Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sudarshan Shetty appointed curator of third edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale

July 15, 2015: The official announcement was made at the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, by the State Minister for Culture, K.C. Joseph, in the presence of State Minister for Tourism, A. P. Anilkumar, MLAs, MPs, secretaries of State, Trustees of Kochi Biennale Foundation and other dignitaries from the world of art and culture. While announcing the curator, the Minister emphasized the State’s commitment towards the Biennale. He also said that, “The biennale as a contemporary art project has renewed India’s cultural positioning and has placed Kochi and Kerala on the global cultural map.”
Sudarshan Shetty, best known for his enigmatic sculptural installations, has long been recognized as one of his generation’s most innovative artists in India. Shetty was unanimously chosen by an Artistic Advisory Committee, appointed by the Kochi Biennale Foundation for the third edition. The Committee included artists Amar Kanwar, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher and Jyothi Basu, art critic and curator Ranjit Hoskote, patron Kiran Nadar, and gallerist Shireen Gandhy, along with Kochi Biennale Foundation trustees Sunil V, Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari. The committee stated that the role of Sudarshan Shetty will be vital in furthering the social commitment, through arts, of the Biennale and the Foundation.
Sudarshan Shetty (b. 1961) completed his BFA in painting from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai in 1985. Moving from a painting concentration to installation early on in his career, Shetty explores the fundamental ontological challenges presented by our immersion in a world of objects. His installations are developed around a rigorous grammar of materials, mechanical exposure, and unlikely juxtapositions of things that may belong to culturally distinct spheres. Moreover, Shetty’s object language eschews narrative as well as established symbolism. He has exhibited widely in India and around the world. His recent shows include Mimic Momento, Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels, 2015;Constructs Constructions, curated by Roobina Karode, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, 2015; A Passage, Staatliche Museum, Schwerin, Germany, 2015; every broken moment, piece by piece, GALLERYSKE, New Delhi, 2014; The pieces earth took away, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, 2012; Critical Mass, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 2012; Indian Highway, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012; The Matters Within: New Contemporary Art of India, curated by Betti-Sue Hertz, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2011; Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011;Sympathy for the Devil, curated by Walter Vanhaerents and Pierre-Olivier Rollin, Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, 2011; India Inclusive, World Economic Forum, Davos, 2011; Contemplating the Void, curated by Nancy Spector, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2010; Vancouver Biennale, 2009, and several others. Sudarshan Shetty was also a participating artist in the inaugural edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale curated by Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu in 2012.
Kochi-Muziris Biennale is a project in appreciation of, and geared towards education about artistic expression and its relationship with society. The first two editions of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, held in 2012 and 2014, had a combined draw of nearly a million visitors. Drawing on the rich tradition of public action in Kerala, the Biennale has established itself as a centre for artistic engagement in India. Along with hosting the Biennale, the Kochi Biennale Foundation also conducts numerous other socially and culturally relevant art and educational projects.
Image: Sudarshan Shetty. Photo: Ronan Haughton. Courtesy Kochi Muziris Biennale.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pro Helvetia announces recipients of Studio Residencies 2016 / 2017

Pro Helvetia New Delhi announces the names of Indian and Swiss artists who have been selected by the jury to avail the Studio Residency it offers.
South Asian artists: Anjana Kothamachu (visual arts)/India and Shaunak Sen (visual arts)/ India
Swiss artists: Lukas Mantel (music) and Marie Velardi (visual arts)
The applications received from the above artists were in concurrence with Pro Helvetia - Swiss Art Council's current mandate. The jury made its decision depending on the application's individual merit as well as on being able to find an appropriate host in Switzerland. Besides, preference is given to artists who are able to demonstrate the possibility of generating follow-up projects.
The selection in India was made by a jury comprising of Dr. Annapurna Garimella, a designer and an art historian who heads Jackfruit, a research and design organization, Shukla Sawant , a visual artist and an Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Chandrika Grover Ralleigh, Head Pro Helvetia New Delhi.
The selection has been corroborated by Pro Helvetia's Specialist Departments in Zurich.

Anjum Singh’s Masquerade at Talwar, New York

New York: Talwar Gallery is pleased to announce Masquerade, an exhibition of recent works on canvas and paper by Anjum Singh (June 25 to August 14, 2015).
Created over the past year, the works in Masquerade mark a turn in Anjum’s practice towards a more intimate, personal subject. Building on her previous exploration of the individual’s relationship with the modern city, Masquerade finds Anjum turning her attention inward, to the body: the systems and movements that exist beneath the skin. Using gridded lines as well as richly patterned surfaces, the artist maps the bodily self in its many iterations: a self both rigidly organized and often unpredictable, a highly developed architecture and a living organism. Anjum depicts an interior world whose beauty depends on both these selves; where the lines between them are blurred, inevitably, by a vigorous and irrepressible force of life.
Responding to a diagnosis of cancer in 2014, Anjum highlights the ease with which abundance of life can mask its very breakdown. Making individual organs or virus strains into objects of beauty, the artist insinuates them into the viewer’s consciousness, as subtly as disease can insinuate itself into the body. Aestheticizing her own body, even its errant sleeper cells of cancer, requires a certain observational detachment – a pop-like lustrousness that hides the truly insidious beneath a dissimulating cloak of visual elegance. Anjum transcends this scientific objectivity, however, her brightly-colored arteries and grids-gone-askew ultimately disrupt the formulaic rigidity of medical idiom. As messy, surprising, and uncontrollable as it is, life, Anjum asserts, it is something to celebrate.
Over the course of the last 15 years, Anjum’s oeuvre has reflected the changing urban human condition. Taking individual experience as a starting-point, her work explores the metropolis environment and how it shapes, and is shaped by, its inhabitants. Capturing the duality of city life, Anjum’s works evoke alternating feelings of enclosure and freedom, highlighting the barriers – linguistic, architectural, structural – that both enable and constrict movement through the city. Although their whimsical compositions impart a lighthearted tone, her works take up issues close at hand for any city-dweller: pollution, municipal efficacy, water supply. Bringing to eye-level the joys and difficulties of human togetherness, her works engage with a universal story: the quest to find, accept and rejoice one’s place, within the city and within the world.
Anjum Singh was born in 1967 in Delhi, India, where she currently lives and works. She earned a BFA at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, before receiving a MFA from College of Art, New Delhi in 1991. Later she continued her education at The Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC from 1992 to 1994, and was awarded the Charles Wallace Fellowship to work at Gasworks, London in 2002-2003. Her works have been on view at Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, India and at The San Jose Museum of Art, California.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Indian contemporary art finds digital champion with launch of new international e-commerce platform Full Picture Art

June 10, 2015 New Delhi: Driven by the desire to make high quality Indian contemporary art more accessible to more people, husband and wife team Kiran and Tim Wood have announced the launch of a new online gallery platform Full Picture Art.
 Vipul Prajapati – Mother of Invention
Bringing an international quality standard to an underdeveloped but increasingly important niche in the Indian art scene, Full Picture Art presents high quality authentic art from abstracts to portraits, original paintings to drawings, and pop-art to fine art photography. The works, both originals and limited editions, range from $150-$10,000. The bespoke service is designed to allow people to buy with total ease and confidence - buyers can pay securely with either domestic or international credit/debit cards, the work is then professionally packed, insured in transit and shipped to virtually anywhere in the world.
The online art market grew by 41 percent last year and is now worth an estimated US$2.64bn according to a report by Hiscox in April 2015. “Online is a serious and rapidly growing art buying channel. It’s vital to the health of Indian art to grow quality representation online, giving Indian artists access to buyers all over the world who are increasingly confident in seeing and buying quality art in this way,”  says Tim Wood​.​

M. Pravat – Inside Series
Having carefully selected the artist and each piece of work, the Directors painstakingly ensure the 'full picture' is painted for the benefit of the buyer. Each artist is interviewed to provide in depth biographies that give insights and background on the works, techniques and influences behind them. Whilst the language of international contemporary art can often seem impenetrable, Full Picture Art aims to create an accessible environment for the buyer to understand the works and relate to the artist. The site also allows the buyer to directly connect with the artists, taking the element of engagement to another level. In the near future, Full Picture Art will develop a dedicated area where curators, artists, collectors and  enthusiasts can share their thoughts, advice and experiences on choosing and caring for works of art.
One of Full Picture Art’s key principles is to provide the highest quality customer experience.  Some of the many technical advantages to the site include a dedicated server optimising the viewing experience. In addition, a high quality zoom function allows potential collectors to inspect the artworks in detail, whilst another interactive feature allows the buyers to see how a particular work would look in the home environment.  It is also one of the only Indian art platforms with a 'responsive website', optimised for all devices mobile devices/tablets for the ease of the buyer.
A high quality has been applied to every aspect of the site, from the design and content to the security and supporting team, so that established and aspiring collectors can enjoy an end-to-end service - discovering, browsing and choosing from the best of Indian contemporary art in an accessible, engaging and safe environment wherever they are in the world.
Kiran Wood on Full Picture Art, “There’s a huge amount of talent in the Indian contemporary art scene, and our mission is to throw open the doors to the truly great work and fantastic artists within it. For us this means much more than just selling. It’s about enabling more and more conversations, it’s about sharing the artist’s insights and inspirations, it’s about giving more and more people the opportunity to really engage with and enjoy the great contemporary art in India today.”
Tim and Kiran Wood have a life-long passion for art.  Inspired by the vibrancy and quality of the Indian contemporary art scene, they left London for New Delhi in 2013 to create this new platform, bringing the best of Indian contemporary art to new audiences across India and the world. Between them, they have over 40 years international business, innovation and marketing experience, working with many of the world’s most successful brands. Using this expertise, along with their love for art, they have made it their personal mission to help extend the reach of the Indian contemporary art market.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sudarshan Shetty’s Mimic Momento in Brussels

Brussels: Indian conceptual artist Sudarshan Shetty is unveiling a new series of sculptures and installations, especially created for the exhibition, at Galerie Templon in Brussels (June 4-July 24, 2015).
Born in 1961 in Mangalore, Sudarshan Shetty is known for his enigmatic sculptural installations, often featuring moving parts. He is one of the most innovative members of the generation of contemporary Indian artists who have carved out a place for themselves on the international scene. Other members include Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat. Sudarshan Shetty creates poetic constructions which both question the merging of Indian and Western traditions and explore domestic issues.
The exhibition of Sudarshan Shetty turns the gallery into a home. It deploys an installation of hybrid crockery: the Indian-produced china vases and plates have been broken and put back together with fragments of teak, a wood that is typical of India. By raising the question of the fragility of familiar objects and of age-old customs, Sudarshan Shetty explores the possibilities of syncretism as applied to the private sphere.
A teak wooden carpet is laid out in the gallery’s small room, appearing to cover a body lying on the floor. Shroud or recumbent statue? Street scene or crime scene? With his interplay of references to elements as varied as the Muslim funeral tradition and contemporary production of fake Persian carpets in India, the artist opens the door to a multiplicity of interpretations and provides food for thought on the mystery of familiar objects.
In recent years, Sudarshan Shetty has taken part in different stages of the Indian Highway exhibition: at Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museet for Modern Kunst in 2009, and the Lyons Musée d’art contemporain in 2011. In 2010, he was the first contemporary artist to exhibit his work at the famous Dr Bau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai (This Too Shall Pass). He was also one of the artists featured in the major exhibition Paris, Delhi, Bombay at the Paris Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou in 2011. His pieces at the Art Basel Unlimited exhibition in 2009 and again in 2011 and 2014 met with great success. His work was on display in Belgium at the Sympathy for the devil exhibition (2011-2013) at the Vanhaerents Art Collection and as part of Europalia Inde (2013).

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Copy Paste

--> That The 3771919 Wall is a an unethical lift of the Wall of Solidarity is finally called out 

By Georgina Maddox

The rather ironic and unethical appropriation of the Wall of Solidarity, by Gallery Beyond collateral to the Queer International Film Festival (KMQIFF), is currently in the eye of a copyright storm. The Wall, a visual open mike of dissent against gender violence, gender injustice and discrimination featuring 1x1 foot canvases, was part of a travelling Exhibition titled RESIST by renowned artists. It is certainly not the first case of plagiarism in the un-regularized art-market where fakes abound and ideas are ripped off without batting an eyelid.
In this instance however the affronted party, Myna Mukherjee, director of Engendered, an arts and human rights organization, who curated the original Wall of Solidarity and RESIST in 2013, is not taking things lying down. Mukherjee has served the Director of Gallery Beyond, Vibhuraj Kapoor with a legal copyright notice and the matter is already in court.
Mukherjee’s main contention is that the wall was replicated without her consent.  In fact she expressed her discomfort and dissent to Kapoor and Sridhar Rangayan founder of KMQIFF, in a mail dated:  March 8, 2015.


Copying an idea speaks volumes of the bankruptcy of creativity in our contemporary art scene. Curator and art critic Ina Puri, who was closely associated with artist late artist Manjit Bawa says that it is vested interests that prevent the art world from coming up with a foolproof way of enshrining the copyright law. “In the West copyright law is strictly adhered to. In India we do not see the same kind of stringency. Manjit’s paintings were copied by a student and by his assistant. It was a style that he perfected after 60 years of hard work and it is unfair that some Johnny Come Lately thinks he can just copy a senior artist,” says Puri referring to the 2001 case where Bawa’s work was removed from a Christie’s auction and it was discovered that his apprentice was faking his signature.
It is even more difficult for an idea to be protected by copyright law, even though an idea is no less than an artwork—it is the seed of all creativity and yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect original ideas, whether it is in art, cinema, literature or curation,” says Puri.
Copying the Wall of Solidarity is in complete conflict with what it stands for. Even more shocking is the fact that a festival like KMQIFF that critiques discrimination and propounds values of equality for sexual and gender minorities turned a blind eye to the letters sent by Mukherjee and Engendered a arts, human-rights and feminist organization. It speaks of a deep-seated misogyny that lies at the heart of a few organizations in India which often ride roughshod over other feminist or queer organizations. 
Balbir Krishan says, “As a gay man whose exhibition was shut down several times (in Hyderabad and Delhi) I do support and believe in all protest against censorship in art, culture and life. But I also support and believe in giving due respect and credit to the person who conceived the idea. Myna Mukherjee has all intellectual rights of this 1x1 Wall of Solidarity format and so I had decided not to participate in this exhibition, despite the invite they sent me.” They responded to Balbir with a condescending mail that read "Don't lecture us, the Wall is not exclusive." Krishan added that such disregard is often reserved for women organizers because they are perceived as dis-empowered. 
Other artists like Satadru Sovan who had been contacted to donate works for The 377191 Wall also expressed their shock and discomfort:  “I was invited to take part in the Wall of Solidarity show by Vibhuraj Kapoor. I was surprised because I had taken part in Wall of Solidarity show by Engendered in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. I refused to take part in it because I respect from the bottom of my heart originality, novelty, uniqueness and newness, freshness and imagination, as a creative person as well as a Fulbright Scholar,” says Sovan whose canvas that he donated in 2013, spoke of male rape.
The Wall of Solidarity, which has been shown and toured over the years at different venues, most recently in January 2015, at the American Centre, was scheduled to travel to New York in the winter of 2015. While the Wall already had over 150 voices against gender violence and injustice Mukherjee intended to expand and invite responses more specific to issues of sexuality in particular to LGBT issue and section 377. This was important to Mukherjee because she is consistently doing exhibitions around intersectonality and movements.
However this was completely appropriated by the show in Mumbai and seen as a chance to capitalize on a good idea, that too without the slightest bit of sensitivity towards Mukherjee who has taken over three years to grown the Wall. The exhibition is now titled The 377191 Wall. That too only after the organizers were informed of the copyright case against them and after they had sent out the initial call for works to over 200 artists and activists as “The Wall of Solidarity.”  


As if to prove their mal-intent and deception they also deleted over 35 images of their opening on May 23. The album that had been posted in social media Facebook, showed several walls featuring works in the exact 1x1 format exactly like the original Wall of Solidarity. Several artists were tagged on this as well. However today there are no images except for one that shows a tiny part of the exhibition that has a few differently formatted canvases.

“I am really shocked and surprised by Gallery Beyond and Vibhu’s strange behavior. You cannot lift someone’s idea and use it as your own, it’s not done—especially after Myna had mailed them to settle the matter amicably,” says Ritu Kamath; one of the artists featured in RESIST. Interestingly both Kapoor and Rangayan offered to ‘include’ Engendered as the parent project in their earlier emails (dated April 3). However when Mukherjee had informed them that she was caught up with two exhibitions over the summer of 2015 and would not be able to actively take part in the Wall, Kapoor and Rangayan just decided to go ahead without her and make it a commercial venture. Something Mukherjee was completely against.
As someone who has watched The Wall of Solidarity grow and who has written about it for various publications and seen its success over three cities (Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai) I can say confidently that it is obvious to a person of Kapoor’s experience that the intellectual rights of the Wall of Solidarity lie only with Mukherjee and replicating her idea without her consent amounts to plagiarism. When contacted to clarify Kapoor stated, “The matter is sub judice, I do not wish to comment.”To go back in time a little, RESIST was conceived as a travelling exhibition by Myna Mukherjee director of Engendered, in February 2013, after the horrific gang-rape of a paramedic student in a local bus in the Capital in December 2012, now known as the Nirbhaya case. Mukherjee conceptualized the exhibition, “as a protest illustrating conscience and dissent against gender based violence.” The exhibition that featured well-known artists like Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Mithu Sen, Gig Scaria, The Raqs Media Collective, Balbir Krishan, premiered in New Delhi in February 2013, travelled to Chennai in April 2013 and then to Mumbai in May 2013 where it was hosted by Gallery Beyond.The Wall of Solidarity was one of the important and popular components of the travelling exhibition since it invited artists from across three cities to contribute a 1x1 foot canvas as a protest against gender and sexual violence.  The Wall that began in Delhi with 30 canvases had grown to the proportion of over 150 canvases by the time it reached Mumbai where it was hosted by Gallery Beyond, owned by Vibhu Kapoor and was well attended by the art fraternity as well as a few Bollywood personalities like Monica Dogra and Javed Akhtar.While many artists who participated in the Mumbai show were erroneously led to believe that Mukherjee had given her consent for The 3771919 Wall, others who know better are still perplexed as to why Kapoor and Rangayan felt it necessary to copy the same concept, especially when there were many options open to them. 
Placed in context to the larger picture this nonchalant approach to the sanctity of originality could well sound the death knell for all creativity.  “Copy-right laws in Indian need to become more stringent the government or the law has to get involved before it is too late and we lose all credibility as an art industry,” says Puri.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bonhams follows Indian sales success with blockbuster South Asian sale

May 26, 2015: Following the success of back-to-back Indian art sales in both London and New York, the internationally renowned Fine Art Auctioneers Bonhams announce a stellar line up for their Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Sale, scheduled to take place on  June 11, 2015, New Bond Street, London.

M.F. Husain, Horse​​ 
The Bonhams’ Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale is comprised of 45 exceptional works from an enviable roster of Indian and South Asian modern masters, including
​​S.H. Raza, Francis Newton Souza, M.F. Husain, Bhupen Khakhar, Jamini Roy, K.G. Subramanyan, Krishen Khanna and V.S. Gaitonde. In addition the auction will include an impressive selection of contemporary works from celebrated artists such as Nalini Malani, Bhupen Khakhar and Rashid Rana. Many of the works come from private collections with estimates ranging from £1,500 to £60,000 ($94,000).
One of the star lots of the sale is a series of Vasudeo S. Gaitonde drawings. Compositions 1 - 6  (lot 28 to lot 32, estimate between £20,000 - £35,000 each) exemplify Gaitonde’s masterful depiction of the relationship between linear form, light, and colour. These six ink-on-paper drawings were originally acquired by Morris Graves alongside two oil-on-canvas paintings, which were recently sold at Bonhams New York in September 2014 (Untitled 1961 for $1,068,000 and Untitled 1963 for $1,200,000).
Krishen Khanna’s Untitled, Female figure (lot 21, estimate £15,000 - £20,000) painted in 1958, in the final years of his banking career, is a rare insight into the early stages of Krishen Khanna’s artistic output. Awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1962 and subsequently the Lalit Kala Academy National Award and the Fellowship of the Council of Economics and Cultural Affairs New York, both in 1965, Khanna was instantly recognised as a pivotal figure in Indian art.
Other highlights include a selection of early works by M.F. Husain. Untitled, Self Portrait (lot 18, estimate £40,000 - £60,000) was conceived against the backdrop of a post partition landscape. The socially fractured environment reignited the question of identity. In this work, a hand in the centre of the torso gestures the peaceful kapithaka mudra and Husain himself stands broad shouldered partially enclosed by a rectangular outline of what may be a mirror. This self-portrait, never before seen at auction, is a serene and personal insight into the artist. The oil on canvas piece, Untitled, Horse (lot 20, estimate £40,000 - £60,000), in excellent condition, depicts one or possibly two rearing horses. The vibrant yellow horse in the background appears to be a metaphysical rearing form, an ephemeral being. Both are magnificent and noble. The horses embody Husain’s own rising ambitions and his determination to achieve them. Theatrical and striking, this work is the quintessential Husain painting.
​A founder of the Progressive Artists Group, Francis Newton Souza was a creative genius, whose artistic career spanned five decades and three continents. Characterised by his distinct powerful lines and bold, provocative compositions, his paintings are simultaneously imbued with a sense of raw energy and beauty. Lots 10, 11, and 12 (estimate between £1,500 - 3,000 each) are a testament to this minimal yet emphatic use of line. Originally acquired directly from the artist, who was a close friend of the family, this is the first time these ink on paper works are being presented for sale.
Following his success at the 56th Venice Biennale (in the collaborative exhibition My East is Your West), another outstanding lot is Rashid Rana’s Offshore Accounts-1 (number one of an edition of five) - a chromogenic print, diasec mounted and comprising of four parts (lot 47, estimate £30,000 - £50,000). Offshore Accounts seemingly depicts a sea of opportunity, but upon closer inspection the water is made up of accumulated rubbish. From a distance the image is beautiful, the waves are gentle and serene; the specks of debris and white foam of the waves however are formed of piles of light coloured plastic bags. European paintings of voyaging ships interject the seascape, as both a nod to the periods of colonial exploration and acknowledgement of the damaging legacy left behind.
Tahmina Ghaffar, specialist for Modern and Contemporary South Asian art said “We are delighted to be able to put together such a comprehensive South Asian Modern and Contemporary art sale. There is already great interest, not just in the Gaitonde series, but right across the full spectrum of modern and contemporary artists represented at this auction. Bonhams has had two very successful Indian sales this year and we are looking forward to deepening our engagement with the Indian art scene with what is billed to be one of the most exciting auctions to date.”

Ex Christie’s Head joins Saffronart as CEO


Delhi, May 28, 2015: Hugo Weihe, former International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s, joins Saffronart as its Chief Executive Officer from July 1, 2015. Weihe will oversee Saffronart’s presence in Mumbai, New Delhi, New York and London in building a market for Indian art and antiquities globally.
Weihe has been a longstanding advisor and friend to prominent private collectors worldwide. He has appeared as a panellist and moderator for discussions on South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, including conducting interviews with artists and collectors, at various international venues and art fairs. Weihe has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Zurich, and has authored a book, Die Ware Kunst (Art as Commodity), in 1989. In the early 1990s, he was the publisher of Artibus Asiae, an important scholarly journal in the field of Asian art, based at the Museum Rietberg Zurich, in collaboration with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Weihe brings to Saffronart a wealth of experience and knowledge. Internationally considered as one of the foremost experts in the field of Asian art, Weihe was brought on board to Christie’s from Sotheby’s in 1998 to establish the department of Indian and Southeast Asian Art from inception. During his time, Weihe was instrumental in catapulting Christie’s Asian Art department and specifically the Indian department to a market leadership position, largely due to his carefully curated shows, sourcing of exceptional masterpieces from various important collections, innovative business sense and detailed knowledge of the market. Under his leadership, Christie’s achieved numerous record breaking prices. In December 2013, following Weihe’s proposal, Christie’s realized its first auction sale in Mumbai.
Weihe now embarks on a journey to establish Saffronart as the pre-eminent market leader across categories not just in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia but with a view towards the Asian markets.
 “The focus is now on India and its extraordinary cultural wealth and I am thrilled to be joining Saffronart at this decisive moment in time to expand and grow the market from within. There is a huge opportunity in re- connecting with the heritage of the past and looking to the future, while contributing to the appreciation and understanding in the process,” says Weihe.
“We are delighted to have Hugo join the Saffronart team to build the market for Indian and Asian art and antiquities,” said Minal Vazirani, co-founder on the appointment of Hugo Weihe. “Saffronart is a global company, with deep Indian roots, and we are confident that under Hugo’s leadership, Saffronart will be a major player within the Asian markets and beyond.”

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 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

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

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

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.