Tuesday, July 31, 2012

‘Landscapes’ by Ramakrishna Behera

Ramakrishna Behera’s peculiar paintings have often been called as ‘hallucinatory visions’ and psychological maps’ or, as one critic has rightly said, “a state of flickering consciousness when the world’s myriad bits & pieces struggle to cohere in your senses.”

In a way, what perhaps strikes a viewer the most at first sight is the dizzying content of his works, the gallery appears to have sprung cosmic leaks. Black holes seem to emerge on the walls as if threatening to suck everything into their darker, murkier depths. It indeed takes a few moments for figure out what they try and portray, to make sense of the multiple layers at which each painting functions, and to piece together everything so as to fine tune your sense of perspective.

All these facets of Ramakrishna Behera’s paintings are well amplified in a new show of his works currently on view at The Nature Morte Gallery in Gurgaon. Revealing the most significant aspects of his works on view in terms of on the artist’s process and imagery, an essay by Janice Pariat elaborates: “His paintings are most certainly landscapes. They are inspired by real places: Ladakh’s mountains and monasteries, the countryside of the state of Orissa, the streets of Italy, and also the interior of the artist’s own home. Yet they employ distorted perspectives and subtly fold in images of outer space to become something far more complex than pure landscapes.”

Ramakrishna Behera has a very interesting background. The self-taught painter is trained as a Chemical Engineer, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Roorkee. He brings a scientist’s or researcher’s mind to the process of picture-making, leading to philosophical puzzles that denote Quantum Physics, Phenomenology, Psychedelia, Surrealism, and Cosmology.

Born in Orissa in 1977, Ramakrishna Behera lives and works in Faridabad, a suburb of Delhi. His work has been featured in several significant group exhibitions at the major art venues of India. A comprehensive catalog documenting his paintings from 2004 until today has been released to coincide with the solo exhibition.

Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language

A new group exhibition brings together 12 contemporary artists and artists’ groups working in all mediums including painting, sculpture, film, video, audio, and design, all of whom concentrate on the material qualities of language—visual, aural, and beyond. The work these artists create belongs to a distinguished history of poem/objects, and concrete language experiments that dates to the beginnings of modernism. 

The works that form part of ‘Ecstatic Alphabets’ at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, represent a radical updating of the possibilities inherent in the relationship between art and language. In this exhibition, the letter, the word and the phrase are seen and experienced, and not necessarily read.

Working with language has also created an opportunity for artists to move more freely among disciplines, and this exhibition includes work in a range of mediums by artists who are also poets, writers, performers, and graphic designers. Like earlier experiments in this vein, many of these recent works have an abiding connection to poetry, which runs like a subtheme through the exhibition, adding the ecstatic element to each works’ alphabetic plainness.

The exhibition is divided into two sections, with the first featuring an abbreviated timeline of language in modern art culled primarily from drawings, sculptures, prints, books, and sound works from MoMA's collection. Artists in this historical section of the exhibition include: Carl Andre, Marcel Broodthaers, Henri Chopin, Marcel Duchamp, Ian Hamilton Finlay, John Giorno, Kitasono Katue, Ferdinand Kriwet, Liliane Lijn, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner, and others.

Artists in the contemporary section of the exhibition include: Ei Arakawa/Nikolas Gambaroff, Tauba Auerbach, Dexter Sinister (David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey), Trisha Donnelly, Shannon Ebner, Paul Elliman, Experimental Jetset, Sharon Hayes, Karl Holmqvist, Paulina Olowska, Adam Pendleton, and Nora Schultz. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication designed and produced by Dexter Sinister.

Like visual artists who experimented with abstract forms with the goal of arriving at a non-metaphoric artwork that was itself and nothing else, artists working with words in the late 1950s and 1960s used language as a medium; letters, words, and texts were dissected, displayed as objects, or arranged so that form and content were combined.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Contemporary Portraiture from Asia

A touring exhibition courtesy the National Portrait Gallery now on view McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Langwarrin in Australia presents the work of artists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and India, including Alwar Balasubramaniam, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Atul Bhalla, Nikhil Chopra, Alfredo Esquillo Jr, FX Harsono, Jose Legaspi Herra Pahlasari, Pushpamala N, Eko Nugroho, Navin Rawanchaikul, Tejal Shah, Vivan Sundaram, Melati Suryodarmo, and Hema Upadhyay

The use and manipulation of the self image has let provided an avenue for several artists to interrogate their locations and aspirations. The artists in this exhibition, entitled ‘Beyond the Self: Contemporary Portraiture from Asia’, look to examine recent directions in contemporary self portraiture in Asia.  The various regions of the continent have rich and complex histories of representation to draw on. Accompanying local influences there are broader international conventions that impact on their work.

These works do not simply mirror the participating artists’ contemporary worlds. Presenting enquiries that are personally significant, some artists also delve into historical complexity, nationally and internationally. They try and re-describe individual and collective viewpoints within their specific historical and cultural landscapes. Interests in redefining the local and questioning the self run parallel to changes in contemporary society and the inexorable shifts in cultures in this age of instantaneous electronic communication and a converging world economy.

The contemporary worlds of these artists involve global awareness and mobility along with altered economic and technological possibilities. These redefinitions of the ‘personalized local’ manifest in sophisticated responses to this homogenizing moment in history, an accompanying essay notes.

The exhibition presents individually distinct projects that flow into comparable and related themes. Some artists look at different forms of representation exploring transnational histories or modes of contemporary being, while others anchor their positions in the local. Articulations of political and social concerns stand alongside metaphysical expressions of the self within larger cultural settings and adventures into expanded notions of selfhood, explored as part of familial, societal and cultural frameworks.

The artists largely operate in spaces of imaginative invention and intervention. Through their personal perspectives and redefinitions of various cultural and historical landscapes the artists attempt to alter the audiences’ customary parameters - probing, pushing and extending imaginations.

They offer alternative ways of operating in and imaging our world and suggest a future of undefined possibilities. They create work that reflects that intervention into the here and now, to explore beyond the self. They use their objective selves – personal faces and bodies, or those of close family – to speak not only about themselves but also of larger issues and ideas.

This group exhibition will subsequently be on view at Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide; Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

‘Approaching Abstraction’

For some leading artists at the core of India's progressive artistic and intellectual discourses in this period, figuration was a link to social, political, and community concerns, while abstraction was perceived as more personal and individual. At the same time, abstraction was also linked to international trends in modern art. 

The grand exhibition continues the thematic exploration of art from post-independence and post-Partition India begun with ‘The Body Unbound’. It builds on and expands the framework suggested by the first part of the series:  to explore the relationship between figuration and abstraction in Indian modernist art.

It will help define and discern the characteristics that distinguish abstraction in modernist Indian art from abstraction in Euro-American modernism, and show the individual, independent trajectory of abstraction in India after Independence. In addition to extraordinary paintings, the exhibition is going to present experimental films created by leading painters M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta and Akbar Padamsee in the late 1960s, showing them for the first time in a museum context and in relation to the artists' paintings.

The thematic show, curated by Beth Citron, has been supported, in part, by the Dedalus Foundation, Inc. An audio tour for the exhibition will help define and discern the characteristics that distinguish abstraction in modernist Indian art from abstraction in Euro-American modernism, and show the individual, independent trajectory of abstraction in India after Independence.

Visitors can explore an interactive timeline discussing the Modernist Art movement and the historical events that helped shaped the art in India through photographs and videos.

The Rubin Museum of Art works with a mission of establishing, presenting, preserving, and documenting a permanent collection that reflects the vitality, complexity, and historical significance of Himalayan art and to create exhibitions and programs designed to explore connections with other world cultures. The Rubin Museum is committed to addressing a diverse audience—from connoisseurs and scholars to the general public.

‘Approaching Abstraction’ continues through October 16 at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, Chelsea.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

‘2012: A Further Global Encounter’

London-based Grosvenor Vadehra’s presents ‘2012: A Further Global Encounter’, a group show that includes the best of Contemporary art from India.

The exhibition coincides with the Olympic Games being hosted in London. The sporting extravaganza will be the centre of attention and will showcase the best athletes the world has to offer in one of the world’s most high spirited cities. During this exciting and happening time, the gallery has selected thirteen leading Indian artists to represent India in London. 

This international sporting extravaganza is more about the spirit of mutual understanding and brotherhood less about competitiveness. Engaging with these sporting and spirited notions, the artists are exhibiting works in which they endeavor to address the specific moment in which all these nations across the world come together so as to endorse ideals of team work and sportsmanship.

The 2012 Olympics is opening up the city of London to a vast resource for immense creative potential by talented artists in all disciplines. By utilizing this great moment as a blank canvas space, Grosvenor Vadehra aims to thread together creative experiments and artistic knowledge; transcending the environs and realms of our daily urban life. Changed boundaries along with fresh perceptions of how contemporary people live and survive around the world are invariably the foundations of global encounters, apparently the pinnacle of which are the Olympics Games this year.

A press release elaborates: “The exhibit explores contemporary issues and ideas not only local and specific to India, but those that look to deal with aspects of the global panorama. We’re expecting a large Indian audience visiting London to watch the Games and view the best of Indian Art at the same time. The selection process has not been anywhere near as competitive or rigorous as for the Games.  However, each participating artist exhibiting has been chosen for their personal contribution not only to the local art scene but also to defining the perception of Indian Art overseas.”

Most of the participating artists have been exhibiting internationally and the UK as well, at the various shows at the Serpentine, Hayward and Initial Access. The artists participating in the exhibition include Prajakta Palav Aher, Aditya Pande, Jagannath Panda, Pranati Panda, Zakkir Hussain, Shibu Natesan, Sunoj D, Shilpa Gupta, TV Santosh, Gigi Scaria, Hema Upadhyay, Atul Dodiya, and Anju Dodiya.

‘Sub-topical Heat: New Art from South Asia’

New Plymouth-based The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery showcases the vitality and breadth of new art from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in its ground-breaking winter season all-gallery exhibition, entitled ‘Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia’.

‘Sub-Topical Heat’ is among the most extensive and in-depth exhibitions of art presented from this part of the world in New Zealand. It is comprised of works by artists, including Naeem Mohaiemen and Nusra Latif Qureshi will join those of Bani Abidi, Sheba Chhachhi, NS Harsha, independent publisher Raking Leaves, Gigi Scaria, Imran Qureshi and Sharmila Samant.

They present works driven by the impacts of globalization on individual lives, new trajectories within tradition, social and political justice, urban and ecological change, myth, gender and collective memory. Their visual languages span installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, miniature painting, video and photo-media.

According to the exhibition Curator and Govett-Brewster Director, Rhana Devenport, the group show continues the gallery’s unique focus within New Zealand on contemporary Pacific and Asian art practice, responding to global shifts in cultural influence and expression. It simultaneously hosts a solo show by Bepen Bhana, born in Auckland, Aotearoa. A designer and writer of Gujarati descent, Bhana’s art practice examines constructions of Indian identity through the intersection of Western popular culture and Eastern subcultures.

Here, resplendent with bindis, the 1970's American sitcom family the Brady Bunch is re-imagined belonging to Bhana’s world as a personal response to ideas of cultural identity in foreign lands. Bhana graduated with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2009 and has recently produced a series of billboard and lightbox works in public spaces in Auckland. The show has been curated by Meredith Robertshawe.

The Govett-Brewster houses an important permanent collection with a focus on contemporary art from New Zealand and the Pacific. Collection strengths include sculpture, conceptual art and abstract art from the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary sculpture.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

‘Pursuit of the Ridiculous’ by Bhuvanesh Gowda

In search of varied and plausible possibilities, it is often that we get to encounter impossibilities that again lead us to some different and unexpected possibilities. This is the cycle many of us undergo in ‘Pursuit of the Ridiculous’, the title of a new show by Bhuvanesh Gowda at The Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai. The impossibilities of today, as we see them, might or might not be possible tomorrow. But they are all the same promising; they carry and tempt you into the realm of unknown.

As the artist elaborates, “I’m looking into some possible impossibilities and impossible possibilities. To me, if meaningless is meaningless, meaningful is also meaningless. And what is meaningful now or here actually may or may not be so (meaningful) tomorrow or somewhere else. The infinite needs the finite to manifest itself. The finite embodies the infinite and one can create pockets of space to dwell in comfortably though they are presently fictional - till they become a fact, in time.

The young and talented artist first did his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, Mysore (1994-99) and then completed his Master in Fine Arts at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (2001-03). Among his selected solo, joint and group exhibitions are ‘Homesick Vagabond’ at The Birla Gallery, Mumbai (2007); ‘Limited Security/Security Ltd’, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai (2009); ‘Studio Practices’, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai (2009); a show at Project 88, Mumbai (2008); ‘Cream: The Mammary Show’ courtesy Chatterjee & Lal Gallery, Mumbai (2005); Kala Ghoda” Art Festival, Mumbai (2005); ‘A Voyage’ at India Habitat Centre, Delhi (2004); ‘Peers-2003’ at Khoj, Khirkee Village, Delhi; ‘Invasions’, India Habitat Centre (2002).

Bringing out nuances of his work as part a group show at Project 88, an accompanying note mentioned: “His sculpture utilizes the human torso. He opts to deliberately lean away from the overtly sensual element of the physical body to focus on the stark encounters that brings forth the hidden realities through situational conditions.”

He has participated in a national seminar on ‘Art and Value added Education’ at National Museum, Delhi (2003), apart from being part of a Wood Sculpture Workshop in Hyderabad under Lalit Kala Akademi in 1999. He served a Residency at Guild, Mumbai in 2009 and Khoj, New Delhi in 2003. A recipient of K.K.Hebbar, Award Fellowship in 2002, he also won Arnavaz S.G. Vasudev Award Fellowship and Jamia Merit Scholarship in 2002.

‘Alone | Together’ by by Riyas Komu and G. R. Iranna

A joint exhibition of works by Riyas Komu and G. R. Iranna, entitled, ‘Alone | Together’, takes place at Aicon Gallery, New York. It features a selection of paintings and sculptures by the two highly talented contemporary artists from India who have been long at the forefront of Indian art scene.

Both artists, a natural counterpart to one another, resort to representations of the human figure so as to draw upon the sociopolitical implications that are inherent in the country’s post-colonial culture as greatly affected by themes of gender, identity, religion, and media. Here’s a quick glance at their respective practices courtesy the gallery:
  • Riya Komu’s hyper-realist portraiture focuses relentlessly on the individual to establish a unique identity. As a painter, sculptor, installation artist and cultural commentator, he draws inspiration predominantly from manifestations of gender and religion as defining notions of the individual. Komu is predominantly known as a portraitist, having recently completed a series of commissioned large-scale works of prominent South Asian political figures for The New Yorker,
  • G. R. Iranna examines the dynamic tensions between the individual and the societal group, particularly in his sculptural groupings of blindfolded naked figures. This celebrated sculptor and painter creates disquieting canvases and large-scale installations. Like Komu, his predominantly figurative works are concerned with broader sociopolitical subjects. Synthesizing a confluence of varied inspirational strands of thought, Iranna poses interpretations of agrarian life and allusions to Buddhist philosophies alongside imagery evoking captivity and alienation to chart man’s problematic journey through life.
  • His shifting focus evokes a fluidity of spatial and social contexts, often questioning the blindness of faith in both religion and the mass-consciousness of teeming societies. His figures are often superimposed against ethereal landscapes, as if separated from any possible existing environment and isolated from humanity at large. Iranna’s sculptures follow a similar concept, their tactile quality and submissive postures evoking feelings of empathy, isolation and horror in the viewer. Steeped in notions of restrained or passive resistance, the works are abstractedly realistic in their minimalist modality.
  • Creating allegories of the collective experience, as conveyed by individuals captured in attitudes of waiting, foreboding or memorializing, Komu gives prominence to the faces of his subjects, literally giving expression to the wider hardships of which they are a part. The theme of globalization and the movement of power from individuals and communities, into the hands of corporations and governments is a central concern of Komu’s practice.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Viewers contemplate the display space as much as individual works

‘Parcours’, on view in the Modern Wing’s Bucksbaum Gallery courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago, is the result of a collaboration between artists Liz Deschenes (American, b. 1966) and Florian Pumhösl (Austrian, b. 1971), in dialogue with Matthew S. Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator, Department of Photography.

It takes inspiration from an unrealized exhibition proposal of the 1930s by Austrian-born Bauhaus designer Herbert Bayer, who wanted a series of parallel walls that would turn the gallery space into a maze, with text and the works of art themselves serving visitors as a guiding thread. Expanding on that didactic premise, Deschenes and Pumhösl have chosen just a few photographs from the permanent collection of the art institute and placed them like route markers on temporary walls modified expressly for this show.

The artists’ own works, a set of specially tempered glass panels by Pumhösl and lustrous photograms by Deschenes, will reflect these works and the surrounding space. Interestingly, the show has changed a great deal since the curator, Matt Witkovsky, began discussions for a project with Liz Deschenes and Florian Pumhösl in the first half of 2011. In Matt’s mind, initially, it was to have featured a number of artists and been structured on the model of a collectively produced film, tentatively titled Immaterial Desires. Trisha Donnelly, Walead Beshty, Josiah McEIheny, Christopher Williams, Moyra Davey, Janice Kerbel, and Florian were all considered for participation,

Several of these artists were consulted as well in spring and early summer 2011. After meetings in May and late July, however, a decision was made to have Liz and Florian conceive the exhibition in dialogue with each other and Matt. An undecided number of older photographs would accompany their works, along with just one other contemporary piece, by Kerbel: a sound piece entitled Ballgame that could be placed (with her agreement) in a garden courtyard located directly outside the exhibition space.

Many ideas were tested and discarded along the way. The group show became a two-person show, with the work by Kerbel kept in the mix because it would be knowable from within the space (via an exhibition label) but only audible outside the space. In the end, even Kerbel’s work has been eliminated (Ballgame and other pieces will instead be featured in a solo show at the nearby Arts Club of Chicago, in September.) The title changed entirely, and uses of the space as well as ideas about the other photographs to be placed alongside the works of Liz and Florian have undergone important mutations.

Young and talented artists to look forward to

The eight young and talented artists, whose work is on view the Mumbai-based Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, identify with a realm of resurrection of ideas like identity, reassessment, revolution, and wide ranging exchange. What perhaps stands out in this new revival is the fact that while earlier eras filled with such introspection were largely informed and developed in a rather heavily textual medium, this age seems to be informed by the visual – metaphoric as well as figurative, an accompanying note by Rahul D’souza explains.

Among the artists on view, Abul Hisham makes use of the visual for manipulate characters he has seen and also experienced in his immediate social environ. Upon them he apparently heaps various inflections of both positive and negative humanity and their inevitabilities. He inlays obvious symbols of power with particular words, clothes and expressions, which traverses the medium of the realism of personal attachment to characters, putting them on pedestals of hyper-real farce, stripping them of their positions of power and humanity even while elevating them to the symbolism of his vibrant visual metaphors.

Reshma Nair, on the other hand, works in the captivating compositional style of still life drawing and painting. She provides a window to peep into her own personal world. Bottles and sinks may build a sense of ambiguity in an effort to identify the occupant of this world. Jars of paint stashed away in an open cabinet though, provide a missing link. We start registering the temporary world in which these objects exist. Her thin, sparse and skillful application of oil paint in pastel colors gives us a feel that they are almost on the verge of merging into the background.

Poorvesh Patel works on canvas and uses ‘paints’ in a sort of non-traditional process. The outcome is a heavily textured, multi-toned work that is made up of different materials (iron filings, copper, resin, sawdust etc). This adds texture and a chemical process (rusting) so as to impart color. The resultant visual symphony by its size and intensity seems to almost emit a very strong force of attraction toward viewers. The work in this exhibition by the artist represents the very earth we live on and live off.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

‘Art for young collectors’

An interesting mix of works, representing new wave of thoughts and art processes is on view at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke. Though the techniques, styles and media, this new noteworthy group exhibition presents some of the highly talented young artists, who all belong to this new age of visual discourse. An age where the visual has not only freed itself from textual discourse but also begins to assert a cultural supremacy, as a curatorial essay by Rahul D’souza elaborates.

An artist who challenges existing notions and beliefs
Arun KS uses his work to encourage his viewer to be skeptical of the purpose of rituals. He has set before us a challenge. Here he provides us with the ultimate twist in which he wants us to use this skepticism not to banish rituals but rather to strengthen the inner resolve and belief in them.

The artist challenges both the notion that skepticism frees humans from rituals as well as the notion that faith can be destroyed by the enquiring mind. The work forms a powerful visual demonstration of this belief. The work illustrates a multitude of Christian children depicted in costumes that demonstrate they are on the verge of being introduced to the ritual of receiving communion. This depiction is imposed on top of pages from the bible that are barely visible, calling the viewer to cast of the veil of this popular and pious ritual in order to study the underlying textual justification for its existence.

Merging folk and natural motifs with a contemporary processes
The contemporary miniature has been freed from its long-standing dependence on text, having been merely an illustration for deep philosophical, romantic and mythological treaties. The miniature work of artist Arundhati Saikia has entered this framework and has taken the form one step further by juxtaposing its illustrative nature with a theatricality that she derives from her own background.

Folk and natural motifs form the centerpiece of her works, ornamented by the standard symbolism of miniatures – arches, arabesques and solid temple structures. The hypnagogic characters in her work betray a hidden story, a lost opportunity for textual imperialism over the paintings, creating at once a symbol of liberation and of the new socio-political discourse which enters the world of the popular visual.

Fresh talent from Baroda school on view

The artists, who form part of a new group show at the Mumbai-based Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, are fresh out of art school in Baroda and Hyderabad. Here’s a quick glance at their work:

Samir Mohanty’s subjects evoke an emotional response. Realistic reproductions of the moon lay broken, causing a disturbance in its aesthetic patterns. But through the warping of its perceived dimensions we are transported into the realm of imagination where the moon is no longer an inanimate object.

His second subject in this exhibition is a man, obstructed by the presence of steel pins driven through his hands, face and legs. While the pins obstruct the view of the man, our mind still constructs a seemingly real image of him with the scant visual information that it reads through the matrix of pins.

Juhikadevi Bhanjdeo's installation uses artisan symbols from the environment of the place of her influence – Bastar. Using references to bell metal casting and weaving, she introduces objects of daily use from her surrounding, transforming these. Preserved within a veil, they converge with loose threads to supplement the weaving process.

Positioned at the forefront of this transformation is a technique of creating art forms – bell metal casting – which forms the core of the installation. This technique is supported by the material used in weaving. The idea is to challenge the viewer on two fronts. Firstly, when in an object's history can one begin to distinguish it as craft or art; and secondly, what is it that transforms seemingly ordinary objects and motifs into art.

Midhungopi P. presents a set of drawing and watercolors on rice paper pasted over a support of weighty art paper. The rice paper receives several washes of watercolor and is at times even gently pushed back to reveal the base, before the artists Objects of Memory are drawn upon it.

In the geographic location of his childhood many of the natural forms depicted in Midhungopi’s works are commonplace. Almost immediately we begin to notice that what at once appeared to be ordinary has an unlikely twist. One debates whether the work represents a real memory that has been removed from context, or an imagined memory, dream or illusion so strong it presents itself as an old memory, a Kafkaesque crisis.

Priyanka Dasgupta at Bose Pacia as the artist-in-residence

Transparent Studio at Brooklyn-based Bose Pacia is having Priyanka Dasgupta as the artist-in-residence. She is to create a life-size, mechanical shadow puppet inspired by her grandmother that clutches objects to maintain control over her physical environment and manage the frustration of fading memories.

A press release states: “Grappling with the duality of material dependence and ephemeral life, Dasgupta explores the resulting conflict in her new work and through collaborations with interdisciplinary artists. During her residency, she will continue investigating the connections between digital video and sculptural installation.”

Born in Kolkata, in 1979, Priyanka Dasgupta has a MA in Studio Art from NYU/ICP (2003) and a BA in Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi (2000). She has participated in the Aljira Emerge with Creative Capital (2007) and AIM Program (2005). Dasgupta is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award (2004). Her video installations have been exhibited extensively in the US, Europe and Asia including The International Center of Photography, Wagner Gallery, Galleria di Piazza San Marco, Shrine Empire, and Seoul Art Space . Dasgupta’s work belongs to several prominent collections. She lives and works in New York, NY.

The residency is planned as follows:
  • August 2: A sharing of work in progress and opportunities for collaboration.
  • September 6: An interdisciplinary installation and literary event, in collaboration with Billy & CO
  • October 4: An exhibition of finished work and panel discussion, focused on interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • September 28- 30 DUMBO Arts Festival: Events at the gallery will include live performance, literary and visual salons, and the completed shadow puppet installation by the artist.
Launched in January 2012, Transparent Studio is an artist residency program founded by Bose Pacia. Emerging and mid career artists are chosen for the studio program through a submissions process based on project proposal and artistic merit. Residents are provided with a studio in the main gallery space.

By turning the transitional gallery space into temporary artist studios on the street-level in an active arts neighborhood, the gallery looks to create an atmosphere of engagement and conversation around the creative process. During the residency program, people are encouraged to interact with the artist throughout their creative process allowing exchange and collaborative relationships.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The ŠKODA Breakthrough Artist Award 2012

"We aim to build on the reputation that the award has established as a reliable benchmark of artistic quality, even while trying to attract more new voices through our Breakthrough Artist Award…"

The above statement by Girish Shahane advisor to the Skoda Prize for promoting excellence in Indian Contemporary Art sums up the whole idea – which is not only to honor emerging talent from India, but also take their works to a much larger audience, cutting across boundaries.

The ŠKODA Prize platform created in 2011 was later extended to create a category for artists right at the beginning of their promising careers. The Breakthrough Artist Award is aimed at recognizing young and talented artists of our country, who are under the age of 35.

The selection of artists for the ‘Breakthrough Artist Award’ is made on basis of their debut solo exhibits in India. It is supported by a renowned art publication, Art India. Through its fruitful association with the decade old magazine, the organizers of ŠKODA Prize support the development on critical, meaningful dialogue, as well as writing about Indian contemporary art.

Skoda Auto India has conceptualized a prestigious award to celebrate contemporary Indian art. Along with Seventy Event Management Group, the prestigious car brand has announced a new initiative, termed ‘The Skoda Prize’.

The award and the event are planned as an annual celebration that will honor am outstanding work of art in the country. In India, it’s probably a first of its kind idea the core of which is to recognize and honor young and talented artists. Each individual artist will be judged on the exhibits, or other comprehensive presentations of their work produced in the year preceding the award.

Last date to apply for the ‘Breakthrough Artist Award’ category is 30 October, 2012. Artists can submit their nominations for the prize by following the guidelines on the official website (www.theskodaprize.com) where the form is available to download.  The award carries a cash prize of Rs two lakh this year apart from a trophy.

Brains behind exhibitions to come together

As part of its efforts to promote critical curatorial practice, Experimenter in Kolkata is going to host The Curators' Hub in the last week of July. The aim is to bring to the fore the most contemporary streak behind curating in backdrop of today's art scene. The event will include some of the top names not only from India but also from across the world. Check out…

Patrick Gosatti
A freelance curator based in Geneva, he has extensive experience in curating and writing in contemporary art. He curated the Festival Les Urbaines, Lausanne and was a coordinator for IILA Pavilion at the 53rd Biennale di Venezia involving large scale installation works. He has contributed to several periodical publications including, Kunst-Bulletin magazine, Zurich & Art Collector magazine, Basel amongst others.

Sumesh Sharma
A graduate from the Universite Paul Cezanne, Aix-en-Provence, he was part of the second edition of the Gwangju Biennale International Curators Programme 2010 in South Korea. Actively involved in art projects which address the concern of urban gentrification, he was the Founder-Director of the Crawford Market Public Art Project, a UN-Habitat funded initiative. Besides Zasha Colah, he is the founding director and curator at The Clark House Initiative. Recent projects include ‘Arranging Chairs’ for Ai Weiwei.

Zasha Colah
After doing her M.A. in Curating Contempoary Art, Royal College of Art, London, she preceded by a Master of Studies in History of Art and Visual Culture, Oxford University, UK, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Indian Aesthetics, Prince of Wales Museum & Bombay University, India. In addition to being a curator at The Clark House Initiative, Zasha is a Lecturer in Art Theory at Rachna Sansad Academy of Fine Arts, Mumbai. She was previously curator of Modern Art at Prince of Wales Museum (Bombay) and an exhibitions assistant at Serpentine Gallery, London.

Aveek Sen
A senior assistant editor at The Telegraph, Kolkata, he has written extensively on art, photography, literature & culture. He was a Rhodes scholar at University College, Oxford. He is the recipient of the 2009 Infinity Award for Writing on Photography, awarded by the International Center of Photography, New York.

Top curators to be part of The Curators’ Hub

In continuation with its deep interest in critical curatorial practice, The Curators' Hub 2012 courtesy the Kolkata-based Experimenter gallery takes place on 27 July and 28 July. The idea behind the project is to debate, discuss and present the contemporary thought behind curating in today's context. Here is a look at the credentials of the participating curators:

Diana Campbell
Founding Director and Chief Curator, Creative India Foundation, Hyderabad, she has curated Indian non-profit sculpture projects for several international art fairs and exhibits, such as the India Art Fair, SH Contemporary, the Shanghai Biennale, and Frieze NY, Frieze London amongst others. She is an advisor for renowned international sculpture parks like De Cordova Sculpture Park, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Meera Menzes
She has an M.A. from the Centre of German Studies, JNU. Her most recent curatorial projects include Slipping through the cracks, Living off the Grid amongts others. Se has lectured at the Karl Jaspers Centre in Heidelberg on the first Indian pavillion at Biennale di Venizia. She was awarded a residency grant by Pro-Helvetia The Swiss Arts Council to study new media curation in Switzerland in 2011 and a Chevening scholarship for Young Broadcast Journalists.

Dr. Annapurna Garimella
A designer and an art historian, she focuses on the art and architecture of India and is based in Bangalore, India. She heads Jackfruit, a research and design organization, with a specialized portfolio of design and curatorial projects for artists, museums, government and private organizations and non-profits. A founder of ‘Art, Resources and Teaching Trust’, a not-for-profit organization that gathers resources and promotes research and teaching in art and architectural history, archaeology, crafts, and design, she was also the former Research Editor and Advisory Board Member for Marg Publications.

Abhay Maskara
A thinker and independent writer on art, he has been the Curatorial Director of Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India since 2008. He published his first book ‘Collecting Art - An Insider's View of the Indian Art World’ in 2012. His curatorial practice has been acclaimed as most innovative and conceptually challenging in Mumbai city by The Economic Times, a leading business newspaper in India. He was also selected by CNNGo.com as the top 20 people to watch in Mumbai. In 2011 Abhay Maskara was invited to curate a show at the Agnes B. Foundation in Paris.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Capturing the crux of contemporary curatorial realm

Curatorial practice in India especially is now at a crucial juncture. It is vital to mull over its current state and also discuss future. This can be made possible through meaningful conversations between the leading curators who all are keen to push the boundaries of contemporary art practices.

An upcoming 2-day event conceptualized and organized by Experimenter in Kolkata (in association with Pro Helvetia - The Swiss Arts Council; supported by Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, & The Park, Kolkata) will bring together the best of curatorial talent rom Indian and internationally. It’s an impressive assemblage of the visual arts community, critics, writers, artists, thinkers, collectors, art theorists and other people interested in art and its development.

Dr. Inke Arns
Serving as curator and artistic director of Hartware MedienKunstVerein since 2005, she has worked internationally. She studied Slavic Studies, Eastern European studies, political science, and art history in Berlin and Amsterdam. Later, she obtained her PhD from the Humboldt University in Berlin. She has been teaching at universities and art academies in Berlin (Humboldt University), Leipzig (Hochschule fur Grafik und Buchkunst, HGB), Zurich (Hochschule der Kunste, ZHdK), and Rotterdam (Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy), and has lectured and published internationally.

Suman Gopinath
Founder/director of CoLab Art & Architecture, she presents contemporary Indian work within the context of international practice. She studied Fine Arts Administration and Curating at Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK. Some of her recent projects where she co-curated include: Jogja Biennale XI – Shadow Lines: Indonesia meets India, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2011-12); Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes / Reflections on Indian Modernism (2009-2011) Santhal Family: Positions Around an Indian Sculpture, Muhka, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium (2008); Horn Please: Narratives from Contemporary Indian Art, Bern, Switzerland (2007-08). She was invited curator of the Lyon Biennale, 2007 - History of a Decade that has Not Yet Been Named and networking curator for Singapore Biennale 2006 - Belief.

Susan Hapgood
Founding director of Mumbai Art Room, previously she was senior advisor at the Independent Curators International (ICI), NY - The Curator of Exhibitions at the American Federation of Arts, NY, and Curatorial coordinator at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY. She has a M.A. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and a B.A. from University of Rochester, NY.

Analysis of the variegated perceptions of communal and personal security and leisure

Artist Schandra Singh's work is driven by an apparent need to foster frank communication in a time of palpable emotional uncertainty.

In of her critically acclaimed solo shows, entitled ‘If I'm Immune To It, I Don't Deserve To Be Here’ (Bose Pacia, New York; 2010), she had presented her large-scale works on linen and some smaller portraits. The exhibition offered an opportunity to explore the progression of this talented artist from her earlier works to the latest fantastically depicted oblige tourists floating down a lazy river.

She also had showcased a couple of her most influential early paintings for the first time - a large work of American founding fathers whirling in a rose garden and a meticulously detailed canvas of the World Trade Towers that survived her demolished studio opposite the towers. These two earlier works prompted the artist to contemplate over the variegated perceptions of communal and personal security and leisure.

Putting her painterly processes in the contemporary context, a curatorial note elaborated, “Within the history of figurative painting the choice of subject is always one of certain significance. And with the resurgence of representational painting practices through neo-expressionism, and even more recently, an emphasis on irony, satire, and the confluence of the beautiful grotesque has come to the forefront. Her larger than life images of tourists and locals lingering in the sun are a smart and well-formulated re-mediation of the Western fetishization of leisure time.”

According to writer Greg Tate, through her ‘obliquely satirical’ visual taxonomy of Western tourism, the artist wants to whisk us off to Paradise and then make us gasp in horror at the human debris wealth has deposited and left on display in her cold-eyed memory theatre’.

The art critic has noted: “What she compels us to look at instead is the queasy face of leisure and privilege on holiday. What she would have us side-glance at instead is the invisibility of the ethnic, the servile and the exotic in the eyes of beholders self-marooned in Paradise. Singh has redirected the gaze of our Occidental tourist selves from contemplation of our navels to complicity in our own vulnerability to dissipation.”

A painter who employ Indian miniature style to depict contemporary concerns

At times it’s a pure expression of a given situation, or it’s a fine blending of imagery: towers into people, roses into founding fathers. Striated and fragmented, her representation of the human form is unconventional.
The image starts becoming paradoxically more abstract, as she digs into greater detail. The outcome is a beautifully colored, albeit slightly unnerving, composition of sunning tourists engrossed in their multi-faceted existences...

Artist Schandra Singh, who mostly works in the medium of oil and gouache, touches upon shared social and political realities. Indeed, her paintings transport us to a purgatorial space of curiously contrived paradise. What might outwardly seem like an innocuous theme turns out to be one loaded with extreme tension and visual dynamism, as the artist captures complex shades of modern life.

She has mentioned of her work, “As an artist whose cultural heritage stems from Austria and India, I employ the mode of storytelling of the Indian miniature painter. It’s juxtaposed with inspirations of neo–expressionism. In a world where we are often asked to take a side to know the answers, my work looks to challenge the viewer by not didactically presenting one way, but simply by addressing my fears to express a (specific) human condition.”

“In sight of her obliquely satirical works viewers are made to see themselves dissolving in acidic torrents of anthropomorphic anxiety, false security, and delusional spectacles of wealth, excess and waste. The artist deftly documents a group of people suspended in the heavily precarious interstitial state between anxiety and leisure while holidaying.

Translating the individuals into large-scale paintings Schandra Singh prompts an investigation of the false sense of world security. One could notice smaller figures that lurk in the nooks and crannies of the images compounding the sense of unrest. The minutely detailed painted surface also gives us passages of untouched linen canvas as a space for contemplation.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

A major show of work by the renowned artist of his era, who for long had been a household name for his bewildering Benday dot paintings of the 1960s, takes place at the Art Institute of Chicago. Roy Lichtenstein died in 1997, leaving behind a rich legacy of paintings and other works.

Roy Lichtenstein was immersed in twin influences of art history and popular culture during his life time. Using a matte knife, he was ceaselessly slashing away at several earlier artworks, colorful and small abstractions that dated to the late ’50s.  He had dug many of them out of somewhere and was simply cutting them up,” his wife recalled.

“So his assistant and I almost yelled, ‘Stop!’ ” She recently said in an interview. And the two did manage to grab a few of the works and quietly tuck them away. Now three of the paintings, lent by Ms. Lichtenstein from her treasure trove of her late husband’s works, are surfacing in an exhibition, entitled ‘Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective’.

According to Ms. Lichtenstein, she assumed he (her husband) wasn’t happy at all with many of the early pieces, but that they may well round out the public’s perception of his works. She revealed, “I think it is a good idea to have them there. He wasn’t someone who suddenly emerged fully formed. In fact, he experienced a somewhat tortured phase as an artist before that. He often used to describe putting his works on the roof of his old car, going from gallery to gallery.”

Merely by preserving them in the first place, she helped shape the new show, which includes over 170 works and will travel to the Washington-based National Gallery of Art, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and the Tate Modern in London, eventually.

The Chicago retrospective consists of many of the Pop paintings viewers may already know, such as ‘Drowning Girl’ (1963). But then there is a surprise in store in the form of nearly 50 works on paper, a medium not included in the show almost two decades ago. The focus on drawings was something Ms. Lichtenstein liked, because they show the late artist’s hand more and also testify that he wasn’t merely an artist who would appropriate from comic books. The drawings project him as a master of composition very much in his own right.

Public art scene in the west and Europe

Public art exposes people ‘of all different ideologies and backgrounds’ to the varied socio-cultural experiences and can reconnect them to their own surroundings and cityscape. In a way, it encourages them to see their neighborhoods and environment from a new perspective, in a new light and with completely different mode of appreciation. No surprise, many established and emerging Indian art practitioners are using several innovative means and mediums for their foray into public art.

New unconventional and viewer-friendly art exhibitions are growingly moving to outdoor spaces. They offer a holistic, curated museum experience in their quality, complexity, and also scope, albeit sans the walls.

In cities like New York, public art is infusing a breath of fresh air even as exhibitions growingly moving to outdoor spaces, offering visitors a curated museum experience albeit sans the walls. These exhibits represent the renewed wave in public art domain in New York, moving away from the classic notion of simply plopping a ubiquitous bronze monument in any public square. They are more like elaborate museum shows in their quality, complexity, and also scope, with a curator meticulously selecting artists or artworks that communicate with each other and situating the artworks for the sake of artistic resonance and relevance.

On the other hand, a rich and wide collection of Berlin's art seamlessly resides in the culturally rich city's 180-odd museums. However, the real draw for art lovers is perhaps the thriving public art scene of the city. Astounding pieces such as Jeff Koons's sculpted, bewildering ‘Balloon Flower’ dot its plazas. An array of artworks -some, like Blu's mask-ripping mural located in Kreuzberg, massive in scale – graciously adorn urban spaces everywhere.

Another example is the Tacheles art house, converted from a derelict structure constructed in the early 20th century, is a fantastic gallery inside and out: a mix of planned exhibits and the colossal canvas of the enchanting building's own facade, Tacheles is still a work in progress.

Works by Ritesh Meshram at Chemould Prescott Road

For Ritesh Meshram, often the found object is the start of the narrative. Yet, it’s not the history of the object or what it stands for that is his inspiration. It is the synapse in between. In that synapse, he intervenes, and finds a new story, a new form, a new life, as evident in his works on view at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai.

In his assemblages, an essay by art writer Deepika Sorabjee mentions, the found object/objects as starting points are put together, arranged, deranged or added on to make a composite whole. This play of material, one against the other, repeatedly deployed by the artist in his practice, indicates how strongly the materialness of the object matters.

The narrative maybe a subliminal informant to the work, but it is the materiality that is the driving force and often leads narration into abstraction. The end result is often playful, always elegant, inviting the viewer to re-examine a familiar object in this new theatre, discarding pre-conceived ideas, as a particularity is soon rendered peculiar, then not so peculiar as a new form emerges in one’s mind.

The artist uses the material of the object to guide him. Sometimes, no firm idea exists. It’s the tactility of his interaction with the object that is central to his work. Form informs in its accession, as an assemblage builds on itself, a circular form may add on to a rectangular setting.

Even when there is no assemblage as in his recent work at Gasworks, where he used white cement to fill in voids, (again that synaptic junction between physical forms that excite), the wet cement allows improvisation, impressions to be made, gestures that subtly alter the familiar again. There’s lots that is accidental in his casting; that, is Meshram following an idea through, the process evolving constantly.

In his assemblages it is the mechanism that one first encounters. On looking closer, these ‘machines’ are meaningless, much as the various components comprising it no longer belong to the known. What then is this machine/installation/assemblage saying now? It is at that point of seeing, the work, works your imagination and a new avatar of old spirits takes shape in one’s mind.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An exhibit about light as an essential artistic material

A group of fourteen artists have used natural light as an essential material for artistic creation, much as they would use marble, wood or paint. They have sought inspiration from the sun, stars, and moon; from lightning and fire.

The resultant show, entitled ‘Light and Landscape’, features work of art that highlight not only the natural light’s visual experience, but also its impact on our day-to-day lives as well as ecosystem. Fugitive by very nature, the light efficiently harnessed here - by, among other names, Tobias Putrih, Alyson Shotz, and Anish Kapoor - changes right through the day and during the entire course of the exhibition season.

Other participating artists follow a conceptual approach to natural light, looking to translate its energy into other meaningful forms; the light acts as their point of departure. The confetti that gets released from Katie Paterson’s miniature cannon is matched to the colors of gamma-ray bursts.

Spencer Finch’s Lunar makes use of solar energy for powering a lunar module. Projects executed by Peter Coffin and Diana Thater looks to assess the impact of sunlight on animal life. Coffin’s Untitled (Bees Making Honey) is comprised of tours of an apiary just at the outskirts of Storm King’s property, whereas Thater’s ‘Composite Sun’ is apparently inspired by her work on behalf of dolphins. The associate curator, Nora Lawrence, elaborates: “Light illuminates our days, and so time, too, becomes a pervasive and important theme.”

The avenue of Storm King Art Center serves as an inimitable and immaculate setting for an intriguing exhibition about light. Its 500-acre landscape has been inspiring to many. Most of the works on display here are site-specific, or made especially for this exhibit. It’s interspersed among the center’s permanent collection - both inside and out.

When it was founded, the venue focused on the radiant, sublime vistas visualized by the painters of the 19th-century Hudson River School. The show honors this glorious chapter in the history of Storm King by presenting an array of contemporary artists who continue the great work of these predecessors, treating natural light in newer ways.

‘Light and Landscape’ show runs through November 11, 2012 at Storm King Art Center, Old Pleasant Hill Road, Mountainville (for GPS: 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, N.Y.)

A show that maps innovative and remarkable periods in the art history

A new exhibition in Philadelphia includes masterpieces by artists like Albert Gleizes, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Signac. They emphasize the French tradition of grand public paintings. Works by those like Nicolas Poussin and others underline the prevalence of the Arcadian theme.

The theme of an earthly paradise, or Arcadia, has been popular in theater, poetry, music, and art perhaps since antiquity. In France during the early 1900s, this peculiar idea of a mystical place of harmony and contentment was rather potent--illustrated in mural-sized paintings often commissioned for public viewing.

‘Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia’ at the Philadelphia Museum of Art explores the theme in three such paintings of the time: Paul Gauguin’s ‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’ (1898), Paul Cézanne’s ‘The Large Bathers’ (1906), and Henri Matisse’s ‘Bathers by a River’ (1909-17). Placed on view together, in a dialogue of sorts, these three masterpieces take visitors to the very foundations of modern art. Here are the situations and scenarios attached with the magnificent works:
  • Inspired by his travels in Tahiti, Gauguin painted ‘Where Do We Come From?’ as an embodiment of his vision of Arcadia in 1898. Shortly after its completion, the painting was exhibited in Paris at the art gallery of Ambroise Vollard.
  • Also in Paris at that moment were Paul Cézanne, who happened to be at work on a portrait of Vollard, and Henri Matisse, who had just abandoned his legal studies for a career in art. It’s unclear whether either Cézanne or Matisse was aware of Gauguin’s vast canvas, but it is fascinating to examine their own later masterpieces in relation to it.
  • Cézanne’s Arcadian ideal is exemplified in the 1906 painting ‘The Large Bathers’, which combines figures and landscape in a stagelike setting deeply rooted in the past. Matisse, meanwhile, completed one of his own largest paintings, ‘Bathers by a River’, in several stages between 1909 and 1917.
With major loans from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Art Institute of Chicago, ‘Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia’ allows visitors to experience works created during one of the most innovative and remarkable periods in the history of art.

‘Critical Mass' at Tel Aviv Museum of Art

A new curated show at Tel Aviv Museum of Art is the first ever major overview that exposes the Israeli public to the thriving contemporary Indian art scene. It includes seventeen artists, both established, well-known artists and several young, emerging artists. The show will take place at the newly built and highly celebrated Herta and Paul Amir building.

The works included in this exhibition, entitled ‘Critical Mass', are anchored in the tumultuous social and political reality, and their multiple layers of meaning reflect different responses to the deep transformations that have been taking place in Indian society over the past two decades.

A press release states: The notion of matter and material serves as a principle metaphor for the physical and visual experiences of the contemporary dynamic life in Indian megalopolis. One of the salient characteristics of the works included in this exhibition is the repetition, multiplicity and duplication of images or motifs that are densely arrayed together.

“This state of multiplicity echoes the visual texture and chaotic expanses of the Indian megalopolis. This overwhelming experience of density, ornamentation, noise, flow, and rich materiality is clearly reflected in the themes, materials, and visual aesthetics of the works featured in this exhibition.”

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, envisioned and founded in 1932,  is one of Israel's leading artistic and cultural institutions. It comprises various departments: The Department of Israeli Art, which holds a comprehensive collection of local art from the beginning of the 20th century to the present; the Dept of Modern and Contemporary Art, which encompasses international works from the mid-19th century to the present; the Dept of Prints and Drawings; one for Photography, Architecture and Design, as well as the Old Masters Department, with art from the 16th to the 19th century.

In addition to its extensive program of permanent and changing exhibitions, the renowned art institution offers a vibrant selection of programs and activities for adults, youth and children: concerts, classes, lectures, guided tours and workshops among other activities.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mapping metaphysical relationship between finite and the infinite worlds

A recent series of works by the Mumbai-based artist and independent designer, Ichha Bhojani, tries to map the metaphysical relationship existing between the visible and invisible and the finite and the infinite worlds. The new body of mixed media works, moored in the Bahai faith and its philosophy, strive to explore the tenuous and fragile link between reality and dreams, the physical and mystical planes, and body and soul.

Her first solo show in Mumbai, received rave reviews. The artist has just debuted in the city of Bengaluru, where she spent her formative years. Iccha Bhojani. Inspired by the Bahai faith, as mentioned above, the series encapsulates the philosophy of life. It talks about the selfless service as part of our lives. The schism between the material and eternal world is something always bridged by the soul. Its progress is directly co-related to our service rendered to the world and people around.

The artist has tried to express this thought through her work. The artist’s works are an outcome of different processes. She photographs and then makes a collage and sketches on it. Reminiscing about her early years spent in Bengaluru where she found her calling for art at Mallya Aditi School where her career began. Her art teacher encouraged her to take up art.

While she likes to paint, Ichha Bhojani reveals her best job was with Sathya Paul where she was in charge of doing up the windows - a visual merchandising job - coming up with a monsoon concept or a summer window apart from working on displaying the sarees. The vivacious window served as her vast canvas. She had worked then for their New Delhi and Mumbai stores.

With a staunch belief in divine powers, she is a perfectionist, focusing on mixed media. Her work features elements of collage, drawing and print. The artist looks to attain a subtle sense of the ‘ever after’ in her works. She elaborates, "We don't believe in physical rebirth. We believe in the journey of the soul, that the soul continues to progress. The way we make use of our physical life reflects in the soul’s progress. It prompts you to rethink how you live your present life."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Politics as live performance, an evolving art form

Artists have always looked to blur the fine lines among life, politics and art. Joseph Beuys, for instance, planted trees as ecological sculpture - thousands of them. Gordon Matta-Clark was the one who opted to stockpile useless slivers of Manhattan real estate for illustrating property ownership’s absurdity.

This tradition carries in Tania Bruguera’s work. The Cuban-born artist has created the equivalent of a performance piece ‘the Immigrant Movement International in Corona, Queens’. Made as a gesture of solidarity with those who illegally live in foreign countries, the movement is run from a Roosevelt Avenue storefront.

The New York Times art critic, Holland Cotter, mentions: “When Ms. Bruguera first set up the project in Corona in 2011, with financing from Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, skeptics assumed that it was an artist’s ego trip. A year and a half later, and with most of the money gone, the work is still in progress.”

There a tiny staff along with a roster of volunteers, several of them artists, conduct a program - free and seven days a week - of practical assistance apart from consciousness-raising activities aimed at neighborhood residents. Many of them are new arrivals from Mexico and Ecuador.

Services include computer instruction and legal advice. But there are reading lessons as well to double as apt introductions to art history, emphasizing on the life tales of artists in the past; tai chi; health classes incorporating meditation and theater workshops, which function as safe places for working out stress, reimagining reality and rehearsing political interventions.

One important goal of the Immigrant Movement International is to generate awareness of the civil rights for immigrants and bring the same into public realm. How to attain it effectively is the issue. And this exactly is the focus of community meetings.

The merging of life and art as envisioned by Ms. Bruguera envisions is a constantly evolving concept. Some people sought straightforward protest marches; a few others supported subtler forms of mass demonstration, with its roots in street theater. Everyone basically understood the core of politics-as-performance idea, ready to go with it.

A celebrated artist's intrinsic inspirations

According to celebrated artist Subodh Gupta, art language essentially remains the same across the globe, which lets him ‘be anywhere’.

The Bihar-born artist began as a painter in the 1980s before he branched into installation and video. He has been at the forefront of the contemporary art boom South Asian with his sculptures that are crafted from ubiquitous food pots and cow-dung patties. “I very well remember carrying food in a tiffin box to my dad,” he has stated in an interview.

Art has only one language. Even if one does not understand the content, one should at least be able to say, ‘My God, this is a good piece,’” he emphasizes in one of his interviews (Gareth Harris of The UK Financial Times). The artist is keen to maintain a ‘healthy distance’ from patrons as he asserts: “I respect (the late French film-maker Claude) Berri and François Pinault. They have money and they collect art. Four or five people in India are among the richest in the world but they have no passion for supporting art.

His intelligent and slick usage of homespun materials testifies the tipping point of India’s rapid economic transformation and simultaneously strikes a chord with art audiences in India and abroad. His cooking utensils installation brought him accolades at Frieze Art Fair 2005. French billionaire François Pinault placed ‘Very Hungry God’, his 1,000kg monumental skull made of ordinary pots and pans, outside the Palazzo Grassi gallery in Venice. It was the must-see pieces at the 2007 Biennale.

He draws largely from everyday scenarios and objects. His aesthetic tends to delineate the complex inter-relations of rural and urban communities of India. It depicts the aftereffect of the traditional Indian society’s modernization and consumerism. Subodh Gupta has showcased his works at some of the most prestigious galleries in Europe, America and other parts of the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Works that reflect contemporary concerns

G. R. Iranna, who hails from a modest rural background, is counted among India’s leading artists. Issues such as growing urban-rural divide and inequality affect him deeply at a sub-conscious level as an individual and as an artist.

His thought process has undergone a subtle, albeit definite transition. Initially, his work was based on his personal experiences and memories. G. R. Iranna's oeuvre has gradually expanded. It now encompasses broader social concerns and issues affecting common people. His concerns regarding the current sociopolitical scenario find resonance in his work.

G. R. Iranna's figures have become more representative of contemporary human experiences and concerns. He adds, "When I started as a painter, my work was largely two dimensional. However, I felt the urge to ‘touch and feel’ the direct physical presence of things under scrutiny, and turned to sculpting simultaneously. According to him, this is a natural process associated with an artist’s evolution and maturing.

G. R. Iranna reminiscences: “I was born and brought up in a typical rural environment. When I migrated to a city, I could relate my experiences of urban India with my childhood, giving me a new perspective of life and its extremities. My artistic growth would not have been complete, and my art would not have reached its present point of maturity without either of the experiences.” In fact, he can relate to both the worlds. The artist quips, “I feel that both the worlds and the people belonging to them share similar concerns.

Critics have observed his works wean away from postmodern logic, and it tends to subscribe to the idealistic, representative language of Indian contemporary art. He personally thinks his artistic approach goes much beyond such labels. He adds, “It’s illustrative of the spirit of human experiences - timeless and immortal.”

He points out that each medium has its own challenges. For example, by using gunny bag in some of my works, I have been able to change the meaning as well as the language of the object in different artistic expressions. Known for his sensitive portrayal of serious issues, he strikes a chord with the viewers. The artist cherishes their response as much as the critics’ pat.

Summing up the spirit of his art, he has mentioned: “What I see, experience and perceive, it unconsciously transcends into my figurative language. I treat my work as a documentation of historical reality and look for clues of social changes through it.”

‘Shambhala’ and ‘The Allure of Japan’ at MFA, Boston

A peculiar Sanskrit word, ‘Shambhala’, describes a mythical land whose exact location is hidden behind mist of snow-capped mountains, where peace reigns, wealth abounds, and there is no illness.

The West was first introduced to the concept as ‘Shangri-la’ in the 1930s book and film Lost Horizon, but Shambhala, in both physical and spiritual senses, has been part of Tibetan Buddhist art and culture for centuries. ‘ In this context, ‘Seeking Shambhala’ explores the spiritual realm within the Tibetan tradition, and brings to the fore two contemporary artists’ personal journeys to Shambhala. In 1906, the Museum acquired a set of 17th-century Tibetan paintings depicting the mythical Shambhala kings and the Buddha.

Tibetan Buddhist scriptures state that there have been and will be 32 kings (we are currently in the reign of the 28th) and that the last will usher in an age of enlightenment. The paintings have been recently conserved and restored back into traditional thangka (hanging scroll) mounts. The series is comprised of these 23 paintings along with Buddhist ritual implements, sculpture, and other objects, putting these colorful, complex images in context.

Also on view are works by Japanese graphic artist Tadanori Yokoo, including his ‘Shambala’ series of prints produced in 1974. The contemporary Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso, whose collage titled The Shambala in Modern Times was shown at the 53rd Venice Biennale, is also represented.

Meanwhile, another exhibition, entitled ‘The Allure of Japan’ traces a fascination for all things Japanese swept the United States in the period around 1900. An influx of Japanese goods and emissaries into America sparked a wave of interest in a foreign culture once seen as impossibly remote. Artists and collectors gathered Japanese objects, studied Japanese traditions, and integrated Japanese styles and techniques into their own work.

The show celebrates this cultural moment with a rich display of rarely exhibited American prints, posters, watercolors, and decorative arts complemented by a selection from the Museum’s renowned Japanese collections.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

‘New Media: New Forms’

A new interesting group exhibition by New Jersey-based artists takes a cue from ‘New Media: New Forms’, as the title suggests. This year’s New Jersey Arts Annual: Fine Arts exhibition is devoted, as the title suggest, to new media art.

As the world around us is becoming increasingly digitized, several contemporary artists are expertly incorporating new forms and technologies into their artworks.  The thirteen artists chosen for this juried show produce works that innovatively and actively engage with digital media, in terms of elements like process, content, or form. Working in video, installation, photography, sound,sculpture, drawing, performance etc, they have produced enchanting works.

The participating artists are: Gregg Biermann, Valerie Huhn, Efrat Kedem, Andrew Demirjian, JC Lenochan, Joan Pamboukes, Kara Rooney, Keith Kostelny, Joe Scanlan, Peter Tilgner, Vincent Salvati, Matthew Wilson, and Liselot van der Heijden.

Most of the works in the show use familiar technology and strategies that are endemic to contemporary art, such as sampling, appropriating as well as remaking older works of art. An example of this is ‘Los Nuevos Monumentos de Passaic’ (2012) by Joe Scanlan. Anyone well familiar with contemporary art trends sure will recognize the obvious reference to  a classic conceptual essay-artwork ‘A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey’ (1967) by Robert Smithson that employed the art-magazine layout as its peculiar medium.

Another work, which looks to piggyback on an existing masterpiece, is  ‘Labyrinthine’ (2010) by Gregg Biermann, a video that makes use of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958) as starting point.  ‘New Media: New Forms’ runs through July 22 at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, N.J.

The New Jersey Arts Annual is a unique series of Fine Arts and Crafts exhibitions highlighting the works of visual artists and craftspeople in the state. The series is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State; the Montclair Art Museum; the Morris Museum; the Newark Museum; the Noyes Museum of Art and the New Jersey State Museum.

The work in digital media for this series was juried by Curator of Contemporary Art of the Montclair Art Museum, Alexandra Schwartz and Kelly Baum, Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Is creating and viewing art finally turning a mass-level activity?

Just outside suburban Mumbai’s gleaming Maker Maxity tower, a ravishing red double-decker public transport vehicle, resembling one that used to ply the city roads in the 1970s, drew everyone’s attention for quite a long period. One could see it sprouting a couple of stainless steel wings, its front wheel slightly raised off the ground as if set for a takeoff. A plaque beside it read: ‘Sometimes when we travel, we forget who we are...’

Its inception can be traced to the artist’s meeting with Manish Maker on a flight. Starline, an automotive company, helped him fabricate the piece, weighing almost 9,000 kilograms (10 tonne). It was brought from Belgaum, Karnataka to Mumbai after a 600 kilometer long journey by road and was thrown open for public viewing earlier this year. The bus could house a transitory audience, which drops in and comes out as BEST passengers used to.

An exhibition space on the upper and lower deck of the bus hosts noteworthy creators from the fields of art, architecture, photography and film like Delhi-based filmmaker Amar Kanwar, photographer Dayanita Singh, artist Gurdeep Singh, graphic novelist Arijit Sen and the Bangalore art duo, Pors & Rao.

This fascinating Flying Bus sculpture by Sudarshan Shetty, which cost an estimated $250,000, can be counted among India's most prominent public art projects. An unconventional notion of ‘art-within-art’ stands for his keenness to draw the people to artistic world. His purpose seems to have been served as a steady stream of visitors often checks into the public gallery.

The project in a way, redefines the myriad possibilities for public art domain. He has been quoted as saying: “Public art is a very difficult space because it’s going to remain there forever presumably. But I believe that all objects are bound to change in their meaning over time so this allows for that continuous change.” According to the senior artist, instead of curating shows, he just selects practitioners to showcase their work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shows on Indian and Chinese art traditions at The PEM

Two significant art exhibitions revolving around India’s art traditions are about to conclude. Located in the Traditional Indian Art Gallery, the shows have been around for over a year. Two more shows on the Chinese art traditions are currently on; here’s a quick recap of the shows:

Of Gods and Mortals, Traditional Art from India
In India, art is an integral part of daily life. The importance of paintings, sculpture, textiles and other art forms comprises two basic categories, one related to religious practices and the other to the expression of prestige and social position. This new installation of works from the Peabody Essex Museum’s collection of Indian art will feature approximately 28 pieces, principally representing the 1800’s to the present.

Faces of Devotion, Indian Sculpture from the Figiel Collection
The Peabody Essex Museum had acquired the Dr. Leo Figiel Collection of Indian sculpture––widely‐regarded as the finest collection of its kind.

This exhibition presents a dramatic selection of ritual bronzes spanning the last millennium featuring depictions of deified heroes, pastoral gods and goddesses, and totemic animal spirits.
These bronzes were principally made for Hindu ritual practice in the west and southwest regions of India and are the best examples of local and vernacular artistry.

A complement to neighboring galleries of traditional and contemporary Indian art, this exhibition offers an opportunity to explore the connections between India’s artistic past and present.

Perfect Imbalance, Exploring Chinese Aesthetics
Chinese culture is diverse, longstanding and ever-changing. Yet common ties unite. This exhibition offers an approach to understanding Chinese culture through a study and celebration of the aesthetics of Chinese art. Objects included reveal key aesthetic clues that define the art of China, and distinguish it from art produced by neighboring regions, or art made in China for the export market.
These aesthetic standards prevailed with the passing of time and foreign influences. Ultimately they are a testament to the power of art. The exhibition features 30 objects that date from the Neolithic era to 2004 in a range of media including paintings, jade, textiles, porcelain and prints.

Fish, Silk, Tea, Bamboo: Cultivating an Image of China
Through delicate works on paper and other select objects, explore four essential motifs Westerners often associate with China -- fish, silk, tea, bamboo. Each was cultivated for artistic expression as well as profit. All helped shape the emerging concept of the Middle Kingdom in 18th-century Europe.

Mahatma Gandhi as an icon for artists

Even today, the Mahatma seems to be the icon that is drawing artists, art world and auctioneers globally. Several Indian practitioneers have created works that revolve around the ideology of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and it’s worth revisiting their works inspired by the great freedom fighter’s philosophy and his persona. For example, his frail frame with a stick in hand was portrayed by painter Nandlal Bose during the Dandi Yatra in 1931.

Another Santiniketan artist Ramkinkar Baij was also influenced by him.The Father of the Nation has been a favorite theme for many masters and contemporaries. Prime among them are Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat and Atul Dodiya, three of India’s finest contemporary artists.

Atul Dodiya, in particular, has been deeply touched by the Mahatma’s teachings. He is conscious of historical perspectives, a fact that reflects in his works based on the Mahatma’s message. The artist has been trying to re-contextualize the Mahatma’s message of non-violence, peace and tolerance through his paintings.

Among the younger ones, Hindol Brahmbhatt has worked on several diptychs and triptychs, around 30 of them, that locate the relevance of the Father of the Nation and his philosophy in today’s context. The sensitive artist is pained by hollowness that surrounds the ritual of remembering the Mahatma. Several of the artist’s creations juxtapose images of war, violence and strife with the Mahatma pushed to the background that heightens the sense of irony.

A group show, ‘Detour’, courtesy Mumbai based Chemould Prescott a few years ago, featured photographers Ravi Agarwal, Sonia Jabbar, Samar Jodha, Dayanita Singh and Ram Rahman whose work revolved around Gandhi’s movement for freedom. It commemorated the centennial of Gandhi’s seminal work, Hind Swaraj (1909).

Curator Ranjit Hoskote had stated: "By turns illuminating, exasperating and inspiring, these utopian and redemptive writings remind us that ‘nationalism’ was not a single script; that the India these thinkers envisioned was, and will always be, a work in progress.”

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An essentially celebratory art by one of India’s most celebrated female artists

One of India’s most noteworthy contemporary artists, Nalini Malani’s practice is greatly influenced by her personal experiences of the Partition of India. Her point of view is urban and internationalist, and unwavering in its abject condemnation of a cynical nationalism, which looks to exploit the blind beliefs of the masses. In a way, hers is an art of excess that traverses the boundaries of legitimized narrative, and exceeds the conventional, to initiate dialogue.

As a woman who has lived in a world of ‘man’-made disasters, she has often drawn from the stories of characters like Aka, Medea, and Mad Meg. Elaborating on her tendency to ‘retell’ stories in paintings and installations, she has stated: “In India stories from the epics are told over and over again. When people know the story there is a certain pact because they can anticipate what will come next. My idea is not only to retell them in a new form but also in new configurations.”

While studying at Mumbai’s Sir J.J. School of Arts, she acquired a studio, and had the opportunity to interact with senior artists like Tyeb Mehta and MF Husain. After completing a Diploma in Fine Arts (1964-69), she received a Scholarship for Fine Arts from French Government (1971-72). In the eighties she organized the landmark exhibition, entitled ‘Place for People’, along with Vivan Sundaram. Later she thought of a traveling exhibition comprising only female artists, ‘Through the Looking Glass’.

Amplified characteristics of her socially sensitive works gradually transformed into new media, international collaboration, slipping into the surrounding space like ephemeral wall drawing, shadow play, multi projection works, installation and theatre. Bringing out the essence of her artistic evolution, The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith has rightly pointed out in a review: “The artist seems indebted to American artists like Nancy Spero, Ida Applebroog etc, who have used illustrational styles.

“Her work surpasses theirs, thanks to its glowing, transparent colors; ease of execution; and visual richness. These qualities make it, despite its sometimes harsh subject matter, an essentially celebratory art.”

A stolen Dali drawing sent back

A $150,000 significant drawing by the world-renowned Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí stolen from a Manhattan gallery several days ago was resent to New York by Express Mail from Europe, according to the US Postal Inspection Service.

According to news reports, postal inspectors were able to intercept it at Kennedy International Airport before the parcel was sorted for delivery. The drawing (11-by-14-inch), ‘Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio’, was allegedly taken from the gallery Venus Over Manhattan , at 980 Madison Avenue in June by a thief who strolled in casually with a shopping bag and moved out with the Dalí work. He simply lifted the drawing off the gallery wall.

It had been hanging alongside over a dozen other artworks in the new gallery’s debut exhibition. Also in the show were a portrait of Russell Means, the American Indian activist, by Andy Warhol and another painting by Llyn Folkes ‘I Left My Heart at Wounded Knee’, and few older works such as ‘Des Esseintes’ by the noted French painter Odilon Redon  and the Swiss-born British artist Henry Fuseli’s work ‘Fairy Mab’ (1793).

The police had released surveillance images showing the thief wearing the checkered shirt. The gallery owner, Adam Lindemann, had been quoted as saying, “There was a security guard standing right there, so how you don’t see a young, sweaty guy with a shopping bag something I don’t understand. And what do you do with a stolen drawing by Dalí?” he had also wondered

Investigation authorities stated that the answer to that query apparently turned out to be, actually not much. Typically, they said, thieves of works could not sell stolen paintings ‘since they are hot.” And the sources added that there had been no arrests thus far in the case.  The gallery apparently received an e-mail that said the drawing had been sent back. It also included an Express Mail tracking number.

Mr. Lindemann, a writer and art collector who said that the gallery was actively cooperating with the police, has refused to speak to media after the work was found.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A spotlight on ‘Indian Highway VI’

It was in December 2008 that the traveling show found its first home in Serpentine Gallery in London before it unwound in Oslo, then in the Danish city of Herning, and later in Lyon before moving to Rome’s MAXXI contemporary art museums.

One of the highlights was a 25m long stainless steel installation by Subodh Gupta. It featured cooking utensils peculiarly stacked on shelves. Jitish Kallat’s ‘Autosaurus Tripous’ (2007), a skeleton model of a rickshaw, ‘prehistoric’ vehicles was also widely applauded.

At a broader level, the highway’s impact on and importance for movement and development is core theme of this exhibition series. Its title also refers to technology and the information superhighway that has played such a crucial role for India’s financial boom and for the development undergone within the nation’s art scene in recent decades.

The rapid and dramatic development in India’s socio-political situation during recent years is definitely among the defining turn of events of the new millennium, even from a global perspective. The country’s constantly evolving, complex scenario is often compared to China’s own emergence as a world superpower, and rightly so.

A vibrant generation of Indian artists now works across a range of artistic media from painting, sculpture, and photography to installation and video art, reflecting on the country’s role as an important player within the global economy. However, knowledge of India as a country, its people, culture and its vibrant creative landscape has been rather slow to take root in its powerful neighbor.

In this context, the fact that ‘Indian Highway VI’ finally makes way into the city of Beijing is a huge development. The group exhibition travels to various cities, not necessary as the original version, but as a unique collaborative effort with the respective hosting museum. The impressive showcase flags just some of the more ambitious and more concerted efforts to present Indian art to global audiences. It serves as a powerful platform to provide viewers as well as potential buyers, a big picture and good introduction to art from the emerging art powerhouse of the world.

A grand effort to acquaint international audiences with Indian art

Giving modern and contemporary Indian art a global spin, a grand traveling exhibition is a unique collaborative effort with the respective hosting museum, featuring internationally renowned artists and emerging talented practitioners. ‘Indian Highway VI’ has made its way into the city of Beijing.

Summing up the importance of this whole exercise, Margherita Stancati of The Wall street Journal had mentioned in a news report: "The traveling show’s Very Big Picture is a good way to give people–and potential buyers–a first introduction to Indian art. An art critic who reviewed the London show, for instance, openly admitted that before then he had never even heard of either Mr. Gupta, the star of India’s contemporary art scene, nor of M.F. Husain, the Modernist painter who is widely considered the country’s greatest living artist. The chances are this is the case for most other visitors too.

“Questions can be asked about the very concept of country-specific shows in general. Sure, knowing an artist’s background can help place the work in context, but it can also get misleading. Does someone like Bharti Kher, born in London, necessarily have more in common with other artists from India than she does with Damien Hirst? There’s another risk involved in an India-only show: that the 'Indianness' of the work on view (think bindis, rickshaws, tiffins etc) may not only overshadow–but perhaps also take precedence–over intrisnic artistic merit. Some did argue this was the case when the exhibit opened at the Serpentine, indicating the works selected engaged overtly with their Indian identity to make it more palatable to a Western audience.”

However, on the positive side, the show has become more coherent than when it first was launched: not only are the artworks on view strictly contemporary but its focus on themes like urbanization provides it a much sharper edge. It’s indeed an ambitious and meticulously arranged traveling show that carefully maps contemporary Indian art trends.  And by the time ‘Indian Highway’ finally reaches New Delhi, the capital city of India, it is bound to get even better.

A grand India showcase in China

In the form of a road movie across 3 continents (Europe, South America, Asia), each stage along the ‘Indian Highway’ is the occasion for a totally new episode.  The exhibition theme, modern and contemporary art representative of a whole subcontinent, is reinterpreted each time to fit changing venues, make room for new works and satisfy curatorial whims.

In a way, the show does a bit more than just travel; it takes a new spin with every stop that it takes. The grand showcase of contemporary Indian art is now being hosted at The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). Opened in 2007, it’s a not-for-profit art center that serves a global Beijing public. Founded by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens Located right at the heart of the 798 Art District. Through a wide array of exhibitions and programs, it promotes the development of the local artistic environment, showcases the latest in domain of art, design, and other allied fields.

Underlining the significance of this monumental development, an accompanying note to the show elaborates, “It brings together the work of over thirty artists spanning a wide range of media and subject matter. Much of the work explores social and political issues key to the Indian situation, including environmentalism, religious sectarianism, gender, sexuality, and class. The arrival of this international touring exhibition in Beijing will mark the most comprehensive presentation of contemporary art from India ever seen in China.”

The culmination of thorough research done across India by curator-duo of Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery directors, and Astrup Fearnley Museum director Gunnar B. Kvaran, the exhibit features artists who have made an impact on the international art scene alongside emerging talented practitioners - Jitish Kallat, Subodh Gupta, Sudarshan Shetty, Bharti Kher, Amar Kanwar, Tejal Shah, Dayanita Singh, and Nikhil Chopra. Each one of them deals with specific social and human issues.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

‘Found Gesture’ by Radhika Khimji

Talented artist Radhika Khimji’s new series of works, entitled ‘Found Gesture’ is on view at the Katara Gallery, Qatar.

Born in Oman in 1979, Radhika Khimji first did her BFA at the Slade School of Fine Art, and then completed her post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Art, London. She has shown her work widely across galleries in the US and Europe, Including a solo at Bose Pacia, New York and group shows at the Saatchi Gallery and INIVA,  London, apart from several international art fairs like Art Dubai, The Indian Art Summit, ARCO and Art Basel Miami Beach. Her work forms part of several notable international collections in appreciation of her talent.

Her paintings and sculptures point to an ongoing engagement with both surface and form. The surfaces of her figures are usually created through a conscious building of marks, found images and drawings. The temporal component of this particular active mark-making does implicate for the artist a certain artistic journey across the whole surface of the work. The outcome is a veritable, curious cartography of activity – both the act of drawing and remembering as well as the physical moving in space.

The purposeful censorship of specific communication apparatuses, namely faces and arms, invariably imbue her figures with an affected muteness. Even while the conventional communicative devices get muted, the figures tend to speak through their highly unique positions, movements and relationships. The result is a powerful juxtaposition. The playful configurations of fascinating forms shift the relationships existing between figure and ground.

The shifting perspective in her installations, to go with her combinations of both palimpsestic textures and surfaces, creates space for endless conceptual possibilities. This openness has been attributed by Vincent Honoré to the artist's ‘(i)nterconnections between an exploration of Indian, Arabic and European formal structures together with the different movements of traveling, reading, and dancing …’