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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Dayanita Singh’

ARCO Madrid 2009 international art fair news round-up – galleries drop out, public funding prop, Indian art

Posted by artradar on February 12, 2009


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INTERNATIONAL ART FAIRS

ARCO Madrid, one of the largest and most important international art fairs holds its 28th edition from 11 February to 16 February 2009  in a new location:  Halls 6, 8 & 10 at Feria de Madrid, Spain. 238 galleries from 32 countries are participating.

Financial downturn hits art worldBBC – 16 Feb 209 – video clip – An insubstantial very brief video story about how the crisis is affecting the art fair: some artists are using the crisis as inspiration for their art: interview with art fair director Lourdes Fernandez who says it is more difficult for some dealers this year.

Dealers reported mixed results at Spain’s monster contemporary art fair ArcoFinancial Times – 14 Feb 2009 – Georgina Adam reports that Spanish museums budgets have melted and prices of artworks have been reduced. Artists attracting interest/buyers included Georg Baselitz, Amaya Gonzalez Reyes, Eugenio Merino’s take off of Damien Hirst ‘For The Love of Gold’.

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Click to buy

Arco Beep New Media Art Award  – We Make Money Not Art  – 13 Feb 2009 – Post written by a member of the jury about the award, the entries and the winner. The award was won by Ubermorgen.com for its EKMRZ Trilogy, a fascinating triptych about the three kings of ecommerce Google, Amazon and ebay. The Google art work ‘Google will eat itself’ involves the artists raising money with google text ads and using the money to buy Google shares.

Panorama India Artslant provides a list of artists and galleries from India, Arco’s special guest country 2009.

Tatsumi Orimoto performs Punishment at Arco 2009 video – Vernissage TV

Hirst statue stars at Madrid show as dealers aim to defy slumpBloomberg – 13 Feb 2009 – A Florida collector bought Merino’s sculpture of Hirst committing suicide “Hirst is always trying to think of ways to make his art the most expensive. If he killed himself, then the value of his art would increase a lot.” Despite India being guest country only 13 galleries from there. US galleries dropped from 26 last year to 7 this year. Plenty of bargains. Russian GMG Gallery sold 2 photographs by Anatoly Zhuravlev to a prominent Swiss collector of Chinese art.

Image carousel Telegraph – 19 images of artists: Isaac Montoya, Filomena Soares, Jose Batista Marques, Enrique Marty, Madeleine Berkhemer, Vivek Vilasini  (India), Jitish Kallat (India), Valay Shende, Eugenio Merino, Yi Hwan-Kon, Samuel Salcedo, Bernardi Roig.

Indian art draws Europeans IANS via Zee News – 13 Feb 2009 – New trend in Indian art away from works on canvas towards installation and new media apparent in gallery shows and  Panorama, the show of Indian art curated by Bose Krishnamachari. Dayanita Singh in solo show, Shilpa Gupta work finds European buyer.

Gloom at major European art fair as boom in sales seen over  – AFP  – 12 Feb 2009 – This is a prediction story about the mood prior to the event. Galleries predict  limited cash, prices down 25% for contemporary art, buyers will take time over purchases. Artist view: lower prices an opportunity for young. Includes image carousel.

Arco Madrid 2009 opens – calm forecast  – Art Daily – 12 Feb 2009 – This is a facts piece with a promotional tone. It covers details of the move to the new location and the fair’s programmes and projects: India is showcased, three curated shows cover performance art, contemporary art and technology in art, there is a list of talk forums by experts and a description of the section showcasing capsule collections from private museums.

Recession triggers improvement in Indian art qualitySindhToday via IANS – 11 February 2009 – This is a views piece about how the collector base for Indian art is changing and broadening particularly in Europe and is based on interviews with Bose Krishnamachari curator of the special Indian Panorama section and Peter Nagy of Nature Morte, an exhibitor.

Fine Art Publicity - click to buy

Fine Art Publicity - click to buy

Galleries drop out of ARCOArtinfo – 5 Feb 2009 – Edited version of Der Standard story below.

ARCO hit by crisis– Artforum via APAvia Der Standard – 3 Feb 2009 – 20 galleries of 270 cancelled – dropouts include 2 from South America, one from Spain and Lisson Gallery London. Portugese Ministry of Culture provided funding to prevent more.

Related links: ARCO website

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Posted in Acquisitions, Bose Krishnamachari, Collectors, Dayanita Singh, Electronic art, Fairs, Indian, Interactive art, Madrid, Market watch, New Media, Participatory, Shilpa Gupta, Spain, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mixed reviews for Serpentine’s Indian Highway show in London – Evening Standard, Independent

Posted by artradar on December 18, 2008


N S Harsha Melting

N S Harsha Melting

 

INDIAN ART OVERVIEW SHOW

Indian Highway to 22 February 2009 Serpentine Gallery London

Indian Highway, a show of 25 contrasting artists from India, is billed by the Serpentine as a “snapshot of a vibrant generation of artists” and “a timely presentation of their pioneering work following the remarkable and rapid economic social and cultural developments in India in recent years”. 

The show which  incorporates architecture, art, literature and performance, will continually grow as it tours internationally to different institutions for the next four years. After London, it will be presented at Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, from 4 April to 21 June 2009, where it will expand with the addition of new works as well as a section curated by Bose Krishnamachari.

M F Husain Naad Swaram Ganeshayem

M F Husain Naad Swaram Ganeshayem

The show features the following artists some of whom have already made an impact on the international art world:

Ayisha Abraham
Ravi Agarwal
Nikhil Chopra
Raqs Media Collective
Sheela Gowda
Sakshi Gupta
Shilpa Gupta
Subodh Gupta
N. S. Harsha
M. F. Husain
Jitish Kallat
Amar Kanwar
Bharti Kher
Bose Krishnamachari
Nalini Malani
Tejal Shah
Dayanita Singh
Kiran Subbaiah
Ashok Sukumaran & Shaina Anand

In an inevitable comparison with Saatchi’s show of Chinese art, Indian Highway comes out on top in the Evening Standard.

Everything that Saatchi gets wrong with his Chinese show the Serpentine gets right in its Indian one. While the Duke of York’s Baracks show is a chart of the cheesiest Chinese auction house hits, the Serpentine is a treasure trove of subtlety and surprise.

There are new history paintings from India’s 93-year-old Modernist master, a multi-screen documentary of cinematic quality about terrible violence against women, sculptures made from whistles and rotating microphones about sectarian division, and a wall drawing of super-sized technicolor bhindis.

Typical of the shrewd tack taken is the way the exhibition handles the two shooting stars of the Indian contemporary art boom, Jitish Kallat and Subodh Gupta. Kallat’s large portraits of impoverished Indians, painted in a colourful screen-printed style, with their turbans transformed into intricate urban scenes, have become must-haves for aspiring billionaire collectors. Nothing that predictable here, though. Instead we have a series of photographs of dilapidated urban India, often decorated with stencils of Hindu gods.

But Kallat’s photographs are lenticular – that kind of 3-D photo with a fuzzy surface which takes on depth and reveals hidden details as one stands at an angle to it – a kind of photography you will know from souvenir postcards of tourist attractions, cartoon characters and Princess Diana. Kallat’s process turns a photojournalistic essay into not only an alluringly colourful spectacle but also a conceptual work which plays on where tourists find beauty in India and ennobles a popular visual idiom.

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Ravi Agarwal Kite

Subodh Gupta is India’s best-known contemporary artist, whose trademark works are made out of Indian cooking utensils. He won early fame with a set of shelves with neat piles of stainless steel pots and pans, organised according to minimalism’s simple geometries.

At the Serpentine, however, there is not a trace of his kitchenware. Instead, he presents an evocative installation based on the interior of an Indian county court. There are worn wooden tables, half-broken chairs, ageing electronic typewriters and bundles of creased files. I had become rather disillusioned by all the repetitive pots-and-pans pieces I’d seen by Gupta over the past few years, and I loathe the terrible spin-off photorealist paintings of the same kitchenware which have been on show in every auction preview. The new work shows what resources this artist can tap as long as he doesn’t pander to the tastes of his dimwitted market of millionaire collectors.

Alongside these shooting stars, there is also India’s most famour post-war artist MF Husain, born in 1915. He is represented here in depth by a large number of canvases including several which have been exhibited – in another imaginative act of curating – on the outside of the building.

Husain is a sure-footed master of colour and texture and his compositions are boldly drawn – a mass of charging horses, elephants, mountain ranges and dynamic figures. He has only just begun to receive the recognition he deserves, but a demanding viewer may feel his old-fashioned mythological modernism owes too much to Chagall and Kandinsky for comfort.

The show makes plain some of the shortcomings of younger contemporary artists in fast-developing economies that will have flashed through the mind of anyone familiar with contemporary Chinese art. There is a sense of these artists having quickly learned to speak the foreign language of conceptual art-ese. They get the basic grammar – take a material of symbolic significance in your home country and make a big sculpture of something else with it

Overall, the work is of sufficient interest to push these criticisms to the back of the mind. The Indians don’t make the worst mistakes of their Chinese counterparts – there is no subcontinental equivalent of Wang Guanyi’s gimmicky Maoist propaganda posters peppered with Coca-Cola logos, or Zhang Xaiogang’s cutesy soft-focus paintings of bug-eyed Cultural Revolution families. The Indian artists engage with the politics of the present, not nostalgia. The work has an impressive discipline and severity, from which flashes of fairytales suddenly burst forth.

Evening Standard review

While the Evening Standard gives legendary MF Husain and the show overall a wavering thumbs up,  the Independent has nothing much good to say starting with the show’s guiding theme. “There must be some agenda, some network of contacts, guiding the selection. A more knowing person than me could tell you what. ” And the presence of ‘Picasso of India’ s MF Husain’s work confuses matters further:

The difficulty with Husain’s art is a matter of reputation. Why should he be rated as an even remotely interesting or important artist? His crudely cartoony pictures seem to belong, not at this gallery, but across the park, on the railings of Bayswater Road. Yet in an Indian context he has been a major figure. And so a baffling cultural gap opens up, about which the show leaves us none the wiser.

There’s no such gap with the work of the younger artists. On the contrary: it looks exactly like the kind of thing you’d find at the Serpentine. Its content is often Indian, but its forms are the established idioms of international contemporary art. You’ll find all the familiar fixtures: the room-filling installation, the multi-screen video projection, the enormous colour photograph, the found-object assemblage.

If you have any doubts about the embrace of artistic globalisation, Indian Highway will settle them. You could give the show a brisk walk-through, and almost not notice where things came from.

Where Indian culture is referenced, the Independent finds the motifs and usage too obvious.

Bharti Kher makes everything – or covers everything – in bindis (adhesive forehead dot decorations). Bose Krishnamachari makes much use of tiffins (the much-used metal cylindrical lunch box). Slightly obvious ideas, true, the sort of idea you can imagine an Indian artist having rather easily – and it turns out they’re used in rather an obvious way, too.

Subodh Gupta

Subodh Gupta

I found myself feeling that too often. The work is plausible enough, but nothing special. Shilpa Gupta’s In Our Times puts two old-fashioned microphones see-sawing on a stand, broadcasting the Independence speeches of Nehru (India) and Jinnah (Pakistan), delivered by a woman’s voice. Well, if I was pretending to be an Indian artist, that’s the kind of thing I’d do!

Or there’s Subodh Gupta, who’s been dubbed – well, it had to happen – “the Damien Hirst of India”, but here he appears more in the character of “the Mike Nelson of India”, with a room filled with a run-down and packed-up office. But then, same problem again: compared with Nelson’s dense and atmospheric environments, this is a very thin and under-imagined space.

I thought Nalini Malani had something, painting flights of female figures on clear acrylic panes, where swirling smears of pigment get transformed into snaking bodies. And Kiran Subbaiah’s brief video, Flight Rehearsals, about an introverted young man climbing the walls of his bedroom, was tight and funny. And Amar Kanwar’s The Lightning Testimonies used that unpromising form – the eight-screen all-around projection – and nearly made it work. But there’s nothing to bring you running.

An India-focused show looks like a good idea. But if it turns out to be a dud, then it’s a very bad idea. Anything disparaging you say about it is likely to become a disparaging generalisation about India itself. And if none of the art seems much good, you’re tempted to think that there’s a general cultural problem. The artists may seem fluent in contemporary art, but this language is clearly a Western invention. They have adopted it in an efficient but derivative way, as a badge of contemporaneity. They lack the confidence to take it over and reshape it.

Maybe. But an alternative explanation is available. It is simply that the artists in this show are stymied by the almost universal problem of not being very good artists. It can happen to artists anywhere. And then the question is, why the Serpentine didn’t find better ones?

Independent

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