Thursday, April 30, 2015

Experimenter 2015 - Calcutta gallery leads the field for South Asia, affirming its place on the international art scene


30 April 2015, New Delhi: 2015 marks a significant year for Experimenter, one of India’s leading contemporary art galleries, engaging with the international art community - not only with 3 of the gallery’s 12 artists presenting at the 56th Venice Biennale, but also with the participation of a world-class selection of international curators who will fly to Calcutta to take part in the annual Experimenter Curators’ Hub. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the celebrated platform for leaders in the field to discuss, debate and present contemporary thought on curatorial practice today.
Highlights of the gallery’s 2015 program include:
10 April - 30 May: Praneet Soi Srinagar - Inspired by his visits to the region during the post-protest period of 2010, Soi has extensively documented the Sufi shrines of Srinagar and collaborated with local craftsmen in the valley to create geometrically-patterned papier-mâché tiles that are symbolic of its rich cultural-history.
9 May - 22 November: 56th Venice Biennale - Experimenter is pleased to represent three artists exhibiting at the 56th Venice Biennale: Naeem Mohaiemen and Raqs Media Collective present works in the main exhibition and Bani Abidi as part of the Iran Pavilion. Each, in their own way, consistently challenges the boundaries of visual art to express their interpretation of the contemporary world.
Naeem Mohaiemen will show his new film Last man in Dhaka Central (2015) at the main exhibition All The World’s Futures curated by Okwei Enzenor. Since 2006, Mohaiemen’s The Young Man Was project has looked at fragments of the 1970s revolutionary left. Chapters include the 1977 hijack of Japan airlines (United Red Army), 1974 anti-maoist manhunts and the many lives of Rote armee Fraktion (Afsan’s Long Day), and a Dutch man who left his PhD program in 1973 to follow ultra-left movements (Last Man in Dhaka Central).
Bani Abidi will be part of The Great Game curated by Marco Meneguzzo and Mazdak Faizni at the Iran Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale 2015 at the Calle San Giovanni 1074/B, Cannaregio. Abidi will show one of her most iconic works on paper titled Security Barriers (2008) that is a design survey of security barriers on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan. An edition from this series is a part of MoMA, New York’s permanent collection. Other artists include: Lida Abdul, Nazgol Ansarinia, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Shadi Ghadirian, Shilpa Gupta, Amar Kanwar, Ryas Komu, Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana and others.

July 2015: Filament - Experimenter's annual moving-image exhibition that aims to bring exploratory, avant-garde film practices into the white cube gallery space.  This year’s exhibition will focus on long format films, that will be screened over 3 successive weekends in July.
23-25th July: The 5th Edition of the Experimenter Curators’ Hub 2015 - The Hub is a crucial platform in developing and sustaining discourse on curatorial practice and exhibition making. Each year the Hub invites 10 curators to present and discuss their practice in depth with reference to recent exhibitions curated by them.
The 5th edition of the Hub will bring together some of the foremost minds in curatorship from all over the world. The participating curators for ECH 2015 are: Giovanni Carmine, H.E. Sheikha Hoor-Al-Qassimi, Jitish Kallat, Roberto Benedetti, Shanay Jhaveri, Dr. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, amongst other curators from Poland, Japan, United Kingdom and Italy.
The 3-day event will see a coming together of Indian and international curators and visual arts communities, including critics, writers, artists, collectors and theorists. Attendance to Experimenter Curators’ Hub is free but on prior registration only on a first come first serve basis. Please email admin@experimenter.in to register the date/s on which you would like to attend. Last date to register is Saturday July 18, 2015.
August: Julien Segard Solo Show - Experimenter presents the first solo exhibition of New Delhi based French artist Julien Segard, who will be presenting a series of large works concerned with accumulated perspectives of industrial landscapes, with regards to time, movement, distance, light - each of which implicitly represents a specific journey for the artist. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public sculpture, which will be developed during the course of the exhibition.
 Prateek and Priyanka Raja, Co-Founders and Director's Experiementer
Experimenter was envisioned and started by Prateek & Priyanka Raja in 2009. Experimenter goes outside the hyper-commercial imperatives of the Indian art market, highlighting instead experimental and alternative artists from the entire South Asian subcontinent and artists globally who have a South Asian connection to their practice. Experimenter represents and manages the careers of some of the most exciting and celebrated contemporary artists from South Asia and the rest of the world, including, Bani Abidi, Raqs Media Collective, Naeem Mohaiemen,CAMP, Adip Dutta, Rathin Barman, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Mehreen Murtaza, Sanchayan Ghosh & Hajra Wahed. Experimenter’s artists exhibit at some of the most important international exhibitions and biennials like La Biennial de Venezia, Sao Paulo Biennale, dOCUMENTA, Sharjah Biennial amongst others and in museums such as New Museum NY, Guggenheim, NY, MoMA NY, Tate Modern, London, British Museum, London, MARCO, Rome, LACMA, SFMoMA, The BALTIC amongst several others. Experimenter also participates in major international art fairs such as Art Basel, Basel, Frieze Art Fair, London, Frieze, New York, Art Dubai and India Art Fair.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Artdistrict XIII presents 'The Mirror has no Heart' on May 1, 2015


Baroda Calling ! | Friday, May 1st, 2015


Constructs/Constructions in KNMA, New Delhi

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Constructs/Constructions
Curator: Roobina Karode
Venue: KNMA, 145, DLF South Court Mall, Saket, New Delhi 110017
April 23 – December 15, 2015
Participating artists: Adi Davierwalla, Anish Kapoor, Dayanita Singh, F.N. Souza, Ganesh Haloi, Gigi Scaria, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Hema Upadhyay, Himmat Shah, Jeram Patel, K.G. Subramanyan, L.N. Tallur, Manisha Parekh, Mariam Suhail, Masooma Syed, Nandita Kumar, Noemie Goudal, Nataraj Sharma, Pooja lranna, Ram Kumar, Seher Shah, S.H. Raza, Simryn Gill, Srinivasa Prasad, Sudarshan Shetty, Sumedh Rajendran, Tushar Joag, V. Vishwanadhan, Yamini Nayar and Zarina
 Work by Gigi Scaria
The expanding KNMA collection has been the starting point in inspiring Constructs/Constructions. The exhibition brings together 30 artists across-generations to further the explorations of the previous exhibition Working Spaces, addressing the passage/process that moves a creative work from the realm of a mental construct into the realm of a constructed image/reality to communicate through its form and content. It is focused on the close relationship between the act of making and the manifestation of thought and ideas. Focusing on a deeper interrogation of the  urban condition, of built structures around us and psychological constructs in the everyday.
The act of art making is a play between mental and material frames. Construct is an idea, an image or a theory that is formed through a number of simpler elements while the construction of it adds dimensions of materiality, technicality, sound, light and movement to express and communicate. Artists in the exhibition respond and create using a range of materials that are quite disparate and behave differently in their response to space making. The exhibition explores the dual ideas of immersion and emergence, referring to the actual process of putting pieces or fragments together, to create a landscape that traverses the passage between the ‘observed’ and ‘remembered’ experiences, in responding to nature, architecture, place and time.

Work by Masooma Syed
Several of the works invite viewers to enter into assembled/built environments with different spatial units, carefully constructed for a specific experience. Like mirages, they create illusions, proposing to displace the viewer from their current position, while continuously asking for reorientation, and rethinking the materiality of the worlds we inhabit.
As temporary insertions, the works in the exhibition propose on one hand to reflection massive outgrowth and new clusters accumulating in our globalized, networked urban condition and on the other hand invite strategies to absorb and deeply engage with the multiple histories and belongings that artists trace and dwell upon.
For instance, Gigi Scaria, Nataraj Sharma and Hema Upadhyay draw upon urban experiences of the everyday that affects us both physically and psychologically. The Elevator reinforces the accelerated pace of urban living and its translation into the anxiety of speed, hurried impressions and even claustrophobia penetrating our lives. Upadhyay looks at the over populated Dharavi basti in Mumbai that is perhaps the biggest slum in the world. Titled 8x12feet, marks the size of an average house in the slum. The dense organic structure as constructed bythe artist emphasizes the vulnerable proximity of the built structures with no breathing space left and yet its presence in the city as a functioning living organism.

 Work by Hema Upadhyay
Nataraj Sharma brings us the symbol of urban growth - a city always under construction and the sight of scaffolds and modular units. The bare bones of huge aspirations and ambitious expansions, these towers ofurban existence mark the energy/verve of life and simultaneously the inherent presence of death/ruin in the churnings of the cities.
For the Indian Modern Masters such as S.H. Raza and Ram Kumar, the city and its constant transformation changes the living landscape of places and some of them have looked at these structures to comprehend its architecture, respond to its built spaces, mark the growing absence of nature and often highlight moods of alienation, darkness and a mystery that engulfs city life. FN Souza’s dark heavy paint-laden lines frame man-made structures using an expressive impasto, capturing at times stark and brooding images of sites, cities and places encountered early in his travels to London, Paris and within India primarily the city of Benares.
K.G. Subramanyan’s mural-sized painting with five similar sized canvases, reveals the complexity of capturing the panorama of Indian life on a two-dimensional surface, using spatial registers to structure pictorial space and move the viewer's eye in and out of visual zones. Densely populated, the painting is an amazing example of constructing a painted world through the effective use of the interior and exterior spaces and the in-between states of transition that spill over to the next canvas.
While K.G. Subramanyan addresses the construction of spatial experiences within the two-dimensionality of the canvas, Gulammohammed Sheikh translates his painted spaces to be experienced in an architectural form, a portable structure that can be folded/contained in a large square box but can be opened to unfold as individual pages of a book or as a physical/three-dimensional structure that allows viewers to enter in, crossover and move in and out of its multiple sections.
As viewers we encounter the world referenced by the artist through the kaleidoscope of history, mythology and art imagery referenced from various world-cultures, all brought to coexist in the world that he creates.
There are several other works that offer a critical cross section of ideas, strategies of making and an exploration of materiality that lies outside the conventional modes of art making.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Shiv Nadar Foundation.

Thread by Thread Opens on May 1, 2015


Recent Works by Riyas Komu at Kashi Art Gallery


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Under Construction, April 24, 2015 @ Gallery Art&Soul


Solo Exhibition by Seema Pandey


Sculptural installations from 409 Ramkinkars

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New Delhi: 409 Ramkinkars is a unique project that brings together theatre, performance art and installation. In its first phase, conceptualised by the core group of Vivan Sundaram, Anuradha Kapur, Santanu Bose, Rimli Bhattacharya and Aditee Biswas, the architecturally diverse spaces at IGNCA – the Twin Art Gallery and Matti Ghar, the lawns and the open air theatre – became the setting for the unfolding of a complex, non-linear narrative around the life, ideas and art practice of the acclaimed Santiniketan artist Ramkinkar Baij. The performances, which ran between March 24 and 2 April 2, 2015, to packed audiences, explored the aesthetics of installation as a prompt for theatre as well as theatre as a prompt to for an installation.
The project has now taken on another avatar with the exhibition of the sculptural installations conceptualised by Vivan Sundaram.  The pieces are an homage and continuing conversation with the works and legacy of Ramkinkar Baij. Once in dialogue with the performers the sculptures now acquire a different presence as art objects, condensed commentaries that reference the radical aesthetics of Baij and bring them into conversation with other avant garde figures like Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso and Kasimir Malevich. They test the political and aesthetic propositions of these modernist masters and re-imagine them in the expanded field of art making in the 21st century.
Baij’s iconic cement cast works found new manifestations in the waste and found materials that form the material base of Sundaram’s practice since the 1990s.  Mill Call and Santhal Family  – Baij’s ode to the tribal as the national icons – are recast where anthropomorphic forms are designed out of discarded auto parts and found furniture.  In the foyer, we find 409 small and roughly made terracotta versions of the same works– they acquire the force of a multitude moving, the proletariat rising, expressive and energetic.  The revolutionary zeal in Baij’s large cement sculptures now proliferate into this mass of bodies that contort and pull in different directions. 
Vivan Sundaram was born in 1943, Simla. He studied painting at M.S. University, Baroda and The Slade School of Fine Art, London in the 1960s. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography and video.
He has exhibited in the Biennials of Sydney (2008), Seville (2006), Taipei (2006), Sharjah (2005), Shanghai (2004), Havana (1997), Johannesburg (1997) and Kwangju (1997). He has participated in group shows in London (Tate Modern, 2001), New York (International Centre for Photography, 2008, Queens Museum, 2005), Tokyo (Mori Museum, 2008), Munich (Haus der Kunst, 2006), Vienna (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, 2006), Karlsruhe (ZKM, 2007), Chicago (Chicago Cultural Centre, 2007), Berlin (Haus der Kulteren Welt, 2003), Rotterdam (Museum Boijamns van Beuningen, 2001) and Copenhagen (Arken Museum of Modern Art, 2012-13), amongst others.
He has had solo shows across India as well as in New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal and Copenhagen.  His last solo exhibition, 2011-12, GAGAWAKA: Making Strange, was exhibited in Delhi and Mumbai.  In 2010 Amrita Sher-Gil: A Self-portrait in letters and writings, edited and annotated by Vivan Sundaram, was published by Tulika Books, Delhi.
Vivan Sundaram lives in Delhi and is married to the art writer Geeta Kapur.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Painting Beyond the Margins

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While an exhibition from about and for Kashmir raises funds for the flood victims of the valley, another raises awareness about marginalities of gender, sexuality class, ecology, aggression and conflict
By Georgina Maddox

 A work by Malik Sajad
Sameer Hussain’s painted light bulbs showcase striking images of Pervez Musharraf and George Bush, Bhagat Singh and Ayatollah Khomeini. An untrained artist Hussain taps into popular culture and creates these topical ‘Arte Povera’ bulbs that are mini narratives captured in used blubs—a metaphor for used bodies whose “souls” have long departed; Showkat Katju’s chillingly beautiful miniature ‘coffin’, resembles the crafted and decorative papier-mâché boxes of Kashmir. Tongue-in-cheek Katju laments the early demise of the creative crafts in the war-torn valley.   
Heart-wrenching photographs of destitute Kashmiri children are contrasted with beautiful, yet poignant landscapes of the valley of Kashmir painted by Masood Hussain. On a table lie a curious collection of objects crafted out of stone, wood and clay that hint to the slowly disappearing ‘Kashmiri’ culture. Meanwhile Ritu Kamath and Mujtaba Rizvi comment on the half- widows of Kashmir; where Rizivi’s moving portrait of an elderly woman indicates that the wait has been a life-long one, and Ritu Kamath’s woman has morphed into a chair, that sits and waits for something to happen that will change her solitary existence and sense of ennui. Graphic artist Malik Sajad charming illustrative maps show a very different understanding of Pakistan occupied Kashmir while Anindita Bhattacharya’s complex and layered understanding of the same territory weaves a story of a lonely and alienated planet.
These are only some of the works one glimpsed at re-start an exhibition and fundraiser auction for the flood victims in the Kashmir Valley. It showcases contemporary art from, about and for Kashmir, at Vis-à-Vis an art and lifestyle space in Chattarpur’s DLF Farms. The show features well known names like Veer Munshi, Rajinder Tiku and Masood Hussain as well as emerging contemporary artists like Mujtaba Rizvi and Malik Sajad. Delhi artists include Puneet Kaushik, Anindita Bhattacharya, Ritu Kamath and Satadru Sovan among others.


 A work by SameerHussain
“Re-start is a testament to the creativity and resilience of artists—who despite years of conflict, and the recent sorrow from the devastation of the floods— have found courage and renewal in their creative work,” says Myna Mukherjee, Curator and Director of Engendered, an arts and human rights organisation based in New York with a Delhi chapter. Mukherjee has partnered with Gallery Art Quest and Gallerie One in Kashmir that has sourced a majority of the artwork from Kashmir. The exhibition and auction will donate 80 per cent of its sales to the flood victims of Kashmir.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention and in the instance of this exhibition it is more than true. In a heroic example of how, despite the paucity of materials or funds and in the face of violence and censorship and natural calamity, artists from Kashmir have created artwork out of various materials like stone, wood, clay and other discarded objects. An exhibition like this re-enforces the belief in the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. In fact the therapeutic and healing power of art has touched the lives of one of the Kashmiri artists to such a degree that he gave up his activities as an arms and tactical trainer at a insurgent camp.


 A work by Rajinder Tickoo
Veer Munshi, a Kashmiri Pandit living in exile believes, “It is important that artists working in conflict zones bring their art out of the valley and it is seen in different contexts. Many of them have not shown in Delhi and one gets exposed to the newer generation besides the known names.” Munshi’s own works consist of a photograph of a cluster of tin-roofed dwellings and a red ‘Danger Line’ cutting across the image. “I am not speaking in terms of the obvious danger, which is insurgents, but more about the congested living conditions, the encroachment on forested land, which has in fact led to the floods. We must constantly remind people of the vast environmental risk we face as a result of such degradation,” says Munshi. His forgotten letterbox sculpture nostalgically recalls his time in Kashmir when corresponded with friends, during the pre-email days.  
“We see sporadic representation of Kashmiri art of and on, however re-start will be one of the first consolidated exhibitions showing this large volume of contemporary art from Kashmir, making this one of the more unique and ambitious projects, I have worked on in the last 6 years” says Mujtaba Rizvi, Managing Director of Kashmir Art Quest and Galerie One.
Alongside this survey show, Mukherjee has curated another exhibition housed in the second gallery of Vis-à-Vis. Titled The Unbearable Closeness of Being, (UCB) it links together issues of gender, race, sexuality, class, ecology, aggression, conflict and geopolitical boundaries.
“UCB is an exhibition of incredibly diverse artists whose works show their deepest selves and explore themes of marginality, identity, home, otherness and belonging,” says Mukherjee. Anita Dube shares her deeply personal suite of erotic graphite on paper drawings, which are immediate and raw, while Waswo X Waswo’s sepia toned, hand-tinted photographs pun on nostalgic family portraits by placing unconventional sitters before the lens. Puneet Kaushik's exquisite miniatures are a lyrical examination of othered bodies, that knows of its difference and yet feels perfectly in sync with nature. Satadru Sovan uses architecture and urban lore to comment on male sexuality in his light boxes that combine high-art and kitsch. Chintan Upadhyay’s unveils for the first time his bold erotic drawings from his Manga series as a comment against censorship both on the personal and professional front, while Nabonita Saha’s eco-feminist canvas contemplates the disappearing forests while addressing the important and topical issue of farmer-land rights.
Anindita Bhattacharya’s uses her canvases to examine how a prevailing space of guns and grenades oozes machismo and leaves the women, veiled and cautious on the margins of outdoor spaces.
Meanwhile Kumar Ranjan Ray from Jharkhand’s tribal belt, uses humor to talk about the policing of private spaces, Israeli artist Achia Anzi’s looks at the notion of home and destinations while reflecting on the infinite journey; his installation of stones and concrete pieces of various sizes references protest, while examining concepts of nationalism and patriotism. Pratap Morey’s elegant abstract work comments on the shrinking spaces of his domicile, Mumbai, where people have continued to live between the margins of designated spaces, in the ever-growing slums.
The two exhibitions may be viewed in conjunction to each other, even though they address separate issues from different perspectives.

The shows premier on the April 11 and will continue till May 11. Opening night features Folk Rock band Folka Dots who sing about female sexuality and desire among other things and Sufi Rock duo Alif (Highway 61, featured recently on MTV Coke Studio) followed by delicious Kashmiri dinner. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

RESTART- Fundraiser for Kashmir Flood Victims, The Unbearable Closeness of Being

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Engendered proudly announces and invites you to two exhibitions & a music concert Re‐start, The Unbearable Closeness of Being and a music concert feat.
Re‐start
Date: April 11 to May 11, 2015
Time: 6 pm onwards
Venue: Vis a Vis, 2 North Drive,
DLF Chattarpur Farms,
Khasra No: 755/212, New Delhi 110074
An exhibition and fundraiser auction of contemporary art from, about and for Kashmir, 'Re‐start' is a survey show that will bring together some of the leading and emerging artists of Kashmir along with other artists based in New Delhi. The exhibition will provide an unique insight into the contemporary art practices of Kashmir and will showcase artworks in diverse media ranging from paintings and sculptures to found material and photo collages. Participants include famed artists like Veer Munshi, Rajinder Tiku and Masood Hussain as well as emerging contemporary artists like Mujtaba Rizvi and Malik Sajad. Delhi artists include Puneet Kaushik, Anindita Bhattacharya, Ritu Kamath, Satadru Sovan among others. It is curated by Myna Mukherjee, Director of Engendered.
“We see sporadic representation of Kashmiri art of and on, however re‐start will be one of the first consolidated exhibitions showing this volume of contemporary art from Kashmir, making this one of the more unique and ambitious projects I have worked on in the last six years,” says Mujtaba Rizvi, CEO of Gallerie One, Kashmir's only contemporary art centre, and the sourcing partner for the majority of artwork for re‐start.
Says curator Mukherjee: “Re‐start is a testament to the creativity and resilience of artists—who despite years of conflict, and the recent sorrow from the devastation of the floods— have found courage and renewal in their creative work.”
The event is being organized by Loudbeetle.in and Kashmir Art Quest inassociation with Engendered and STIR. "Over 80 per cent of profits will go towards the flood victims in Kashmir", says Ahmer Khan of Loudbeetle.
Participating artists are Veer Munshi, Rajinder Tiku, Masood Hussain, Malik Sajid, Adil Khan, Suhail Sofi, Shaiqa Mohi, Shabir Mirza, Iftikar Jaffer, Jystona Sing, MA Mehboob, Arshid Sauleh, Shafi Chaman, Showkat Katju, Saumya Gupta, Puneet Kaushik, Sameer Hussain, Blabir Krishen, Ritu Kamat, Satyakam Saha, Waseem Mushtaq, Naushaad Gayoor, Syed Mujtaba Rizvi and Anindita Bhattacharya. Special Guest Nilima Sheikh.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Difference, belonging & intersecting marginalities
Date: April 11 to May 11
Time: 6 pm onwards
Venue: Vis a Vis, 2 North Drive,
DLF Chattarpur Farms,
Khasra No: 755/212, New Delhi 110074
011‐26809377/78/79
An exhibition of incredibly diverse artists whose works show their deepest selves and explore themes of marginality, identity, home, otherness and belonging; Anita Dube shares her deeply personal suite of erotic graphite on paper drawings, which are immediate and raw, while Waswo X Waswo’s sepia toned, hand‐tinted photographs pun on nostalgic family portraits by placing unconventional sitters before the lens. Puneet Kaushik's work is a lyrical examination of othered bodies while Satadru Sovan uses architecture and urban lore to comment on male sexuality. Chintan Upadhyay’s unveils his bold erotic drawings from his Manga series as a comment against censorship while Nabonita Saha’s eco‐feminist canvas contemplates the disappearing forest and the topical issue of farmer‐land rights. Anindita Bhattacharya’s uses her canvases to examine how a prevailing space of guns and grenades oozes machismo. Meanwhile Kumar Ranjan Ray uses humor to talk about the policing of private spaces, Israeli artist Achia Anzi’s looks at the notion of home and destinations while reflecting on the infinite journey.
Participating artists are Anita Dube, Waswo x Waswo, Chintan Upadhyay, Nabonita, Anindita Bhattacharya, Puneet Kaushik , Satatdru Sovan, Pratap Morey, Syed Mujtaba Rizvi and Achia Anzi.
As a parallel to the exhibition the opening features Folk Rock band Folka Dots who sing about female sexuality and desire among other things. Also, will feature a Sufi Rock trio Alif (Highway 61, featured recently on MTV Coke Studio) followed by delicious Kashmiri Dinner.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rare Himalayan Masterpieces Lead Asia Week at Bonhams

Indian, Himalayan 4 - A gilt copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara Tibet, 15th century
 

New York:  Himalayan masterpieces from the 14th to 16th century will lead Bonhams’ Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art auction on March 16, 2015.
The star lot is a magnificent lineage portrait thangka of the Ninth and Tenth Abbots from Ngor monastery from a distinguished private European collection. New to the market, it is estimated at between $800,000 and $1,200,000. The thangka, made circa 1557, is an extremely rare example of 16th century painting from Central Tibet. The distemper-on-cloth work is boldly colored using a primary palette with heavy gold outlining and presents the central figures seated next to each other. The composition is framed by the abbots of the Ngor order and is inscribed at the bottom, commemorating the ascendancy of the Eleventh abbot. Unlike other portrait thangkas, this one has a deeper, secondary purpose; the positioning of the three deities directly above the two abbots suggest that it was made to help initiate the viewer into the esoteric teachings of the central deity, Rakta Yamari. Whereas most Ngor portraits were part of sets, this suggests that the Bonhams’ double portrait was a special commission.
An outstanding gilt copper alloy figure of the prominent composite deity, Chakrasamvara, expected to fetch between $500,000 and $700,000, comes from the same private European collection. The masterpiece depicts the eponymous twelve-armed male deity and the female deity, Vajravarahi, locked in a passionate embrace. He embodies compassion and she wisdom. The union of these two qualities presents the most important transcendental ideal expressed in Buddhist art, supreme enlightenment. The sculpture is expertly detailed and both figures are beautifully gilded and embellished with jewelry.
A large thangka of Shakyamuni, from Western Tibet and dated 14th century, is another important lot (est. $300,000 – 500,000). Measuring 82.5 by 41 inches, the thangka is one of the largest surviving Tibetan paintings from any period. Tibetan Buddhists regard Shakyamuni as the single greatest authority on the Buddhist teachings. This thangka depicts Buddha on a throne in the act of teaching and flanked by his two of his closest disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.
Another standout lot, a Yongle-period gilt copper alloy deity from a Vajrabhairava shrine, comes from a private English collection and is estimated at $250,000 - 350,000. It is an early 15th-century depiction of Surya (the Sun god) that belongs to a set of eight Hindu deities, which would have occupied the front edge of a throne for a monumental sculpture of Vajrabhairava. Out of this group of eight, five others have either sold at auction or are in museum collections, making this sculpture extremely desirable. The deity is large, depicted in a powerful and unique pose. He wears an expression of fierce attention. The rich gilding, exquisite modeling and jewelry arrangement are typical of renowned Buddhist sculpture of the Yongle-period.
Edward Wilkinson, Consultant at the Indian, Himalayan & South East Asian department at Bonhams said, “At the core of this auction are a group of extremely important masterpieces of Himalayan painting and sculpture that are fresh to the market. Supported by a diverse and rare group of works from across the South Asian region, the sale taps into a particularly buoyant market. Buddhist art in particular is enjoying broad international appeal and the market for this genre has risen dramatically over the past five years.”
The auction will begin at 4pm. The online catalog will soon be available here.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge, Oxford and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit www.bonhams.com.
Edward Wilkinson heads the Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art department at Bonhams, where he holds two specialized sales annually. Previously he was worldwide Head of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art at another international auction house from May 2000 through August 2003.
Since joining Bonhams Wilkinson has organized and presented several sales of note: The Sartin Collection in September 2011; Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art: Including selections from the Paul F. Walter Collection in March 2012; The Estate of Natasha Eielenberg in September 2012; Himalayan Art from a private American Collection, March, 2014; Masterworks by V.S. Gaitonde from the George Gund Estate in September 2014; These sales have established world records for the 19th century Rajasthani court artists Bagta ($302,000) and Tara ($172,000), The Eilenberg Buddha, Mon-Dvaravati, Thailand ($674,500), A Thirty-Two-Deity Guhyasamaja Mandala, Tibet, circa 1520-1533 (929,000), and V.S. Gaitonde, untitled, 1963 (1,685,000) and helped to establish Bonhams department in New York as a market leader in the field.
During his previous positions, he coordinated and conducted nine auctions of Indian and Southeast Asian Art. Notable sales included a single-owner sale of Contemporary Indian Painting from the Davida and Chester Herwitz Collection establishing a world record sale total for the category. Two other world record sale totals were established consecutively for traditional Indian paintings (prior to 1900) from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection, March 2003 and the Paul F. Walter Collection in November 2003. Several record-prices were established for various schools of painting in each sale. The discovery and subsequent sale of a Gandharan Buddha for $669,000, from the Charterhouse School, England, established a world record price for Gandharan art in September 2002. Another discovery resulted in the identification and sale an extremely rare 12th century Dali Kingdom gilt copper alloy figure of Avalokitesvara.
Prior to his appointment in May 2000, Wilkinson worked as a Consultant and Department Specialist of Oceanic Art for the African and Oceanic Art Department at another international auctioneer from November 1999 through May 2000. From 1996 through 1999 Wilkinson was Executive Head of an Australian auction house’s Asian and Tribal Art department. During his tenure, Wilkinson coordinated and conducted monthly sales of Asian art, quarterly sales of Tribal art and yearly sales of Oriental rugs. He was Vice President of the Oceanic Art Society, Sydney, and committee member of the Oriental Rug Society of NSW, Sydney.
Wilkinson is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers since 2006, with a specific focus on Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art. Since 2009 he has served as Chair of the Southern Asian Arts Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ramkinkar Baij Memorial Lecture by Prof. B.N. Goswamy


On the eve of S. H. Raza’s 93rd Birthday Vadehra Art Gallery presents his solo show ‘Aarambh’

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To celebrate S. H. Raza’s 93rd birthday, Vadehra Art Gallery is delighted to present ‘Aarambh’, a solo show by one of India’s most revered modernist painters.  The show is open to the public from February 22-March 18, 2015, at Vadehra Art Gallery.
The works in ‘Aarambh’ form part of a new body of work executed over the course of the past year and are to be exhibited to the public for the first time. The exhibition includes forty-four canvases and paperworks by the artist.
As Raza turns 93, there is no let up in his creative energy, passion for colour and its immense possibilities, and his relentless search for spiritual form. He has a huge reputation as a master colourist who has explored in visual terms some metaphysical concepts about the universe, nature, male-female energies, environment etc. His iconic Bindu remains at the centre of both his plastic imagination and spiritual quest. Many of the new works created in 2014-15 reveal a master making new discoveries and forging new combinations embodying in fresh ways his enduring vision of the world and art. For him art is the whole world and, by the same token, the whole world is art.
Born in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh in 1922, Raza studied at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A member of the post-Independence Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, Raza is considered to be one of India’s most renowned artists and continues to inspire contemporary south asian artists.
Raza has exhibited widely in India as well as internationally. He has been the recipient of many accolades including the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 1981, the Padma Bhushan in 2007 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2013.  Raza lives and works in Delhi.
Arun Vadehra, Director Vadehra Art Gallery, comments:  "Over the last 25 years some of my fondest memories are of visiting Raza at his home in Paris. Many evenings were spent enjoying flowing conversation over fine wine discussing art, life and much else. It is because of these periodic visits to his apartment, often months apart, that I have been able to see Raza’s development as a painter and moreover, the evolution of Indian art itself."
S. H. Raza was born in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh, in 1922. He studied at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, and Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
His important solo exhibitions include: Antardhwani, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2013); Bindu Vistaar, Grosvenor Gallery, London (2012); Punaraagman, Vadehra Art Gallery and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2011); Raza – A Retrospective, Saffronart, New York in association with Berkeley Square Gallery (2007); Celebrating 85 Years of Living Legend S H Raza, a Traveling Exhibition at Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, New Delhi, organized  by Aryan Art Gallery, New Delhi (2007); Retrospective 1952-91, Palais Carnoles, Musee de Menton, France (1991); Solo show, Galleria Matuzia, San Remo, Italy (1975); Solo show, Worth Ryder Art Gallery, Berkeley, University of California, California, USA (1962).
His important group exhibitions include: Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives: The Form and the Figure Part II, Aicon Gallery, New York (2013); Des duos et des couples, Aix en Provence, France (with Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot) (2003); Tryst with Destiny, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai (1997); L’Estampe Aujourd’hui, Bibliotheque Nationale: Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris (1978).
His international participations include: Transition, 20th Anniversary Show, Centre of International Modern Art(CIMA), Kolkata (2013-14); Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern & Contemporary Art from India, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose (2011); From Everyday To The Imagined: Modern Indian Art, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and at Museum of Art, Seoul National University, Seoul (2007-08); International Biennale de Dakar
His awards include: Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2013; Padma Bhushan by the Government of India (2007); Lalit Kala Ratna Puraskar by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2004); Padma Shri by the Government of India (1981); the Kalidas Sanman National Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh (1981); the Prix de la Critique (1956); the Gold Medal by Bombay Art Society (1948); the Silver Medal Bombay Art Society (1946).

Tasveer | KALEIDOSCOPE | Ram Shergill | February 20, 2015 | Ahmedabad- NID


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