It’s a major milestone for Reena Kallat to be chosen for creating the first work of the project ‘Public’ by ZegnArt in India. It’s the first edition of the project promoted, created and organized by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group as part of ZegnArt, a platform that brings together in one coherent project plan all the operations that the Zegna Group realizes within a contemporary context.
The recent presentation in Milan was attended by the group’s Image Director and Fondazione Zegna President, Anna Zegna; project coordinator Andrea Zegna; Simone Menegoi and Cecilia Canziani, the curators of ZegnArt Public; and the MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome director, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi,among others. As the protagonist of the inaugural edition, Reena Kallat participated in the event.
The meticulous process leading to her selection involved several stages, the first of which needed the curatorial team - composed of the two curators and project coordinator Andrea Zegna – to make several visits in collaboration with the Museum director, Tasneem Mehta. At the end of the comprehensive survey within the territory, conducted in accordance with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, seven Indian artists were requested to submit an extensive proposal for work designed by them specifically for the project: Atul Bhalla, Sakshi Gupta, Alwar Balasubramaniam, Srivanasa Prasad, Gigi Scaria, Hema Upadhyay, and Reena Kallat,
The jury including Gildo and Anna Zegna, Tasneem Zacharia Mehta, Minal Bajaj and Jyotindra Jain and Andrea Zegna, project coordinator, chose Reena Kallat from three finalists on basis of the following premise: “Her work fully responds to the spirit of the commission: it looks to favor and privilege the relationship with the public space, from a formal point of view, as the artwork is meant to be exposed on the main facade of the building, as well as in terms of content, having as its theme the history of colonial and post colonial life within Mumbai. It lends itself to offering an opportunity for a bright educational program. Most importantly it’s engaging, with an emotional and aesthetic impact, which can reach a wider audience.”
The artist’s practice reflects the popular and iconic influences placed in context of the historical as well as contemporary narratives. Her signature motif involves employing the rubber stamp, an approved symbol of Indian officialdom. Another recurrent theme in her oeuvre is maps, as she looks to explore the dichotomy between stricter border controls and increased globalization.