Saturday, July 6, 2013

Public art is taking root in India

Here are a couple of noteworthy instances of recent public art projects in India:

Subodh Gupta’s 'Line of Control'

Kiran Nadar, the chairperson of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), accomplished the mounting of probably India's largest ever public art installation at any museum in the country. Subodh Gupta’s 'Line of Control' at her museum site in New Delhi is a 36 feet x 36 feet stainless steel mushroom cloud acquired from Europe's Hauser & Wirth gallery.

Speaking on the occasion, she said “The ‘Line of Control’ is not merely unique and rare, but brings a whole set of new challenges for the museum in terms of its installing, maintenance and storage.” KNMA unveiled this iconic stainless steel installation by the renowned contemporary artist, set up for the first time in India. The cloud-like sculpture poignantly represents the mushroom cloud emanating from Hiroshima or Nagasaki in August 1945 when atomic bombs were hurled on the cities.

The Yamuna-Elbe public art project

Conceptualized and implemented in November 2011, The Yamuna-Elbe public art project was conceived as part of the India Week celebrations in Hamburg. It aimed at making people rethink their sacred and need based relationship with the river and the fragile ecology it supports by making it part of the art. Most of the works done by Indian and German artists were lined up along the two riverbanks.

Signifying the general apathy, artist-environmentalist and co-curator of the project, Ravi Agarwal, was quoted as saying, “While the river Yamuna is really on nobody’s mind in Delhi, the city of Hamburg has actually maintained the tidal data of the river for the last 100 years for each day.” Atul Bhalla conceived a 12- part series of a photo-performance on Elbe. Gigi Scaria’s 25-foot-high, fascinating fountain, kept pumping water from the river Yamuna and purify it as it’s pushed up. The artist intends to make similar fountains nearby several other polluted rivers of India.

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