Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shivdev Singh pays a tribute to Punjab in his solo exhibition

New Delhi: Los Angeles-based Dr Shivdev Singh is exhibiting twenty oil paintings in a show titled Beyond The Village Pond: Cultural Reflections of Punjab, curated by eminent art historian Dr Alka Pande, at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from September 17 till September 21, 2015, 10 .m. to 7 p.m. Phone: 011-43662025. A book by the same title, of images of paintings along with descriptive text on folk culture of Punjab, will also be released on the occasion.
Even though Singh has lived in the US for over four decades now, every painting in his show is a tribute to the people and the culture of his beloved Punjab. “My father was a surgeon in the Indian army and I wanted to be like him, but I had always doodled and sketched right from my childhood,” says 79-year-old Singh, who studied medicine at Government Medical College, Patiala. “In fact, even as a medical student, I continued to sketch.” Many of the sketches of long bones in the Anatomy Museum at Medical College, Patiala have been done by Singh.
Singh continued to paint all through his medical career but concedes that being a full time pediatric surgeon and an artist wasn’t easy. “After a long thought, I retired from surgery to pursue art full time and spent four years in the College Arts department at Lancaster, California. I subsequently trained at Art Institute of California and painted live models.”
Says curator Dr Alka Pande, “A  recurring  leitmotif  in  Singh’s  art  has  been  his  complete  absorption  with  the  cultural  tropes  of  Punjab.  Be  it  the  folk  songs,  the  folk  rituals,  the  traditional landscape  which  he  paints  time  and  again.  As  with  a lot  of   diaspora,  memory,  nostalgia,  identity politics  become  repeated  metaphors  in the  creative  expression  of  their  medium.  Beyond  the  Village  Pond is a  culmination of  his  long  term  engagement  with  his  own  Punjabiat. 
He  has  put  together  a  lovely book, which  has  a  collection  of  some  unusual  folk  songs,  which  find  a  doppelganger  image in  the  lyrical renditions  in  the  paintings  he  has  been  creating  over  the  last  many  years. The  range  of  mediums,  from  charcoal  drawings,  watercolours  to  oil on  canvas  comes  easily  to  him.  His  meticulously  etched  charcoals  capture  the  folk  performer  and  the  musical  instruments of  Punjab   with  an  unerring  eyes. The  portraits  of  oil on  canvas  are  a  delight  to  those  who  still  hanker  for  the  traditional  style of   oil  paintings,  while  my  personal  favourites  are  the  poetic  watercolours.  Layer  upon  layer  of  meticulously  applied  watercolours  are  done  in  a  deeply  meditative  way  bringing  a  soulful  yearning  of  the  memory of  a  lush  verdant  Punjabi  hinterland  which  still  stays  in his  mind.”
Take for instance, oils titled At The Edge of The Field and Buffalos in the Pond. These depict common scenes in Punjab villages and Singh imbues his paintings with a deep sense of nostalgia. In an oil painting titled Midday Break, women take a break from their hard toil in the fields and Singh adds a sense of open landscapes, typical of Punjab countryside. Women in their beautiful Phulkari dresses and exquisite bridal jewelry find place in Singh’s paintings as well.  Traditional events like Giddha, Jaago, wrestling matches and village fair are brought to life in Singh’s colourful and skilful depiction of the Punjabi way of life.

Kashmir: Insider / Outsider at Sakshi Gallery

We will be hosting an exhibition of video and photographic works, Kashmir: Insider / Outsider, Veer Munshi & Amit Mehra, opening this Saturday, September 19. It will be a seminal show on ‘Kashmir’, as seen through the lens of an exiled native and that of an outsider, both of whom have been consistently engaging with the valley. I’m enclosing the press release and attaching a few images herewith. Do let me know if you’d like any further details.
Sakshi Gallery is proud to present ‘Kashmir: Insider / Outsider’, an exhibition of video and photographic works by Veer Munshi and Amit Mehra.
Delhi based Amit Mehra visited Kashmir over 25 times between 2006 and 2011. Whilst travelling through the valley, he wandered the many streets and localities that had been witness to extraordinary tumult and loss. His works capture landscapes and streetscapes as they are today, devoid of drama and imbued with silence, evoking the fragile peace that now hangs in these sites of violence.
For Veer Munshi, exile remains his most fundamental condition and preoccupation. His poignant photographs depicting once grand and animated homes that now lie in ruins, revisit the key crises of displacement and disorientation experienced by him, the pandits and other communities. These houses serve as potent testaments to the collective anguish of the community, alluding also to their irreparable sense of loss.
 ‘Kashmir: Insider / Outsider’ interweaves these two distinct visions of  Munshi and Mehra, that are nevertheless unified by their insistence to avert from the conventional representations of the valley. Here, the perspective shifts between personal grief and socio-political narrative documented by an exiled native and the introspective gaze of an outsider that seeks to understand the complexities of everyday life. Munshi chronicles the loss and decay, the stillness that has descended in places once alive, whereas Mehra captures the tense activity and palpable anxiety in the contemporary context. Considered together, Munshi depicts the painful vestiges of a life that was and Mehra freezes fragments of a painful life that goes on.
The exhibition previews on September 19 and will run through October 17, 2015.

Framed Sentiment: ArtDeal Autumn Auction 2015

Revisiting Beauty I JJ Valaya At Threshold I September 18, 2015

Revisiting Beauty, hosted by Threshold Art Gallery, creates a visual paradigm to examine the various notions of beauty within various contexts. While beauty itself may not have changed, the lens of viewing it has. It is this swapping of lens that leads to an interesting revisiting of beauty. An object of antiquity when viewed through a contemporary lens may produce interesting and exciting new meanings. Time in India is not linear rather it is cyclical, where our past and present co exist. In other words, time does not appear to move forward, rather it often references the past where our rich tradition is ever-present in the review-view mirror of our contemporary existence. 
Threshold intends to Re-Visit these notions of beauty through a series of programmes, across genres through the lenses of a variety of interpretations and practices. The first in the series of exhibitions on Revisiting Beauty is a selection of black-and-white photographs by talented couturier  JJ Valaya.
JJ Valaya has distinguished himself as a photographer with an eye for bringing the past and the present in conversation with each other in his striking, aesthetically composed black-and-white images.  In this series of images, Valaya creates tableaux that bring the opulence and decadence of Royal India in conversation with the quotidian. Royalty is a motif that Valaya often interjects into his own designs and indeed, the clothes and jewellery worn in the photographs were from the House of Valaya archives as well as from select private collections.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jitish Kallat's The Infinite Episode at Galerie Templon

Jitish Kallat
The Infinite Episode
Seeptember 5 - Ooctober 31, 2015
Opening on Saturday, September 5, 2015 from noon to 8:30 pm
Paris: Two years after the success of his first solo exhibition in Paris and following the critically acclaimed Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 that he curated, Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat returns to France with an exhibition titled The Infinite Episode. The exhibition brings together an assembly of conceptual and sensory propositions through a suite of new drawings, sculptures, photo-pieces and video. Seen throughout the exhibition are the themes of time, sustenance, sleep, along with an interplay of scales and proximities, and evocations of the celestial; preoccupations that have recurred across his wide-ranging work.
On the occasion of the show, Galerie Templon will be publishing the first catalogue in French (bilingual English) dedicated to Jitish Kallat, available mid-October 2015.
A stimulating voice on the contemporary art scene in recent years Jitish Kallat was born in Mumbai in 1974, the city where he lives and works. He has been exhibited widely at museums and institutions, including Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels, 2006), ZKM (Karlsruhe, 2007), Kunstmuseum (Bern, 2007), Tate Modern and the Serpentine Gallery (London, 2008), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2008), the Gemeente Museum (The Hague, 2009), Martin Gropius Bau (Berlin, 2009), Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2011), MAXXI (Rome, 2012). His work has been part of the Havana Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Guangzhou Triennale, and the Kiev Biennale amongst others. His recent solo exhibitions at museums include the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai (2010), the Art Institute of Chicago (2010-11), the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne (2012-2013) and the San Jose Museum of Art (2014).
Currently he has an ongoing solo exhibition titled ‘Jitish Kallat: Public Notice 2’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. He was the curator and artistic director of the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2014.

KNMA Talk Series: A talk by V. Viswanadhan | Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 6: 00 pm | KNMA, Saket

Bonhams announces a strong lineup for the upcoming Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art sale

New York: Following the resounding success of the Himalayan sale in March, Bonhams announces their upcoming Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art Sale to be held in New York on September 14, 2015. With over 123 lots and total estimates of US$2 to 3 million, the sale provides a selective offering of fine Himalayan bronzes and thangkas, Indian stone and Indian miniatures. 
 A gilt copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara
Tibet, 15th century
Estimate: US$400,000-600,000
Highlights include, a magnificent gilt copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara, Tibet, 15th century estimated between $400,000-600,000. The piece expresses one of the most important transcendental ideals in Buddhist art — the supreme bliss of enlightenment attained through the perfect union of wisdom and compassion. It is a masterpiece of Tibetan sculpture.
A remarkably rare piece in the sale is a silver and copper inlaid copper alloy figure of Gayadhara, Tibet, circa 15th century estimated at $100,000-150,000. Another highlight, it represents the Indian pandita, Gayadhara, an important Indian guru crucial to one of the most significant esoteric Tibetan Buddhist Practices. Interestingly, it is one of the few known identified portraits of Gayadhara.
Another standout lot is a copper alloy figure of Tara, Tibet, Pala style, circa 12th century, estimated at $150,000 -250,000. This gem-like bronze was created during a time of prolific cultural exchange between the Pala monastic universities of Bengal & Bihar and Central Tibet, known as the Chidar, or 'Later Diffusion of the Faith'. This provides a superior example of early Tibetan sculpture drawing inspiration from Eastern Indian Pala bronzes
In a sale that features works of excellent provenance there is also a group of Tibetan thangkas from the collection of the late Tibetan scholar Lobsang P. Lhalungpa. Among his collection is an exquisite thangka depicting Arhat Pindola Bhadravajra, one of Buddha's four original disciples. A thangka from an Arhat series: Pindola bharadvaja, Eastern Tibet, Palpung style, 18th century is estimated $20,000-30,000.
As a leading seller of Himalayan art and a committed supporter of the Nepalese culture, Bonhams has announced a section within the sale devoted to raising funds for Nepal following the recent devastating earthquakes. The Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and Save the Children (both registered 501(c)(3) charities) will receive an equal share of the full hammer proceeds from this section and a donation from Bonhams.
Mark Rasmussen, Specialist / Head of Sale in Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art at Bonhams in New York said, "This sale comprises another tight grouping of works, selected for their quality, that particularly appeal to buoyant markets today. At the core is a varied group of Himalayan sculptures attesting to highpoints in the history of the Himalayas and surrounding regions. We're also honored to be raising funds for Save the Children and the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust. As media attention naturally shifts to newer tragedies, we hope the needs of the people will not fade from public consciousness, and we are keen to support those committed to the relief and rebuilding of Nepal."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Crayon Art Gallery celebrates the opening at the Claridges, New Delhi


 Amit Vadehra and Arun Vadehra
Crayon Art Gallery hosted an evening last night to celebrate the opening at The Claridges, New Delhi. The exhibit showcased more than 90 works of art by celebrated artists like MF Hussain, S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Satish Gujral. Jamini Roy, Krishnen Khanna, A. Ramachandran, Jogen Chowdhury, K.Laxma Goud, KG Sbramanyan amongst others.
The evening was attended by over 300 guests including prominence from the world of art, fashion fraternity, politics, industrialists and saw Minister Satish Sharma with his wife, MP Kalikesh Singh Deo, Subodh Gupta, Jatin Das, Peter Nagy, Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya, Varun Bahl, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Pia Pauro, Gauri and Nainika, Ridhima Saini Kapoor, Raian Karanjawala, Sanjeev Bijli, Amit Burman, Akhil Nath, Nitin Bhayana with Gaurav & Fatima Karan, Amit Vadehra, Soni Aggarwal, Saba Ali.
Guests explored the art works that decorated the walls of Claridges and captured the essence of a history of art and culture. The resplendent visual experience went far beyond the four walls of the gallery to encompass the property with signature artwork.
“Given The Claridges Hotel’s historical significance & iconic location in Lutyen’s Delhi, we are delighted to work with The Hotel, to bring Art & Culture to the forefront. Our first show, “Modern Masters” consists of close to 100 works by our finest artists including MF Husain, SH Raza, FN Souza, Jamini Roy amongst others that are on offer to discerning buyers and patrons of Indian Art,” said Gaurav Karan on the occasion of the launch.
 Mr Atul Lall, The Claridges, New Delhi states; “The Claridges is proud to finally welcome some of the greatest artists and their works with the opening of ‘Crayon Art Gallery’. Luxury has always had a subtle but longstanding history with the arts, and with a location steeped in history, The Claridges, New Delhi’s association with the same is but a natural extension. In the near future, we intend to plan art openings, art shows and events, and even art walks in the future. We look at this as only the beginning of a treasured association with art in all its forms”.
Established in 2006, Crayon Art Gallery today is one of India’s leading Art Galleries & Art Advisories in the Indian Art Market. Crayon Art Gallery’s focus since inception has been on top end Modern and Contemporary Art with a further focus on about 15 of India’s leading artists from the Progressive and Post Progressive Modern period as well as a focus on the top 20 leading contemporary artists. With a wide network of Indian and International auction houses, galleries and private collectors, Crayon Art Gallery possesses excellent relationships within the Indian Art Market to acquire and sell high quality Indian Art to advise clients as well as put together shows of cutting edge contemporary art and extremely important works by our old Masters. Crayon Art Gallery has also been advising India’s top collectors and Industrial houses on building high quality collection of artworks of India’s leading Modern and Contemporary artists. Crayon Art Gallery is now opening two new spaces in New Delhi: At The Claridges Hotel on Aurangzeb Road and at Lado Sarai. Crayon Art Gallery is run by its Managing Partners Amit Vadehra and Gaurav Karan.

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.