetic scheme delivers.

”What then ensues is a resonant requiem, as one tries to explore the incisive thought, which goes into the creation of each artwork. Installations in his psyche have been invariably molded more in the legion of the epitaph.” It fulfills two motives. Grievous faults and events are elucidated artistically, and so also one’s contemporary experience of them.”

Thukral & Tagra at Richmond Art Gallery

The exhibition ‘In Transition:New Art from India’ at Richmond Art Gallery features installation-based work by R namely Shilpa Gupta, Reena Kallat, TV Santhosh, SudarshanShetty, artist collective Thukral & Tagra, and Hema Upadhyay. Following are the related events as part of the India show, among India’s most recognized contemporary artists. Her work often explores the places where the public and the private intersect.

Jiten Thukral was born in Jalandhar, Punjab and received his Bachelor of Arts from Chandigrah Art College and his Master of Fine Arts from New Delhi College of Art. Sumir Tagra was born in New Delhi and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New Delhi College of Art, New Delhi and his Post Graduate Diploma from the National Institute of Desgn, Ahmedabad Shankar of Arts ,New Delhi. Thukral and Tagra currently work as a collective based in New Delhi.

The artist collective Thukral & Tagra present their work under the trade name of Bosedk Design. The Anglicization of an abusive term in Punjabi, Bosedk can be read as an adolescent stance taken in defiance of all that is serious and adult, ensuring that the artists never take themselves too seriously.

Working under Bosedk Design permits Thukral & Tagra to delve unrestrictedly into all media and forms, including corporate commissions, since the notion of “selling-out” is part of their artistic enquiry. The creation of a faux-industrial line of products, branded as “Everyday Bosedk”, allows the artists to challenge the values of fine art fabrication and the art market by using industrial processes to create everyday, disposable objects within the context of “high art”.

'Keep Out of Reach of Children' plays into this strategy, presenting ordinary plastic bottles on commercially produced shelving units. Through the use of commissioned labels and their strategic placement on the shelving unit however, the artists reveal the social critique underlying their work. In the current exhibition, standing at a distance from the work allows the viewer to note the deliberate arrangement of objects that create the form of an armored tank.

The title repeats a common warning found on everyday household products, exhorting care, responsibility and proper supervision of those in power to safeguard those who must be protected.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reena Kallat and Hema Upadhyay’s new works

Reena Kallat, born in New Delhi, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. She currently lives and works in Mumbai. Her ‘Lunar Notes’ and the accompanying photographic installation, ‘Anonymously Yours’ is on view at Richmond Art Gallery. It grew out of the artist’s fascination with what she calls 'lovegraffiti'— testaments of affection in the form of names or initials scratched on the walls in public places.

Her work often incorporates names, which act as the stand-ins for personal identity. Lunar Notes consists of hundreds of bonded-marble beads, each carved with names of lovers, “strung vertically like raindrops” into a curtain. From a distance the beads can be seen to form an image of the Taj Mahal, the now public monument built as the ultimate (private) symbol of love. Like the Taj Mahal, Lunar Notes balances between the public and the private, the monumental and the intricate. Yet, where the mausoleum has traversed from being a private declaration to a national symbol, the curtain has conjoined the two realms, in a sense democratizing it, by literally inscribing the image with individual names.

Hema Upadhyay’s ‘Loco-Foco-Motto’ is part of a series she has been working on since 2007. Constructed of thousands of un-ignited matchsticks assembled into elaborate chandeliers, these pieces embody a trend in her work, which explores violence co-existing with beauty. A nascent violence is implied in these works, a commentary on the hostilities, intolerance and cruelty that touches so many lives throughout the contemporary world.

At once delicate, nostalgic and yet dangerous, the disparity of creating a chandelier out of matchsticks takes the object out of the realm of logic and situates it firmly in the metaphoric.
Hema Upadhyay, born in Baroda, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts from the Fine Arts Faculty of the Maharaga Sayagirao University Baroda in 1995 and 1997 respectively. She curently lives and work in Mumbai. Her work often reveals a concern with issues of migration and displacement, gender, and class.

Encapsulating the vibrancy and vitality of Nalini Malani’s practice

The vibrancy and vitality of Nalini Malani’s practice is evident in select video installations, paintings, as well as theatrical collaboration projects on view at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s a major retrospective of acclaimed Indian artist work of the past decade and a half.

Figures drawn from mythical tales of different cultural background (Alice in Wonderland, Cassandra, Akka etc.) form scenes that depict the consequences of capitalism, orthodox fanaticism, war, and the environmental destruction in an epical narrative outpour. In her new suite of works on display, a gallery stages an engaging conversation between female figures that stem from diverse myths, as they sometimes melt into one another.

The artist relates Cassandra’s tale through thirty painted panels. They are arranged like a large stained-glass window wherein Cassandra simultaneously appears both young and old - as a skipping girl and as a young lady, who imbibes her prophetic gifts through a blue umbilical cord connecting her ear to that of a sage. Yet it traverses the whole pictorial space, thus deftly linking up a realm of action to the next one.

Each of these settings is meticulously arranged on a round surface resembling a curious cell culture or Petri dish. An enormous smoke cloud billows out over one of these. These swathes of smoke that emanate from explosions are a frequent motif in her work. It is actually alluding to the nuclear tests India has conducted and to the blatant insanity of further nuclear escalation. On close examination, calamity and terror can be noticed issuing from it.

Some thirty tondi (circular formats) that fan out around the Cassandra polyptych form a planetary system of tableaux, to reiterate the deft juxtaposition of the stencil-like image of an aged woman and a young girl, thus uniting in the same compositions two recurring figures in her work: Alice in Wonderland and Mother Courage. The colors cannot mask the horror of these scenes. This chromatic exquisiteness prompts the viewer to inspect more closely, and registering the mutilations of human beings in a specific historical and global context.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

‘Nothing Lost in Translation’ by Mithu Sen

An apparent tinge of sarcasm in her work is meant to prompt the viewers to play with ideas and meanings of 'self'. By engaging with the work, they are subconsciously applying ‘my caricatures to their own lives’, Mithu Sen elaborates.

Nature Morte presents her first solo exhibition in Berlin, entitled ‘Nothing Lost in Translation’. A trained painter, Mithu Sen now works in various media, making site and time specific installations with sculpture, video, sound, design and drawings, even dabbling in poetry. Born in 1971 in West Bengal, Mithu Sen earned her BFA and MFA in painting at Santiniketan and studied in Glasgow as well.

She has had residencies in New York, Brazil, China, and Kenya. She has held solo exhibitions at Nature Morte and the British Council in New Delhi, Gallery Chemould in Mumbai, Bose Pacia in New York, Krinzinger Projekte in Vienna, and Suzie Q Projects in Zurich. She lives and works in New Delhi.

Although much of her oeuvre is on paper, her work is conceptual in nature and often interactive. Forming the centerpiece of the exhibition, the series 'Nothing Lost in Translation' is the product of Mithu Sen's residency in Japan in 2008. During this time she made works for the exhibition Emotional Drawing at The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, which then traveled to Kyoto and Seoul.

Drawing from local and popular culture—most noticeably erotic Manga—the series confronts us with visceral representations of bodies fused into hybrid creatures. Blending fact and fiction, Mithu Sen incorporates representations of herself alongside her fantastical creations, complicating conventional representations of the self with humor and charm. Swinging between distance and intimacy, her works deal with the politics of identity, sexuality and gender.

Search for a new idiom in contemporary art

It’s a journey that started as a spate of itinerant seminars and involving talented artists from all corners of India. The same has resulted in a niche platform for alternate art.

In just over a decade, Khoj has managed to establish itself as a credible initiative for all ‘artists by artists’ efficiently dealing in public art. Some of the country’s most popular artists have been integral part of the whole process. Indeed, Khoj International Artists’ Association has provided art a new interactive nature using public projects and workshops.

Constant experimentation and sustained international exposure has been a major part of their strategy. The workshops have been known for their noteworthy public as well as performance art acts. This fruitful journey has been well captured in The Khoj Book. It takes a broader view of contemporary art practice in the country from 1997 to 2007.

The founder of the Triangle Arts Trust Robert Loder, assisted Khoj director Pooja Sood in finding a permanent address for the prospering group in Delhi in 2002. It has acted as a site for both emerging artists as well as emerging art. Illustrated with more than a thousand colored images of works, this 680-page book covers younger artists across India and some of foremost contemporaries. Nancy Adajania writes in her essay, entitled ‘Probing the Khojness of Khoj’:
“The advent of the Khoj International Artists’ Workshop in 1997, with the formation of a working group comprising six artists and a gallery director, is such a benchmark in the history of post-colonial Indian art. The achievement of the Khoj model is that it has transformed the lives and work of its practitioners. It has anticipated and provided for the consequences of the mobility that globalization has imparted to Indian artists in the post-colonial world.”
The document traces the rapid evolution of the art organization through meticulous accounts of its various workshops. It has interviews of artists who have contributed to Khoj over a decade.

A profusion of figures and disparate elements from animate and inanimate spheres

One of the most significant artists of her generation, her artistic output is mostly in cycles (polyptychs), employing multiple-projection video installations. A profusion of figures and disparate elements from animate and inanimate spheres like fragments of machines, tadpoles, worms, larvae, winged creatures, monsters etc are portrayed in elementary colors like yellow, blue and red.

She has depicted the women's revolt in a nation – now the world’s largest democracy - first caught between the legacy of colonialism and the third-world socialism ideal, and later pushed by forces of globalization into dramatic socio-political and economic transformations. Her artistic world, largely constituted by visible overlays, is fluid with everything in a constant state of metamorphosis.

In it, bones, brain, blood vessels and body organs often float outside it - in both volatile and exploded state because of the Splitting. On the concluding day, an Erasure Performance will take place, wherein they will be washed with milk. This material alludes to the milk powder imported from Chernobyl, a site of nuclear fallout, more than two decades ago. Her Mutants also refer to children born with radiation-related deformities after nuclear tests in the US.

In a rather gloomy gallery at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland that is holding a major retrospective of her works, creepy creatures surround spectators. The artist terms them ‘Mutants’. Two of them are drawn on the wall; rest painted on milk carton paper.

Put in a larger perspective, her awkward figures remind us of the violence the planet and its inhabitants are infected with under the garb of progress. In a hemi-cycle carrying five large video projections, Nalini Malani makes us confront with the birth of the India that was also the cleavage of the nation, whereas in ‘Transgressions’, she deploys a new type of installation work she terms a ‘video/shadow play’.

‘Splitting the Other’ section has fourteen panels that present a procession of monsters, human figures and angels, free-floating brains and some grub-like entities. They peer through blank eyes, of canons, anti-tank mines, bones, embryos, and umbilical cords.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

'In Transition:New Art from India' show

In collaboration with the Vancouver Biennale the Richmond Art Gallery presents 'In Transition: New Art from India'.

A curatorial note states: "India is experiencing a period of remarkablegrowth and transformation and its artists (like contemporary artists everywhere)are responding to these changes. With an eye on its past and a view to the future,these artists are examining the social, political, economic and religious implicationsof becoming a major world economy."

The exhibition features installation-based work by six of India’s most recognized contemporary artists, namely Shilpa Gupta, Reena Kallat, TV Santhosh, SudarshanShetty, artist collective Thukral & Tagra, and Hema Upadhyay. Following are the related events as part of the India show:

- Hema Upadhyay will create several sculptures on-site at Aberdeen Centre whichwill be unveiled the week of May 24 to June 2.

- A lecture in Richmond with Biennale sponsored artist, Hema Upadhyay from Mumbai ‘Dream a Wish, Wish a Dream’ on May 20 in Council Chambers.

- 'Contemporary Art in India: At Home and in the World' - Walk through the exhibition with Keith Wallace as he discusses contemporary art in India today.

- Co-presented by Cinevolution Media Arts Society and Richmond Cultural Centre, New Asia Film Festival showcases cutting-edge films centered on contemporary, progressive,and controversial themes related to Asian culture.

The Richmond Art Gallery believes that art allows us to visit concepts that give us the power to transform our lives, to change our mind and spirit; and art objects embody knowledge of our past and present. It plays a dynamic role in the growth of visual art in Richmond, BC. A vital part of the contemporary art network in British Columbia and Canada, the art gallery strives to enhance an understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art through excellence in exhibitions and education.