Monday, February 8, 2016

Nasreen Mohamedi: Inaugural show at the Met Breuer, New York

New York:  A retrospective of the Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937 - 1990) will open at The Met Breuer, the new location for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s expanding modern and contemporary art programme opening to the public March 18, 2016. The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.
Nasreen Mohamedi (March 18 - June 5, 2016) at The Met Breuer, New York, is by far the most comprehensive exhibition of any Indian artist in the United States. With more than 150 works by Mohamedi on display, the exhibition brings to an international audience more than three decades of her work, comprising of her few early oil paintings, collages, drawings in ink and graphite, watercolours, and photographs. Mohamedi rarely theorised or spoke about her work but documented her internal dialogue in a form of soliloquy, in tiny personal diaries and notebooks, some of which will be on display in the exhibition.  The exhibition explores the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety that made her practice unique in its time.
​In the history of Indian Modernism, Mohamedi remains a distinct figure who broke away from the dominant figurative-narrative mainstream practice and became one of the outstanding artists who pioneered the trajectory of non-representational and non-objective art in India, as well as creating a body of work vital to the evolution of international modernism and abstraction.
In cultivating an interiorised vision, Mohamedi sought to reflect beyond the familiar and the known, arriving at a pristine form of abstraction quite apart from her contemporaries. The grids and geometry she leaned toward in the 1970s were not without precedent though. In the West, closer to her time, were Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Constructivists.  Closer to home were the mystical traditions of the East that relied on geometry for a symbolic manifestation of the universe and its creative force. Drawing upon this range of inspirations, Mohamedi evolved her own formal vocabulary with delicate grids using only line, and this aesthetic informed and infused the photographs she took throughout her life.
Mohamedi’s practice has garnered serious attention within India and globally only in the last fifteen years.  Though admired in her lifetime, she remained enigmatic and elusive, quite the reflection of her work - a distilled oeuvre that does not lend itself to ordinary comprehension. Through her uncompromising singular pursuit, Mohamedi arrived at a harmonious melding of the rational and the poetic, the philosophical and the mystical.
Kiran Nadar, Chairperson and Founder of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, “This is a momentous occasion for KNMA, having collaborated with two veteran institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States and the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain, in bringing Nasreen Mohamedi’s individualistic/distinctive practice to the western world. The museum’s mandate is also focused on artists whose practice is yet to receive desiring attention and critical acclaim. We believe that their stories be told.”

Friday, February 5, 2016

Announcing receipent of The Amol Vadehra Art Grant 2015-16 | Benitha Perciyal

The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) is delighted to announce that The Amol Vadehra Art Grant 2015-16 will support the work and research of Chennai-based artist Benitha Perciyal.
The Amol Vadehra Art Grant 2015-16 will support her research into the technique of stucco or suthai, and the production of a body of works that will combine lime stucco, incense and wood. Stucco has been the traditional alternative to stone in sculptural traditions in Tamilnadu; a  fragile medium that has largely been lost with the popularity of cement. The grant will further enable her to work with wood carving clusters in Thanjavur, Papanasam, Cuddalore, and Nagercoil, and travel to Kalvarayan Hills to collect guggul, a gum resin, which has long been used in ayurvedic and ritual contexts, for her incense mix.
The applications for The Amol Vadehra Art Grant 2015-16 were invited based on nominations. The recipient of the grant was selected by a jury that included Lekha Poddar, Bose Krishnamachari, and Roshini Vadehra.
Benitha Perciyal’s highly experimental practice emerges from her sustained engagement with materials and their unique cultural lives, and her own journey to discover the multiple facets of faith and its material manifestations. She is particularly engaged with exploring the vernacularisation of the Christian faith in India through architectural forms, traditional arts and symbolisms.
Benitha is very conscious of her choice of materials used in her works. While she has worked with paints and store-bought materials, she found that she couldn’t make them speak for themselves like she would have liked. Since the last few years she has been actively foraging in flea markets to find objects that people have discarded and adopted these objects into her own life, living with them and incorporating them into her work.
Currently she is deeply engaged with exploring ‘smell’ and the strong associations that they can evoke. She explains, “Restoring found objects is like our need to restore our faith (which we lose at times).... smell too disappears (and) in a way I restore my faith in life and my continuity with the transience of smell and all the material I use.”
Benitha Perciyal has completed her BFA in painting and MFA in printmaking from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai. She has participated in various exhibitions since, and her recent shows include, Diary Entries curated by Gayatri Sinha, Gallery Espace (2016), and Whorled Explorations, curated by Jitish Kallat, Kochi Muziris Biennale, Cochin (2014). Her recent solos were held at Art Chennai, Chennai (2014) and Noble Sage Gallery, London (2013). She lives and works in Chennai.
The grant is a production grant and aimed at supporting an Indian artist under the age of 40 years to develop a body of works. The grant amount is Rs. 2,00,000 and the period of the grant is one year. The funds can be used to cover the artist’s direct costs towards creative development and production of a body of artworks.
Image courtesy: Benitha Perciyal | I seem to be alone, but I am not, | Hydrated lime, copper, jaggery, sand, myrobalam, terracotta brick, sea shells | 2012-2015

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rekha Rodwittiya | The Rituals of Memory at Aicon Gallery, New York

The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales
Rekha Rodwittiya
Aicon Gallery
Exhibition: February 4 - 27, 2016
Featuring the Artist in Discussion with Daniel Herwitz, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor, University of Michigan, 35 Great Jones St., New York NY 10012


Rekha Rodwittiya, Intangible Interlocution: An Anatomy of Recollection, 30 x 22 in.

New York: Aicon Gallery New York is proud to announce Rekha Rodwittiya: The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales, the first major showing of the artist's work in New York City in two decades. A pioneering feminist artist and voice from the Indian subcontinent, Rodwittiya rose to prominence throughout the 80s and 90s through her strikingly idiosyncratic depictions of female forms, rituals and spaces. Drawn from both the personal experiences and memories of her own feminist journey and the larger historical struggles of women through the centuries, her work was an early rejection of the tropes of a male dominated South Asian art world and its traditionally voyeuristic treatment of the female subject. This exhibition is the second in a series of exhibitions re-examining figuration in Modern and Contemporary South Asian art to be held at Aicon Gallery, New York over the next two years.
Rekha Rodwittiya's iconic, starkly delineated female figures are often viewed as concrete embodiments of the artist's complex psychological insights into the personal and historical struggles and day-to-day challenges of modern womanhood. The simply rendered yet powerful, sometimes confrontational, figures in these works seem to simultaneously stand as symbols of an ongoing struggle in the feminist realm, while refusing to be reduced to objects for visual consumption or easy interpretation. The classically poised figures carry or are surrounded by everyday household objects, reminiscent of the mythical attributes of deities found accompanying ancient sculpture. By deliberately calling attention to both the trappings and traditions of viewing the naked female body, stretching from antiquity straight through to early modernism, Rodwittiya re-appropriates these familiar archetypes and their objects of domesticity for use in her highly individual interpretation of feminist art practice.
Key to this practice and central to the striking group of a dozen or so works on canvas in this exhibition is the tension created between Rodwittiya's confrontational avatars and the viewer. Imbued with both a deeply personal cache of experience and ideology as well as centuries of feminist history, the figures often directly stare down the viewer, demanding a reckoning with the past struggles and injustices they embody rather than a simple aesthetic assessment as objects of visual art. However, these figures are not here solely to intimidate or confront, but also seek to engage our empathy and appreciation for the deeper meanings behind their existence. Rodwittiya herself provides some context into her desires surrounding this delicate interplay, stating that "the female figure, often in isolation, becomes the presence that bears witness to the passage of time. Embodied through the centuries with the energies that hold the continuums of being a life-giving force, I place the female figure as the central focus to be protective guardians of the universe."
In addition to this central group of works on canvas, the exhibition features a large body of mixed media works combining Rodwittiya's iconic figures with intricately woven collage work derived from her personal photography. Significantly, this represents the first use of photography in the artist's work in over twenty-eight years and marks the return of yet another important layer to the complex autobiographical nature of her process. The outlines of these new figures are derived from those used in past paintings, while the montaged photographs function as elements of dress or in some cases a second skin. Once again these new works use the female form to create a site of retrieval for both personal and shared histories, "retraced liked mapped terrains...archived like from an archaeological survey."
Also on view will be a rarely seen suite of Rodwittiya's early works drawn from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, providing a retrospective view into the artist's formative years. Assembled during trips to India from the 1960s through 1980s, the Herwitz Collection represents the largest and most comprehensive collection of Indian Modern Art ever assembled outside of India. The collection includes masterworks by M. F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Jamini Roy and countless other modern masters from the subcontinent.
Rekha Rodwittiya was born in Bangalore in 1958. She studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda (B.A. fine 1981), and at the Royal College of Art, London (M.A. 1984, on the Inlaks Scholarship). She held her first solo show in 1982 in Baroda, and has subsequently held solo exhibitions in New Delhi, Mumbai, Singapore, New York, London, Venice and Stockholm, among other locations. Her work has been included in several group exhibitions in India and internationally, including the VI International Triennial, New Delhi (1986), India in Switzerland: Six Young Contemporaries, Geneva (1987), Dialogues of Peace, Geneva to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, Geneva, Inside Out: Women Artists of India, a touring exhibition in the UK (1995-96) and many others. She has traveled widely and lectured on contemporary Indian art at the invitation of many institutions and participated in several fellowships and artist residencies in Sweden, France, the United States, and the U.K. She has also written at length on contemporary art and routinely curates exhibitions of young artists' works. This is her first solo exhibition with Aicon Gallery New York.

Suneetha Kodamana: Solo Show of Sculptures at Lalit Kala Galleries, Rabindra bhavan New Delhi

Solo Show of Shubhra Chand in Delhi

Tasveer | Nayak/Bensimon | NID 05 February | Ahmedabad

Tasveer is presenting a private view and opening reception of Gardens of the Mind — that brings together for the first time, the works of Indian artist, Swapan Nayak, and European photographer, Gilles Bensimon.
Gilles Bensimon, former art director of Elle, makes a significant departure from his earlier figurative oeuvre in his series Watercolour, a selection of which features in this exhibition. Fascinated by the beauty of flowers, and by their associations with myriad varieties of cultural expression around the world, he both literally and metaphorically submerged himself – and volumes of freshly cut blooms – into pools of water to create amazing blossoms of colour. The resulting images present a range of wonderful palettes and blurring the lines of abstraction and representation, yield a new perspective on the traditional notions associated with the depiction of the flower in art.
Bensimon’s photographs bursting with colour form a stark contrast to Swapan Nayak’s black and white minimalist imagery. Nayak, a former photojournalist, also breaks away from simple representations in his series Radha: A Love in Eternity, made over a span of three years in Eastern and North Eastern India. Intended to be an exploration of purity, the nature of the self, of consciousness, the profound and the divine, this series was inspired by his reading of Vaishanava Padabali, a nearly 700 year old Bengali text, that narrates the very popular Hindu myth, of Radha and Krishna and their eternal love.
Both artists reframe the historical associations between elements of nature and the idea of transformation, and move away from mere documentation, portraying the known and familiar world in new, graphic and abstract ways instead. Through the juxtaposition of their distinct aesthetic styles and attitudes to the medium, this exhibition highlights the diversity offered by photography in interpreting and (re)presenting reality.
Gilles Bensimon images, courtesy Hamiltons Gallery

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Presents Princess Pea at India Art Fair

Le Méridien New Delhi, hosts the closing gala of the India Art Fair for the fourth consecutive year, taking curious-minded patrons on a journey of vibrant discovery 

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently announced its partnership with the India Art Fair, as the official hospitality partner for the eighth edition of the festival, which is South Asia’s largest modern art fair.  As part of this collaboration, which spans four consecutive years, Le Méridien New Delhi hosted two unique events for curious minded guests, including a unique family workshop and the closing gala. 
“We are delighted to partner with the India Art Fair for the fourth year,” said Tarun Thakral, Chief Operating Officer, Le Méridien New Delhi. “This year we have a unique art workshop for parents and children as part of our Le Méridien Family Program, which creates experiences for kids to explore and develop new skills. We are also delighted to host the closing gala of the festival, which is a highlight of the city’s social and cultural calendar.”
Thakral added, “Engaging people, young and old, through the arts always leads to new perspectives, unexpected delight and meaningful discovery – a cornerstone of the Le Méridien brand. As with travel, these vibrant learning experiences form a core of the human experience!” 
On Saturday, January 30, children and parents gathered for a performance and interaction with Princess Pea, a contemporary Indian artist who maintains her alter-ego persona, appearing in a pea-shaped head over a petite frame. The session was part of the Le Méridien Family programme, where moments of discovery are reimagined through Le Méridien’s lens, resulting in unique, inspiring activities. Children also participated in a ‘paint your éclair’ session at the hotel.
“As a brand that targets the inquisitive traveller, I am happy to participate in this interaction with children and families. I think art can truly inspire and empower young children to develop and see the world from a creative angle,” said Princess Pea.  
Dignitaries, artists and creative minds gathered on Sunday night to mark the closing of the India Art Fair, 2016. The event, hosted by Le Méridien New Delhi, featured a scintillating performance by B.L.O.T., a mixed media collective that experiments with electronic music, digital art and installations.

Gallery Art Positive Presents Vineet Kacker’s New Solo Show Should I look for You, Should I Lose Myself…

Should I look for You, Should I lose myself…
Vineet Kakcker
​February 29,  2016
Gallery Art Positive, Lado Sarai, New Delhi
New Delhi: Anu Bajaj, Director of Gallery Art Positive in the quest to unravel the mysticism, brings together Vineet Kacker's new solo exhibition Should I look for You, Should I lose myself… which is based on the artist’s personal engagement with mystical philosophies. A ceramics artist with formal training in Architecture, Vineet says "In all spiritual traditions, two distinct paths are suggested to those who are thirsty to know that, which, in its essence, is unknowable. One is the path of prescribed practices, guiding rules and tenets. The path of “gyana”, or knowledge, uses engagement with spiritual texts and practices to gradually deepen the understanding of the practitioner. The other path is the path of “bhakti”, or devotion." While the first (gyana) is likened to learning how to swim – as one’s technique develops, one can navigate with ease waters that seemed mysterious, unknowable, even threatening. “Bhakti”, however, is likened to a willingness to drown - to surrender all that one holds dear to oneself, whatever may be the consequences. And what technique is needed for that?
Along with a video exhibit other works by Vineet Kacker on display will be Silence –Violence, which explores the seeds of violence and silence, present within every human being; Topographies of a Formless World, which is the artist’s representation of a formless world best understood from an elevation; Sacred Geology which is an ode to seemingly inanimate rocks which turn into sacred objects, when invested with a certain amount of energy; The Architecture of Dissolution, a series of Stupas, that are reliquaries built for ones who have been able to attain a state of dissolution of their individual identity. The Indeterminable Distance between Aspiration and Alchemy are Tableaus that are travelogues through an indeterminable landscape; Caveman Chronicles are self-portraits exploring the meditating self. Science maps human evolution and yet it can be argued whether man has really evolved from the hunter-gatherer mindset; Time-Timeless Landscapes in which the lines on the organic rock forms serve as a record of accumulated time and history,  and the stupa form on top references the quest to go beyond the limitations imposed by the notion of time.
"In several of Vineet's works, influenced by the Himalayan landscape, he has cast himself, which articulate the interplay of experiences that thread time, mind, materiality and transcendence" says Anu Bajaj, Director Gallery Art Positive.
Over the last five years, Gallery Art Positive has made its mark in the Indian art scene with its focus on seminal exhibitions and prominent art initiatives, representing both young and established artists. As the art scene evolves in the country, the gallery, though comparatively young in the industry, is well known for its commitment to qualitative and aesthetic merit of art. Building on the in-house expertise of Bajaj Capital Ltd, a wealth management company with a 50-year track record, Gallery Art Positive expanded its services five years ago as a unit of Bajaj Capital Art House (BCAH) to include the business of art as a holistic initiative. It has received outstanding reviews from the art fraternity and enthusiasts for its prominent shows, such as “Convergence”, “Art Spotting”, “Homing” and “Ananya”, Devotion among others.
Besides, the gallery also hosts online exhibitions, master classes, personalized portfolios, art education initiatives as well as provide services wherein one can take advice regarding buying, selection, display, insurance, handling, care and conservation of art.

Collectors, Gallerists and the Art Fraternity Celebrate the Return of the Contemporary Market

New Delhi: The year in the run-up to the 2016 edition of India Art Fair saw the fair make some of its biggest, boldest changes, from its strategic positioning as the prime South Asian fair, to a commitment to quality with a more selective and thoughtfully laid out gallery programme.
“With so many important changes, all for many different reasons and considerations, keeping in mind what the Indian art ecosystem needs but also what the market in India requires, an innumerable set of forces both internal and external had to perfectly align in order to give the boost that the art fraternity has waited for for the last few years”, said Founder and Director of India Art Fair, Neha Kirpal. “The 2016 edition fuelled by partnerships with stakeholders across the board, has been able to incorporate these essential factors, and the emphatic results have effectively rebooted the contemporary market with sales beyond expectations to collectors both old and new.”
A key objective for art fair organisers was to deliver a deeper level of commitment and engagement from collectors right across the country, and from NRIs and internationals who act as strong influencers in an art community that is seeking to find what they can't find anywhere else in the world. With the changing nature of business in the art world and a certain global art fair fatigue, there is a compelling case for India and the region to present fresh undiscovered talent at the highest global quality yet to be seen anywhere on the international circuit, and equally a collector base that is growing exponentially, as was clearly evident at the fair this year. Footfall exceeded the previous year, and a much lauded architectural layout combined with a markedly high quality selection of gallery presentations that came together to produce record sales and a historic edition.
Endorsing the results of this strategic approach, here's what a range of some of the most significant collectors, gallerists and art world leaders from across the country and around the world said about this game-changing edition of India Art Fair:
Haro Cumbusyan, Founder of collectorspace, Istanbul: "India Art Fair provides a wonderful opportunity for visiting galleries to show their artists in India, and if the fair can also attract neighbouring countries then it's a win win situation. The new section 'Platform' is absolutely spot on - creating a platform for the emerging scene in South Asia is just the right thing to do."
Vivek Nanda, collector and board member of Victoria and Albert Museum: “India Art Fair reminds me of Frieze Masters. The layout is incredible - it is more spacious and breathes more. For me the best aspect was to see the strong South Asian representation, and the quality of the works and booths.  The fair has been extremely well organised, and it is getting much sharper and more professional.”
Kamiar Maleki, Collector, London: “As a collector and art advisor, I came with no expectations and was very impressed. This fair is as good as any other art fair around the world.”
JD Evans, Collector, UK: “This is my first time to the fair and I’m extremely impressed. I particularly like the programming. The galleries are also impressive and I have bought a number of Indian works that relate to specific works in our collection from Brazil, Germany and Columbia.”
Shohidul Choudhury, Collector, Dubai: “The main thing for me is how easy India Art Fair has made the experience for the collectors. I’ve bought a number of works from Bengal and am generally very impressed.”
Marc Standing, Artist and Collector, Hong Kong: “As a visiting artist and collector it’s good to see something very Indian orientated. I love the Indian sensibility with use of threads, texture and collage. There is a strong artistic identity coming out of India, and it’s good to see it as a whole.  I bought work from The Guild gallery that, whilst relating to traditional miniatures, tapping into the Indian vibe, is at the same time really contemporary and fresh.”
Dr. Thomas Girst, Head of Cultural Engagement, BMW Group: “What we are seeing here with India Art Fair and contemporary art in India this year is an amazing development. There are amazing artists on view, I’ve spoken to a lot of galleries, they’re very happy with the turnout of collectors so I think that it’s a time to rejoice….there’s a momentum that has been created that we can build upon.”
Sunil Munjal, Jt. Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp Ltd. : “The fair has been extremely well stitched together. I’m seeing younger collectors as well as the usual Indian buyers. It is especially good to see the new focus of the fair. 'Platform' is a first class initiative, and I would love to see more of this. The fair feels much more comfortable and secure in it’s trajectory.”
Madhu Noetia: “The fair is such a unique event in India. Through the fair’s outreach it is wonderful to be here from Calcutta”
Rajeev Sethi, Founder, The Asian Heritage Foundation: “I like the space, obviously, I’m breathing and my eyes are breathing…I think the art is more focused and the galleries have been careful.  I’m extremely happy that the South Asian section has become a theme that will not just be one fair long, this is something that will grow and could become a major stage for this region – keep that going, don’t drop that.”
Radhika Chopra, collector: "As a collector I would say the fair is tighter and more thoughtfully edited, particularly with regard to the galleries. It is an all round better experience, with considerable thought given to visitors in terms of the layout and overall experience as well as the fun side of fair."
Alessandra Matic, The Chicago Art Institute: “Our 20 members had the opportunity to see a wide variety of work by artists ranging from emerging to established, engage with gallerists and artists, and attend panel discussions at the Speakers’ Forum. It was an exciting opportunity to learn more about South Asian and Indian art and how the Fair plays a key role in the current global art market. I look forward to bringing more of our members to the Fair on future trips.”
Shanay Jhaveri, Assistant South Asian Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: "In terms of visitor experience the fair is very comfortable and inviting. I have been particularly impressed by a number of the solo projects, that interest me personally. The use of space and also the use of material has worked well, and it is good to see certain external institutions represented here"
Barbara MacQuown Tucker, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh: “This fair is of a very high quality - we've taken groups around the most prestigious fairs in the world and this feels extremely well organised in comparison. We're very impressed with the quality of both the set up and the art. It's our first time in India and we were not sure what to expect, but expectations have been wonderfully surpassed.”
Osman Waheed, chairman lahore biennale Foundation: “What this fair, in a really nice way shows, is the depth of art, not just Indian art but South Asian art.  I think the conscious attempt to extend beyond India and come to countries like Nepal and Pakistan has been really phenomenal.  I was part of the panel today and we were talking about access and integration in the arts through projects like the biennales and fairs like this – and just during the course of that panel discussion we came up with two projects that are going to happen now, one of them between Pakistan and Nepal so I think it is more than achieved what it has set out to do so my congratulations to everyone.”
Stuart Comer, Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art, MOMA: “The fair is very well organised. It’s great to be able to walk in and get a sense of what’s happening across the different Indian cities. I also like the good mix of both historical and contemporary works.”
Sunitha Kumar Emmart, Gallery SKE: “The fair is doing very good things for the contemporary market. We’ve seen extremely robust sales across our full spectrum of artists. India Art Fair is fantastic at listening to their galleries and year on year they accommodate the requests and the fair just gets better and better.”
Ranjana Mirchandani, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai: “India Art Fair has shown that the market is alive. It has both the edge as well as the endurance. Any sense of fatigue in the market has gone, and the level of energy at the fair is really incredible. Whilst our programme is typically contemporary and unique, it is still finding a market. We have been very happy to see sales across the different price points, and the fact that this has come through over the last few days is very reassuring for everyone. "
Priyanka Raja, Experimenter, Calcutta: “Having exhibited at some of the best fairs in the world, this feels genuinely like a high quality international layout, and it is so important to see art in the right context. We're particularly excited to see is the volume of industry luminaries - leading museum directors, film curators, and not only Indian collectors but also significant international audiences, keen to make a commitment to the region which to me is a much bigger sign of positive change.”
Aparajita Jain, Nature Morte: "I feel in my bones that contemporary is back in action. There is a re-emergence of Western interest in India and collectors both old and new who are ready to commit right across price points. We have done phenomenally well and there has been a deeper level of engagement and interest in our full range of artists. We have not had this level of response for the last three years and are very pleased with the sales."
Shireen Gandhy, Director, Chemould Prestcott Road, Mumbai: “This year, India Art Fair has seen significant global art world influencers, whose presence here is demonstrative of the way the world is responding to the contemporary Indian art scene. The level of sales and new interest throughout the fair on day one, signifies a second life for contemporary art in India. The fair has outdone itself with new introductions particularly to non-resident Indians and international collectors, while also giving me the opportunity to get focussed attention from key local patrons who i only have a remote interaction with in the rest of the year, which has resulted in important acquisitions.”
Dr. Arshiya Lokhandwala, Lakeeren Gallery: “There is noticeably more energy than last year, with many new collectors visible. We’re very optimistic and it feels good to be back here. We’ve sold a number of works across a range of prices (from 1-20 Lakh Rupees). People are responding really well to the booth and we have the pick of collectors who are interested.”
Jal Hamad, Sabrina Amrani, Spain: "We are really happy to be at India Art Fair for the first time and have sold 4 pieces today to new clients. We are excited to meet new collectors and expand our network in South Asia"
Thomas Erben, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York: "We are very pleased to be back at India Art Fair. The reaction has been really good with both sales and interest. We have already sold several works, and it is clear the market is now taking photography and the value of the medium more seriously in India. The fair has seen a really positive development this year. The overall presentation has improved and the South Asian focus is very well chosen. People can now come to the fair specifically to find out about art from the region."
Todd Hosfelt, Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco: “This is our first year at the fair and we been very impressed, selling work within the first hours.  It is better produced than many other international fairs."
Baudoin Lebon, Paris: “We are engaging younger new collectors across new markets. People are buying and asking and engaging, from the top end of the collectors but also especially from this huge emerging middle market. This year the fair has really improved a lot. It has evolved, and matured, and as a gallery we are really happy.”
Hetal Pawani, Director, Grey Noise Gallery, Dubai: "We exhibited at Pragati Maidan four years ago, and it is a huge pleasure to return to India Art Fair. The fair is looking beautiful, and the quality is at a serious international standard."
Dina Bangdel, Nepal Art Council: "The India Art Fair Platform series has been much needed to understand the context of contemporary art in South Asia - both in terms of the local issues as well the broader global contemporary art scene. Many people were amazed to discover Nepal has a contemporary art scene and it is terrific that IAF can play this role, showcasing work the is absolutely 'now' and relevant within the South Asian context."
Rashid Rana, Artist: “In the absence of any major public institutions, the role of of an organisation like India Art Fair is very significant. It's heartening for me to see so many middle class people in large numbers coming here and engaging with art. It is incredible how the fair has evolved over the years. ”
Diwan Manna, former Director of Lalit Kala Akademi Chandigarh: “The fair is evolving. Whilst ther is much good contemporary work, I’m gladdened to see some of the old masters. There is much high quality, very sensitive work that comes across as very contemporary, still finding relevance and making their presence felt in such a contemporary show. There has been a well thought-out strategy that has brought in much fresh content and interest, keeping the art relevant for it’s audiences.

FICA Public Art Grant 2015 tol support the Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav by Shweta Bhattad

The jury this year included Anuradha Kapur (Adjunct/Visiting Professor, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, and former Director of NSD, New Delhi); Pushpamala N (Visual Artist); Sabih Ahmed (Senior Researcher, Asia Art Archive, New Delhi); and Bhooma Padmanabhan from the FICA team. The decision by the jury was made after two rounds of short-listing and selection.
Shweta Bhattad’s project was selected for its focused attempt to engage with a rural community (farmers, villagers, and social workers) and bring about a dialogue on traditional knowledge systems with regard to farming and water management with the help of artistic processes. After considering various parameters, such as, her deep-rooted relationship with the village community, her ongoing work there, her commitment to using artistic and dialogical means to develop the work, and her ability to mobilize a group of artists in this process, the jury made their selection.
Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav (loosely translated as ‘Village Land Art Festival’) aims to bring together artists with young farmers and youth from the Paradsinga village, on the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, to rediscover traditional methods of farming and irrigation through developing land art installations in collaboration with each other. As Shweta puts it, it is “a collaborative work between artists, farmers, villagers and social workers”, and will involve monthly workshops and interactions between these groups, and culminate in a one day utsav, imagined as a village mela or festival with various elements of art, craft, performance and discussions on the project itself.
Shweta Bhattad is a visual artist and performer. She is a trained sculptor, having completed her BFA in Nagpur, and MVA in MS University of Baroda. She has worked across mediums in the past, with a strong focus on issues of women’s safety, education, and the female body. She has done two solo shows - Kabhi Namak Tumhe Kam Laga Kabhi Namak Tumhe Jyada Laga Kabhi, Latitude 28, Delhi, (2015) and Wax Magic, SCZCC, Nagpur, India, (2005). Her group exhibitions include Ma Ma curated by Shu Lun Wu, Topia Arts, Hualien City, Taiwan, (2015); I Have A Dream, a collaborative global farming project, Vancouver Biennale (2014-16); Mapping Gender, curated by Sandhya Gajjar, in collaboration with Artcore Derby, UK (2013) among others. She has been awarded Khoj Ecology & Byways, Negotiating routes - V, 2014; Art Intensive Scholarship, at Khoj Delhi, India, 2012; 50th National Exhibition of Art organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi at Chandigarh, India, 2008.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Indian Modern Masters Shine Bright in Kumar Gallery’s Celebration show

New Delhi:  Kumar Gallery presents a group show titled Celebration, that includes around 45 paintings by modern masters like F.N Souza, MF Husain, S.H Raza, Ram Kumar, Satish Gujral, Krishen Khanna, K.H Ara, K.S Kulkarni, G R Santosh, B. Prabha, Sohan Qadri, A. Ramachandran, Jamini Roy, Ramkinkar Baij, Prodosh Das Gupta, N.S Bendre, K.G. Subramanyan, J. Swaminathan, Rameshwar Broota, J. Sultan Ali and Paresh Maity. A collateral event of India Art Fair 2016, the show will be on at 56, Sunder Nagar, New Delhi, from January 25 till February 5, 2016, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sundays closed).
Accompanying the exhibition is a comprehensive book of 200 pages that not only includes artworks from the show and astute essays by art critic Keshav Malik, but also archives some of the early shows of Modern Masters at Kumar Gallery in the 1950’s and 60’s and most candid images of bonhomie amongst Indian artists, critics, and their mentors, the Kumars. Captured at various events over the last six decades, these images in the book serve both as visual documentation of historical importance as well as reflect on the evolution and growth of modern Indian art.
Says Sunit Kumar: “This is the sixth edition of Celebration show but this time, the emphasis is on modern masters whose aesthetic merit is not only publicly acknowledged but who are also academically most sound, the true avant garde of Indian modern art”.
The expanse of the show is undoubtedly reflective of Kumar Gallery’s impeccable art collection. The earliest work in the show is a 1938 oil on canvas by Ram Kinkar Baij titled Toilet (seated nude lady with maid combing her hair).  Then, there is a late 1940s Jamini Roy depicting the finesse of his folk-based lines in a tempera work titled Man with Hookah.  Some of the other highlights of the show are a 1996 Rameshwar Broota titled Scripted in Time (also the largest in the show at 70 by 90 inches), a 1984 acrylic on canvas titled Radha in Vrindavan by KS Kulkarni, and a striking work titled The Foreman from 1961 by F. N Souza. The show also includes never-seen-before works by Husain (a self portrait 1969), Paysage (1958) by S.H Raza, rarely seen impastos on paper by Sohan Qadri and an oil on canvas titled To The Market (1961) by N.S. Bendre.

Two Faces of Bengal Modernism, a show by Bengal masters @ Visual Arts Gallery, New Delhi, on February 1, 2016

New Delhi: Rakhi Sarkar, Director, CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, brings to Delhi a seminal show featuring the two stalwarts of Bengal modernism titled Ganesh Pyne and Lalu Prasad Shaw: Two Faces of Bengal Modernism at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
Opening reception: Monday, February 1, 2016 at 7 p.m.
The show will be inaugurated by Sharmila Tagore
The show will be on till February 6, 2016, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ganesh Pyne (1937-2013) is best known for his tempera works depicting symbols, myths and epics as they are lived out. Among his influences are Abanindranath Tagore and Paul Klee, and Pyne adopts both the quietness of the former and the strangeness of the latter. His jottings are matrices (done on graph paper) of spontaneous thoughts, quotes, and sketches that give a sense of the process of Pyne’s art-making.
Lalu Prasad Shaw (1937-) drew his influences from the Ajanta cave paintings and the Kalighat pat style to create his own style of distinct, defined lines and stark colours. He is known for his portraits, his tempera works, and his etchings. Dwelling on the physical details of the things and people he paints, Shaw gives them a special kind of form and intimacy.
Says Rakhi Sarkar, Director, Cima Gallery and curator of the show: “Both the artists were very Bengali in spirit. While Ganesh had a purely urban upbringing, Lalu grew up among the pristine surroundings of rural Bengal. Lalu’s works are direct and aesthetically shaped by his relatively simple rural moorings. Idol making, patachitras, the company school and indigenous humour and rasa inspire his creative impulse. A product of Calcutta, Ganesh’s sensibilities on the other hand, were shaped by multi-layered, complex urban predilections, replete with socio-political underpinnings of his times. Lalu looked essentially at his country and roots whereas Ganesh, while being deeply affected by Bengali literature, theatre and history was equally fascinated by western art, philosophy, cinema and animation.  His art is result of his urbanity – a modern Bengali looking at the world in ways that Tagore or Satyajit Ray did. By juxtaposing two very dissimilar contemporaries, the exhibition points to the two parallel and dominant intellectual forces that shaped the visual language of modern Bengal; both addressing the concerns of tradition and modernity differently yet decisively.”

IAF 2016 preview demonstrates value of tighter curatorial focus with quality over quantity approach

New Delhi: The preview day of the eighth edition of India Art Fair opened with impressive flair, a buzzing atmosphere, and significant sales from both old and new collectors. The unanimous feedback across the board was in agreement that the fair had reached new heights of quality, both in terms of the production and layout, but more importantly in terms of the gallery presentations and the quality of the artists' work.
With the tighter focus on the South Asian region this year, many people commented on the relevance of 'Platform' as an unprecedented opportunity to showcase contemporary art from across the region.
Feedback from visitors, collectors, and gallerists include the following quotes:
"We are really happy to be at India Art Fair for the first time and have sold 4 pieces today to new clients. We are excited to meet new collectors and expand our network in South Asia"– Jal Hamad, Sabrina Amrani (Spain)
"We are really excited to be showing Rina Banerjee in India and we were pleased to sell a painting within the first couple of hours. This is our first year at the fair and we been very impressed - it is better produced than many other international fairs." –Todd Hosfelt, Hosfelt Gallery (San Francisco)     
"As a collector I would say the fair is tighter and more thoughtfully edited, particularly with regard to the galleries. It is an all round better experience, with considerable thought given to visitors in terms of the layout and overall experience as well as the fun side of fair." – Radhika Chopra, collector
"The layout is fantastic, and the fair has been amazingly organised. All the aspects are just great, and the galleries are showing a fantastic level of good art. The quality is much better." – Shalini Passi, Collector
"I have been coming to India Art Fair for the last 5 years and this year the presentation feels very coherent. There are some exciting new international galleries and the whole fair generally had great energy."– Ellie Harrison-Read, Associate Director, Lisson Gallery
"We exhibited at Pragati Maidan four years ago, and it is a huge pleasure to return to India Art Fair. The fair is looking beautiful, and the quality is at a serious international standard. The team have taken great care of us, and there is a good mix of people with international as well as Indian galleries." – Hetal Pawani, Director, Grey Noise gallery (Dubai)
"It's wonderful to back at India Art Fair - it's never looked better and there is a whole new feel of international quality. Great to see familiar faces, and gratified to see a strong selection of galleries not just from the indian scene, but internationally as well." –Shireen Gandhy, Director, Chemould Prestcott Road (Mumbai)
"The international team has pulled off a great coup. They have connected all the global art dots. The feel, energy and international exposure is awesome. There is a global mindset behind this fair and one can see the international footprint of India expanding through this." –Ashish Bhasin, Collector, and Director, The Smoke Company
"We are very pleased to be back at India Art Fair. The reaction has been really good with both sales and interest. We have already sold several works, and it is clear the market is now taking photography and the value of the medium more seriously in India. The fair has seen a really positive development this year. The overall presentation has improved and the South Asian focus is very well chosen. People can now come to the fair specifically to find out about art from the region." – Thomas Erben, Thomas Erben Gallery (New York)
"The fair is very much better than previous years. The look is both more global and very Indian at the same time. It is great to see so many of the best collectors here, and as an artist I am very happy." – Julien Segard, Artist
"India Art Fair is a breath of fresh air in the art fair market. It has a certain vibrancy. We are meeting some really genuine collectors, showing some artists that haven't been seen in India before." – Chris Churcher, Managing Director, Red Sea Gallery (Singapore)
"The India Art Fair Platform series has been much needed to understand the context of contemporary art in South Asia - both in terms of the local issues as well the broader global contemporary art scene. For the seven Nepali artists we are representing at the fair, this has been an incredible platform and we have received excellent responses to the work. Many people were amazed to discover Nepal has a contemporary art scene and it is terrific that IAF can play this role, showcasing work the is absolutely 'now' and relevant within the South Asian context." –Dina Bangdel, Nepal Art Council

Thursday, January 28, 2016

80 Jamini Roy works to go public for first time

--> Dhoomimal Gallery to host 42-day show of 20th-century master from January 29, 2016
New Delhi, January 27, 2016: Art buffs will get their first-ever view of 80 works of Jamini Roy, as an exhibition of the 20th-century master is opening in the capital on January 29, 2016, unveiling a set of drawings and paintings that had remained part of a private collection.
The 42-day show at Dhoomimal Gallery will feature Jamini Roy’s drawings and paintings from more than a half-century-old assemblage of Uma and Ravi Jain Estate which owns Delhi’s oldest gallery.
Curated by critic-scholar Uma Nair, the works in ‘Carved Contours’ represent Roy’s inspiration from the Kalighat and Pat traditions of Bengal. Done on cloth, board and paper, they feature simple monumental images of sari-clad women, village dancers and domestic animals besides Madonna and Christ and the famed Ramayan series.
“All of it eminently exemplifies his strikingly formalist pictorial language,” notes the curator.
The exhibition, which opens at 6 pm, is a collateral event of the India Art Fair 2016.
Uma Jain said the collection happened least with the aim of creating a portfolio. “. It was about taste, about building a collection out of one’s own passion,” she added.
Roy (1887-1972), who was a frontline pupil of iconic Abanindranath Tagore, developed a style that scholars note was a reaction against the Bengal School and Western tradition of art. He abandoned the use of European paints in favour of mineral and vegetable-based pigments made from rock-dust, tamarind seeds, alluvial mud and indigo, notes Uma Nair.
“Jamini’s admiration for rural folk art was politically motivated. It was part of a nationalistic desire to find an artistic style free from colonialism,” she added. “His works of men and women explore the economy of line, the beauty of gesture and the compositional clarity of the frontal perspective.”
At ‘Carved Contours’, the curator has come up with the Jamini works in clusters, suiting the ambience marked by the gallery’s high ceiling. “There are drawings on one wall, and the coloured ones on the other,” she pointed out.

St+art and Asian Paints transforming Delhi as the Next Art District of India

With the objective of transforming dull cityscapes to beautiful, colourful and lively spaces of art through street art, Asian Paints and St+art India are back again, but this time their urban renewal project is being done at a much larger scale.
This year round, not only will iconic buildings in Delhi will be transformed into artistic pieces of work, but large spaces like the Lodhi Colony which is at the heart of Delhi and considered as the most prestigious location of the city and ICD Concor Containers which is Asia’s largest dry container shed will be converted into art galleries making them India’s first Public Art Districts. This year Asian Paints and St+art India are bringing over 22 artists from India and abroad to breathe life back into Delhi cityscapes with art.

ICD Concor Containers:
ICD Concor Containers on January 31, 2016, will witness a remarkable transition through art. About 100+ containers will be transformed into piece of art by Indian and International artists which will be later displayed in an exhibition.
Lodhi Colony:
With the support of Ministry of Urban development, street art is creating 22 murals in Lodhi Colony which will create a 360 degree transition to the walls of the locality to create the next art district in India.
Artists from national and international acclaims will work on the walls of Lodhi Colony towards Urban Renewal of the Capital city of India. While Art is considered always as a medium of expression or a matter of pride to showcase for the rich and elite, Asian Paints shares St+art India foundations vision of making art accessible to everyone and the power of transforming public spaces through street art.
Public Art Districts have changed the visual outlook of the cities worldwide, additionally it attracts tourism. The objective of the project is to work closely with the people of Lodhi Colony and the government bodies to create artwork in public spaces and make it accessible to general public.
This campaign also supports the ongoing Swachh Bharat campaign, a cleanliness initiative pioneered by the prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. St+art foundation in association with Asian Paints is adding the contemporary blend so the usage of art helps maintain the public spaces.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Solos Show of Prajakta Palav in Hyderabad

Nature Morte presents Asim Waqif: Autolysis

The Foyer, One Style Mile, Adjacent to Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, New Delhi 110030
Opening on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 8 to 11pm
With a performance by Jeet Thayil’s new trio, “Talk is Cheap” featuring Samrat B (aka Audio Pervert) and Akanksha Sharma
Exhibition continues until Saturday, February 20, 2016
The exhibition will be open to 8pm on January 28, 29 & 30 for the India Art Fair.
Nature Morte is pleased to present an ambitious exhibition by the Delhi-based artist Asim Waqif entitled “Autolysis.” The title refers to the breakdown of plant or animal tissues by enzymes that are present in the tissues themselves; “self-digestion” would be an apt synonym.  Waqif has, for many years, fused part of his sculptural practice with chemistry, allowing works to be determined through decay, abuse, and the vicissitudes of time, his most recent such engagement with the poetics of detritus being his site-specific installation at the Asia Pacific Triennale 8 at the Queensland Art Gallery of Brisbane, entitled “All we leave behind are the memories,” a monumental assemblage of reclaimed timber from demolition sites around the city, resulting in an interactive electronic and acoustic construction.  
‘I am trying to promote situations and processes of decay and abuse to explore vulnerability and risk,’ says Waqif, who found himself strongly motivated to pursue the ephemeral possibilities of a work of art to subvert the market’s consumptive zeal for permanent or durable objects. ‘While installing a bamboo installation in a garden in Mumbai the art collectors were very concerned about the longevity of the artwork. They said, “We want it to be available to our grand-children,” adding “Can’t you make it out of concrete?”’ explains Waqif, who was appalled by the suggestion, considering the use of bamboo was the premise of his project. ‘I realized over time that the art market was obsessed with the archivability of artworks.’
The works constituting “Autolysis” are the consequence of Waqif’s intense three-month long interaction with the historic site adjoining Olive Bar & Kitchen in Mehrauli, a 200-year-old sarai that has not been used for decades. Located in the archaeological area that was once host to one of the seven ancient cities of Delhi, the exhibition is the result of Waqif’s understanding of and collaboration with its historicity. Its iteration outside of the setup of the white-cube space of the gallery is significant, for it enables Waqif to undermine the commercial value of a work of art and instead focus on its context.
In one large pit Waqif has buried what he calls a “puzzle” for a future archaeologist that will be excavated during the opening. ‘I feel that there is a lot of potential in the memory of an object and the gesture rather than the object itself,’ says Waqif, whose artistic inclinations have long since compelled him to question the act of preservation and conservation that can often result in the fetishization of objects and their extraction from everyday utility. ‘What is the value of the amazing collection of musical instruments at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris if no one is allowed to touch the instruments and no one knows how to make music with them anymore?’ he asks.

Asim Waqif (born 1978, Hyderabad) studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. After initially working as an art director for film and television, he later started making independent video and documentaries before moving into a dedicated art practice.
His recent projects have attempted to crossover between architecture, art and design, with a strong contextual reference to contemporary urban planning (or the lack thereof) and the politics of occupying, intervening in, and using public spaces. Some of his projects have developed within abandoned and derelict buildings in the city that act like hidden activity spaces for the marginalized.
Concerns of ecology and anthropology often weave through his work and he has done extensive research on vernacular systems of ecological management, especially with respect to water, waste and architecture. His artworks often employ manual processes that are deliberately painstaking and laborious while the products themselves are often temporary and sometimes even designed to decay. He has worked in sculpture, site-specific public installation, video, photography, and more recently with large-scale interactive installations that combine traditional and new media technologies.
 Waqif has held solo shows at Nature Morte, New Delhi and Galerie Templon, Paris in 2013, and the Palais Tokyo, Paris in 2012. His works have recently been included in the Asia Pacific Triennal 8 at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; the Queens Museum, New York; Blain/Southern Gallery, Berlin; the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon; and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida.
Some of the works in “Autolysis” have been created with the technological collaboration of SapientNitroSM.
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The performance by Talk is Cheap at the opening promises a word, sound, projection and interaction experience based on live mixed media that incorporates poetry, photography, and sound charged via manipulated effects and feelings.