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Posts Tagged ‘Indian contemporary art’

Jitish Kallat talks about Saatchi exhibition of Indian works to Economist – video

Posted by artradar on October 13, 2010


INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS LONDON VIDEO

Between January and May this year, Indian contemporary artist Jitish Kallat displayed seven pieces, paintings, sculptures and installations, at Saatchi Gallery, London with 23 other contemporary Indian artists in an exhibition called “The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today. In a video produced by The Economist titled “Jitish Kallat: perspectives on modern Indian art”, Kallat discusses his and the other artists’ work from this exhibition.

In the video, Jitish Kallat reveals what it is about contemporary Indian art that makes it so interesting for him; Indian art today is influenced by almost every aspect of Indian culture and the repositioning of the country on the global map is aiding the development of the art scene.

 

Indian contemporary artist Jitish Kallat. Sourced from www.iaac.us.

Indian contemporary artist Jitish Kallat. Sourced from http://www.iaac.us.

 

“The Empire Strikes Back” shows different contemporary Indian artists expressing political statements through their work. The pieces “actually travel and gather art miles…and as they gather art miles in different locations they share and gain meaning.” For Jitish, this repetition of artists’ intentions through different cultural stimulants in different parts of the world remains a great area of interest.

As people around the world are able to access different cultures more easily they feel more empowered to deconstruct the culture code from different places around the world. However, as he states in the video, Jitish Kallat feels that “the world has this peculiar ghostly sense of sameness within which these objects travel with baggage of tales and stories and meanings and metaphors and I think I find this process exciting, challenging and also instructive.”

The first piece discussed by Kallat in the video is Eruda (2006, black lead on fibreglass, 419 x 169 x 122 cm). Eruda is a massive black lead sculpture, the development of which stemmed from a series of photographs of boys selling popular books at the traffic lights. As Kallat relays in the video, this boy represents the spirit of the city, most particularly the quintessential Indian city of Mumbai.

 

Jitish Kallat, Eruda, 2006, black lead on fibreglass, 419 x 169 x 122 cm.

Jitish Kallat, Eruda, 2006, black lead on fibreglass, 419 x 169 x 122 cm.

 

Related to Eruda, Kallat’s “Eclipse” series of paintings also capture these boys smiling back. The paintings represent someone who not only lives in Mumbai but is themselves a portrait of the city. One of the images in the video reveals that the hair of each boy almost merges together and is actually made up of interconnecting images of people and streets. As Kallat states on the video, this is meant to show that “everyone who lives in the city of Mumbai is somehow tied into one conjoint reality.”

Public Notice 2 (2007, 4,479 fibreglass sculptures, dimensions variable) is an installation using words from Mahatma Ghandi’s historic 1930’s speech. For Kallat, given the everyday rhetoric that has created some sort of terror-affected world, voices such as Ghandi’s become carriers of a message that can help overcome the foolishness of the contemporary world. The piece is large in size which, for Kallat, is central to the creation of the meaning of the piece. However, once the video moves in to focus on the letters it becomes clear that each alphabet is a sculpture of a letter morphed out of bones.

The final piece in the video, Death of Distance (2007, black lead on fibreglass, a rupee coin and five lenticular prints, sculpture 161 cm diameter, prints 46 x 60 cm), refers to two texts that entered the public domain around the same time. The first is the story of a girl who committed suicide because her mother could not give her one rupee for a meal in school due to extreme poverty. The second article is a press release by a telecommunications company which claimed the “arrival of new India.” The press release famously called this event “the death of distance in India” and stated that it would now cost only one rupee to call from any part of India to another.

The installation includes five frames carrying both texts on each frame. They flip according to where you stand. It also includes a coin of one rupee enlarged to a size of an average person from India. Kallat states in the video that the flipping texts “become like reality in India itself: [the] India you see on that day depends on where you stand at that particular moment.”

 

 

Jitish Kallat, Untitled (Eclipse) 3, 2007, acrylic on canvas, triptych, 274 x 518 cm.

Jitish Kallat, Untitled (Eclipse) 3, 2007, acrylic on canvas, triptych, 274 x 518 cm.

 

Jitish Kallat was born in Mumbai in 1974. He received his BFA in painting from Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art and his work has been exhibited worldwide, appearing in New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Madrid, Zurich, Amsterdam, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

To see video, click here.

EN/KN/KCE

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India’s Experimenter focusses on the “now” with RAQS and Kolkata location – an interview with Prateek Raja

Posted by artradar on September 16, 2010


KOLKATA CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE ART GALLERIES INTERVIEWS

For a gallery that is just over a year old, Experimenter, co-owned, run and mostly curated by husband-and-wife duo Prateek Raja and Priyanka Raja, is quickly becoming a critical current in the very new trend of gallery spaces interested strictly in the contemporary. It is a welcome break from the traditional gallery system that regularly falls back on the moderns of Indian art.

A month before the duo heads off to the Frieze Art Fair in London this October, the gallery is wrapping up a show called “This is Unreal“. Featuring artists Susanta Mandal, Yamini Nayar and RAQS Media Collective, the show was conceived by the Rajas as an idea to cohere the multiple realities of modern life.  At the crux of the show is the idea of the manipulation of what is real – artists consistently create and break realities leaving the viewer in a constant state of doubt and speculation. This event marks the eighth show in the gallery’s young but accomplished life.

Art Radar Asia spoke with Prateek Raja from Experimenter about the gallery, the show, the art scene in India generally and in Kolkata; Kolkata is a city that has produced a number of great artists, but lags behind Delhi and Mumbai in the art market scene.

Raja on the Gallery, artists RAQS, Susanta Mandal and Yamini Nayar

The title is provoking. Why “This is Unreal”? Tell us how this project came about.

“This project came about from an initial idea of confronting modern day conspiracies and then filtered down to how everything today is projected as something and is in reality something else. The topic was left open for the artists to interpret in a way they saw fit. However, at this point I would like to say that we work with a different kind of approach. Our shows originate in conceptual ideas first and then we invite artists whose work has been in the kind of direction we are thinking to respond to that idea [or] concept. So all these artists within the realm of their practice have the ability to project multiple realities from the same experience.”

Tell us about yourselves. You are a husband-wife duo – both educated in Asian art at Sotheby’s. How did Experimenter happen for you and how does this partnership work?

“We both had this common urge to work together in the contemporary scene while Priyanka was at Proctor & Gamble and I was consulting on contemporary Indian art. Then she decided to take the plunge in mid 2008 and we opened the gallery in April 2009. In between, we did a short course on contemporary Asian art at Sotheby’s. Priyanka is the planner. She works out all the details. She is the arms and legs of the gallery. I do some of the thinking, but we both do the curatorial thinking together. We do only six shows a year, but believe me, its not easy to plan, ideate and keep a natural flow to the exhibitions for the six that we do. In fact, we balance each other out very well. That’s how this partnership works really.”

Experimenter is invested in capturing the “plurality of expression.” It is also deeply interested in the “now.” Tell us a little about this. How does this show fit into this paradigm?

“‘The plurality of expression’ comes from the inclination to introduce multiple mediums of expression and at the same time challenge the viewers to question established aspects of viewing contemporary art and break pre-conceived notions. It is also very linked into “now” because whatever we show or plan to show is about our generation, is about what is happening now and is reflective of what our society, our values, our systems project “now.” And if you look at people, organisations, governments, and the society around us, you will slowly peel off layer after layer to eventually derive your own understanding of the world, which might be completely unlike what you had originally perceived it to be. So the title does provoke in that sense by calling things unreal. Sometimes, one does not even have to go deep, just viewing an idea from a different point of view gives a completely new meaning to it. That’s the essence of this show.”

Tell us about the works in this show.

“RAQS has contributed three pieces, Skirmish, The Librarian’s Lucid Dream and I Did Not Hear.

Installation view detail of RAQS Media Collective's 'Skirmish', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition from the show "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Installation view detail of RAQS Media Collective's 'Skirmish', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition from the show "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Skirmish is a narrative about an estranged couple continuing their ‘skirmish’ on the walls of an unsuspecting city. The woman paints keys that are similar to the keys to her apartment that she had given to her partner, whom she has since distanced herself from, and the man cannot go anywhere without seeing the keys and recognises what a mockery she is making of his yearning for her. Yet in response he paints padlocks on the walls to continue that skirmish (and in a sense continue the only way of communicating with her) while the city assumes it’s just locksmiths and key-makers that have stepped up their business.

Installation view of RAQS Media Collective's 'Librarians Lucid Dream', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Installation view of RAQS Media Collective's 'The Librarian's Lucid Dream', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

The second work is a wallpaper called The Librarian’s Lucid Dream that forms the backdrop against which Skirmish is installed. It’s an interpretation of a librarian’s dream through just assemblages of texts. These are titles of books but all the titles are mixed up to created new meanings and realities.

The video I Did Not Hear is of a shooter at a shooting range. While the headphones on the viewer lead him or her through an abstract narrative, a rather sinister scaffolding of events is generated by the voice which in turn leads to multiple possible identities and roles for the shooter.

Installation view of RAQS Media Collective's 'I did not hear', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Installation view of RAQS Media Collective's 'I did not hear', as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Mandal creates a kinetic sculptural installation which has a screen and a light source behind that projects an image of a boiling bowl of liquid on an open flame. Using a common scene of ‘cooking something,’ Mandal makes a pun of the phrase ‘cook up’ to express how most things today are indeed cooked up to project a reality quite different from the factual truth.

An untitled installation by Susanta Mandal, as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

An untitled installation by Susanta Mandal, as shown at Gallery Experimenter exhibition "This is Unreal". Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

Nayar’s process is essential to the show. She creates sculptural assemblages from found objects, creates them for the camera, and after photographing them destroys the objects, thereby destroying the physical existence of the source of the photograph. The works form a point of entry into the object but do not quite reveal their actual meaning.”

Pursuit_Archival C Print on Paper. Yamini Nayar. Image courtesy Gallery Experimenter from the show "This is Unreal"

Yamini Nayar, 'Pursuit', archival C print on paper. Image courtesy of Gallery Experimenter.

RAQS Media Collective has come a long way since 1992 when they started out as a group of three media practitioners in the art world. What do you make of RAQS’ growing popularity in the international arts scene?

“They are a super super important artist collective. Any international curator or museum with any interest in contemporary Indian art will know the importance RAQS has on the Indian scene. And how the international market sees India is also defined by the shows that get seen at important venues like the ones that RAQS show in. Their practice is very critical to the Indian scene internally as well. They have some very interesting things lined up this year in Europe. We will also show them solo in February 2011 … and at the India Art Summit in January 2011 in New Delhi within a group show.”

This is your first time working with RAQS, Mandal and Nayar. How was the experience?

“Absolutely fantastic. They are very professional artists. Works and concepts were discussed (that were true to Experimenter’s way of working) over a year ago and we fleshed out ideas to finally put this show on. The most interesting bit is that their work really fits well together.”

Trends in Indian art

Do you think gallery spaces in India are generally not very encouraging for installation art?

“No. I don’t think so. It’s just that this is a growing population and, like all things new and different, installations have some amount of resistance to viewing and experiencing them, even now. From a point of view of being open to exhibiting installation art, there are a bunch of new galleries like us who are doing interesting things.”

Installation art and conceptual art are increasingly popular with Indian artists today. Do you see this as a trend?

“It’s a natural progression of what the Indian art scene is. The newer, younger galleries are looking to show this form of work. You have to know at the same time that the Western art viewing audience also saw this development in other countries several years ago and that’s possibly the trajectory we might see here in India too, but over the medium term.”

Kolkata on the Indian art map

Describe for us the arts scene in Kolkata? Why not set up Experimenter in Delhi or Mumbai?

“Because its the only city in the country where one can have viewers coming back three times over, spending two hours at the gallery. This is a city where art, literature, philosophy and politics all feature in regular conversations with regular people. It’s also a city which is extremely responsive to new forms of cultural influences and it’s fun to stir things up in a somewhat sidelined city!

Opening an Experimenter in Mumbai and/or Delhi would be easy and just another … contemporary space would have been added to the growing number we see today. In Kolkata, you are really making an impact on the visual arts scene with a program like ours.”

What has your experience been working in the Kolkata arts scene? How do you compare it with Delhi and Mumbai?

“Fantastic. For Experimenter at least, we have some very exciting collections in Kolkata that we are adding work to and we are evolving a new generation of collectors. Of course, we make sure that everything is available online – one can show works, do short videos of installations, gallery walk-through videos and share the program with the world. To give a small example, we will be the only Indian gallery at Frieze Art Fair, London this year. We did not apply; they hunted us down and asked for us to apply and we got through in the curated section where there will be only about twenty young galleries from all over the world. We are probably the youngest, too. Experimenter turned a year old in April this year.”

Do you feel it’s difficult to straddle the roles of gallery owner and curator?

“For us, a gallery is an extension of who the owners are. It’s our program. It’s not like a large faceless organisation, so curating shows for the gallery comes with what we want to show and how we respond to things in today’s world as people. So it’s not tough. It’s critical that we put our minds to developing the program in such a way that there is reflection of the ‘now’ in whatever we do. Also, most of our shows are quite political in nature and we like that. We like to make people a little uncomfortable.”

AM/KN/HH

Related Topics: Indian contemporary art, interviews, trends: fact and fiction blur

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Posted in Business of art, Conceptual, Curators, Fact and fiction blur, Found object, From Art Radar, Galleries work the web, Gallerists/dealers, Gallery shows, India, Indian, Installation, Interviews, Kinetic, New Media, Photography, Prateek Raja, Priyanka Raja, Professionals, Promoting art, Sculpture, Trends, Venues, Video, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

International artists reflect on controversial New Delhi face-lift

Posted by artradar on August 31, 2010


POLITICAL ART SOCIAL ART EXHIBITIONS INDIA RESIDENCIES SPORT EVENT

As so often happens when cities are granted the right to host a major sporting event, New Dehli is undergoing a sometimes controversial face-lift in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. New Delhi artists, as recently reported in The Washington Post, have entered the debate currently raging among lawmakers, the media, activists and sports figures over some aspects of the city’s planning and construction for the event.

A government commission recently issued a report critical of the city’s new construction. Human rights activists say thousands of slums have been demolished, and they warn that the games are creating deep social divisions. The Washington Post

Work by resident artist Becky Brown, part of Religare Arts.i's "The Transforming State. Image courtesy of Religare Arts.i.

Work by resident artist Becky Brown, part of Religare Arts.i's "The Transforming State. Image courtesy of Religare Arts.i.

The article details the work of three of the sixteen Indian and international artists whose artworks appear in a Religare Arts.i exhibition titled “The Transforming State“, the culmination of a two-month residency programme. It also contains comments from members of the public and arts professionals involved in organisation of the exhibition.

“The white-columned colonial architecture was built to impose order on the city during the British rule. Over the years, it yellowed, grayed and changed with use. It had the look of a natural, inhabited place,” said Malik, adjusting his retro-spectacles. “I find it odd that they are now restoring it to its original whiteness for the games.” Jitesh Malik, as quoted in The Washington Post

“The whole city is a work in progress. We are told to bear with the mess for the sake of the beauty that will come during the games. Now that mess has come into the art gallery,” Umesh Kumar, who attended the program’s preview, said with a wry smile. “The artists have spoken, but their message does not bring much comfort.” The Washington Post

Artists who participated in the residency and exhibition include Becky Brown, Brad Biancardi, Garima Jayadevan, Greg Jones, Jitesh Malik, Kavita Singh Kale, Kustav Nag, Megha Katyal, Nidhi Khurana, Onishi Yasuaki, Purnna Behera, Raffaella Della Olga and Rajesh KR Singh.

Read the full article here.

KN

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Posted in Activist, Art spaces, Buildings, Environment, Events, Gallery shows, India, Installation, International, Land art, Landscape, New Delhi, Residencies, Styles, Themes and subjects, Urban, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rising confidence in Indian art as market recovers

Posted by artradar on June 9, 2010


INDIAN ART MARKET CONFIDENCE

Francis Newton Souza's Imbecile Girl in a Green Blouse (1957) will be on sale in Saffronart's summer auction 2010. Its estimated price is USD275,000-350,000.

A recent article published on livemint.com by the Wall Street Journal reported a rising trend of speculators’ confidence in the Indian art market, possibly as a result of a rebound in valuations of Indian artworks.

The article used the data in the latest report by London-based art market research firm ArtTactic to show that speculators’ confidence in the Indian art market is on the rise, after its significant drop in May last year as a result of the global art market downturn.

“The ArtTactic Speculation Barometer for Modern Indian Art shows a 28% increase since October 2009, and is now at 6.3, up from 4.9. This is the highest reading since ArtTactic started its survey in May 2007,” the article reported.

“In my reading of the Indian context, most collectors who entered the market over the last five-seven years were keen speculators.” Arvind Vijaymohan, Head of Indian arts advisory Japa Arts Pvt. Ltd (as quoted on livemint.com)

“…Vijaymohan says that in the current situation, there exists a section of speculators who consider this the perfect time to enter the market, and acquire works of modern Indian art at low values.” http://www.livemint.com

“For Anders Petterson, managing director of ArtTactic, the most revealing aspect of the report is the speed of the recovery in the modern art market even though it raises the threat of speculative buying.” http://www.livemint.com

The article reported that “the combined auction sales for Indian art in March 2010 raised a total of $15.2 million (Rs69.3 crore)”.

The article also noted the widening gap in confidence between the modern and contemporary Indian art market.

“The Modern Indian Confidence Indicator is 51% higher than the equivalent confidence indicator for contemporary art. The report reasons that the established nature of the modern Indian market has created a sense of “safe haven” for many art buyers, a fact that is leading to its expansion.” http://www.livemint.com

Read the full article here.

CBKM/KN

Related Topics: Indian artists, collectors, business of art, market watch

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Posted in Artist Nationality, Business of art, Classic/Contemporary, Collectors, India, Indian, Market watch, Research, Surveys, Trends, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Peabody Essex Museum loaned 3 giants of contemporary and modern Indian art: Anish Kapoor, Francis Newton Souza, Paritosh Sen

Posted by artradar on June 9, 2010


INDIAN ART AMERICAN ART MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

This year, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has acquired three major works on loan from the Harmony Art Foundation: Anish Kapoor’s Halo (2006), Francis Newton Souza’s Birth (1955)and Paritosh Sen’s Amhedabad scene (1984).

“We are thrilled to have these three key works from the Ambani Collection,” says Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, the James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator at PEM. “Their extended loan is just one of the many ways in which we are bringing global contemporary art to PEM.”

Halo by Anish Kapoor. 2006.

Anish Kapoor, Halo, 2006

Anish Kapoor is one of the most celebrated contemporary Indian artists. Earlier this year, Kapoor received a commission to construct the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park, continuing his successes in London following a 2003 Unilever installation in the Tate Modern and a 2009 show at the Royal Academy. In the United States, he is best known for his 110‐ton stainless steel public sculpture Cloud Gate (2004), installed in Millennium Park, in Chicago.

Halo consists of a shallow circular cone of stainless steel, 10 feet in diameter. Its surface is pleated in a radial pattern, a manipulation more commonly associated with pliable fabric than unyielding steel. It will hang in the PEM atrium, on long‐term loan from the Tina and Anil Ambani Collection.

“Anish Kapoor is one of the most important artists working in the world today,” says Trevor Smith, PEM Curator of Contemporary Art. “The extraordinary technical achievement of his sculpture depends on contemporary technology while invoking a sense of wonder that is timeless.”

Souza and Sen are often pronounced fathers of Indian modern art. Breaking away from colonial training institutions in post independent India, they founded the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group and the Calcutta Group respectively. Both groups pioneered the modern art movement in India in the 1950s.

Birth by Francis Newton Souza

Francis Newton Souza, Birth, 1955

The Peabody Essex Museum has had a long history of collecting Indian art. In the year 2000, renowned Indian art collectors Chester and Davida Herwitz donated their collection to the PEM, fortifying its status as one of the best places to go for Indian art in the United States. Today the PEM has three galleries dedicated to Indian art.

“There is a tremendous synergy between the Peabody Essex Museum and Harmony Art Foundation based on our belief in Indian art, and our genuine commitment to bring it to the global stage,” says Tina Ambani, a former Bollywood star and founder of the Harmony Art Foundation, an institution which supports emerging and established Indian artists. “It’s time that the art world looks beyond current fads and market trends to establish an abiding interest in the incredible power and potential of Indian art.”

AM/KN

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Posted in Acquisitions, Collectors, Corporate collectors, Indian, Museum collectors, Museum shows, Museums, Painting, Progressive Artists' Group, Promoting art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Indian contemporary artist Reena Kallat: Art Radar exclusive interview

Posted by artradar on April 20, 2010


INTERVIEW INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART

 Reena Kallat (1973) is one of the best-known Indian contemporary artists today. In this Art Radar Asia exclusive interview she discusses her influences, artists she admires, the contemporary art scene and the painstaking techniques used to create her renowned rubber stamp portraits.

Kallat has shown her work in many prestigious institutions including the Saatchi Gallery and Mori Art Museum in Japan.

 

Reena Kallat, Synonym (part of a series), 2007

Reena Kallat, Synonym, 2007

Where were you born, brought up and schooled?

I was born in Delhi, although I was brought up in Mumbai all through my growing years where I went to school, followed by my training at Sir J.J. School of Art.

What have been major influences in your life and art?

If I had to think of one person who influenced my life tremendously, it would have to be my mother who helped inculcate several interests at an early age. Although she died when I was young, her absence continued to influence my life in more ways than one.

There are several artists whose works have impacted my Art and my sensibilities towards art making at different stages that include Frida Kahlo, Rachel Whiteread, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Christian Boltanski, while closer home in India the practices of artists such as Nalini Malani, Vivan Sundaram, Arpita Singh, interested me and informed my early years.

Reena Kallat, Walls of the Womb, 2007

Reena Kallat, Walls of the Womb, 2007

How long does it take to produce an artwork? What kind of space do you work in?

I like working on multiple ideas at the same time and these could be at different stages of completion. Sometimes they collectively spark off unexpected adaptations. Most are kept fluid and provisional over a period time to see if they spawn into meaningful works.

My studio is on 2 levels, ground and first floor. I usually make work on the lower level and have my books to read, write or sketch on the upper level which allows me the space and sometimes necessary distance between conceiving an idea and realizing it.

What achievement in your art career are you most proud of?

Although there is a lot to be achieved I’m not someone who’s easily satisfied, given the expectations I have from myself. But to be a catalyst in realizing certain key works that have taken me a period of time to develop, such as the series of “Synonyms” made using rubberstamps, “Walls of the Womb” a series of tie and dye silks or the sculptural installation titled “Saline” made in bonded marble amongst others, has been fulfilling. I am glad to have been part of some interesting shows in venues such as the Helsinki City Art Museum, ZKM museum in Karlsruhe, the Chicago Cultural Centre, Hangar Bicocca in Milan, Zendai Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA Shanghai, Henie Onstad Kuntsenter in Oslo, The National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai and Saatchi Gallery, London amongst others.

Are there any Indian artists you admire in particular?

Amongst the long list of artists from India whose work I have admired are Nasreen Mohamedi, Nalini Malani, Vivan Sundaram, Arpita Singh, Bhupen Khakkar, Gulam Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Atul Dodiya, Sheela Gowda, Surendran Nair besides some of my contemporaries like Anita Dube, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher, Shilpa Gupta and N.S. Harsha.

Reena Kallat, Penumbra Passage (Canine Cases), 2006

Reena Kallat, Penumbra Passage (Canine Cases), 2006

We have  been to the Saatchi show in London several times, and noticed that your art displayed there has been deeply influenced by historical events. How does history especially that of India, inspire you?

I think it is almost impossible to not be influenced either consciously or unconsciously by the richness of India’s vast cultural landscape through its architecture, film, crafts, dance, theatre. As we know, India has had long phases in its history of harmonious co-existence among divergent ethnic groups and communities, however in the recent past its political history has been tainted by divisive politics being played out, causing fissures amongst people. At times my work can be a comment or a critique but what interests me is that space in-between the factual and the fictional, of the sometimes harsh realities and the tender aspirations or dreams for a better future.

Could you please tell the story of how your Synonym (2007) came about? Why did you create it? How was it made?

My interest in using rubberstamps as a medium grew out of its use within official purposes and it’s associations with bureaucracy. I first started using them in 2003. I think of each name on the rubberstamp as being representative of an individual amidst hundreds of faceless people in this vast ocean of humanity. The sources of reference for the names often provide meaning or give context to the different bodies of works made.

In case of the Synonyms I chanced upon the list of names, out of official police records of those who’ve gone missing in India, through a friend who was looking for someone missing. The work stands like a screen holding up portraits formed by several hundred names of people rendered in scripts of over 14 Indian languages. From a distance they come together as portraits, but up-close they almost seem like a circuit-board of rubberstamps. These are people who seem to have slipped out of the radar of human communication, thrown off the social safety net.

Making these works is a slow process but one that throws up sometimes unexpected and startling results. I first draw out the silhouette of the portrait on plywood, then arrange the wooden pieces that comprise the rubberstamps. After painting the portrait on the uneven surface of the rubberstamps, the names are pasted and inked. These pieces are then transferred onto the Plexiglas where some additions and omissions lend the portrait its final character.

Reena Kallat, Synonym, 2009

Reena Kallat, Synonym, 2009

What are your future plans? Exhibitions?

I am toying with a bunch of ideas at this point, some of which are slowly taking shape in the studio while there are practical glitches in case of others that make the process equally challenging as it is exciting. Amongst some of the exhibitions I’m now making new work towards are for the Helsinki City Art Museum, Castel Sant Elmo in Naples later this year and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, scheduled early next year.

What are your thoughts on the contemporary Indian art scene in both the Indian and international contexts?

I think post independence it has taken a long time for India to find its place in the larger global context in most fields. Contemporary Indian Art has experienced a steady growth over the last few decades with contributions and efforts from previous generations of artists, writers, critics into developing the scene before its meteoric rise, largely attributed to the commercial success it was gaining. Given the collective vibrancy and sheer robustness of the Art being produced here, I think individual artists from India will increasingly be seen to be significant contributors to the global Art scene.

In the absence of the state’s responsibility in contributing to improve and enhance the infrastructure around Art, whether it is at the university level or at the institutional level, the private sector in India has played an important role. However there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to try and increase the presence of Art in the larger public consciousness.

AL/KCE

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Posted in Body, Indian, Interviews, Political, Reena Saini Kallat | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anish Kapoor given sculptural commission in London’s Olympic Park

Posted by artradar on April 14, 2010


ANISH KAPOOR TO DESIGN SCULPTURE FOR LONDON’S OLYMPIC PARK

Anish Kapoor’s new work, to be titled The ArcelorMittal Orbit, will commemorate the London 2012 Olympics in Olympic Park.

 

Anish Kapoor, Proposed ArcelorMittal Orbit

Anish Kapoor, Proposed ArcelorMittal Orbit

Anish Kapoor has received a commission to construct The ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park, continuing his successes in London following a 2003 Unilever installation in the Tate Modern and a 2009 show at the Royal Academy.

The sculpture will be made of tubular steel and will be the tallest in the UK, rising to a height of 115 m- 22m taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty. There will be a special viewing platform near the top, allowing tourists to see spectacular views of all of London. It is already being considered the monument of the Games for the East End.

AL/KCE

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Posted in Anish Kapoor, Indian, London, Public art, Sculpture, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Krishen Khanna traces evolution of Indian modern art: innovative interview technology used

Posted by artradar on April 12, 2010


INDIAN ARTIST INTERVIEW PODCAST

Saffronart is hosting a series of invaluable art historical documentary interviews with leading Indian artists to broaden the discourse about the evolution of modern and contemporary Indian art. The imaginative use of new interactive podcast technology is an initiative to emulate by both for-profits and non-profits.

The second interview in the speaker series  is to celebrate a retrospective by Krishen Khanna at Rabindra Bhavan, the Lalit Kala Akademi, in New Delhi, which lasted from 23 January to 5 February 2010. In it Krishen Khanna talks about his inspirations for painting and experiences regarding the development of modern Indian art.

Khanna, Bandwallaas in Practice, 2002

He begins with a personal ancedote about how he became involved in India’s art scene in the 1950s: he was formerly a banker, but his wife encouraged him to quit his job and take up painting. and discusses the artists (including F.N. SouzaS.H. RazaM.F. Husain) involved in Progressive Artist Group.

He mentions specific shows, such as Souza’s 1953 show containing a frontal nude self-portrait, which shocked the public and drew the attention of the moral police. Khanna emphasises Souza’s diverse inspirations, which ranged from Hokusai and Picasso.

Khanna, In My Studio, 2008
Khanna, In My Studio, 2008

Khanna also places the Progressive Artist Group into a historical context: he discusses the exodus of artists from India after it won its independence and how major events, like the death of Gandhi, affected  Indian artists globally. He then answers personal questions involving both his participation in the Progressive Artist Group and his relationship with its members.

Using a technique that we have not seen before the 30 minute audio is organised into searchable snippets under the following categories: Souza’s Solo Show, News of Ghandi’s Death, Progressive Artists’ Group, Nationalism in Art, The Form in Art and Drawing and Painting.

To hear the podcast click here.

AL/KCE

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Related topics:  INDIAN ARTISTS, NATIONALISM IN ART, ART AND THE INTERNET

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Posted in Art and internet, India, Indian, Interviews, Krishen Khanna, Nationalism, Painting, Profiles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Contemporary Indian art meets tradition at inaugural ‘Sowing Seeds’ artist workshop in Rajasthan, India -interview

Posted by artradar on March 23, 2010


'Sowing Seeds' 2009 participating artists

INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART WORKSHOP

The first edition of a new and unprecedented artists’ workshop in Rajasthan brings together traditional rural artists and urban international contemporary artists for approximately 12-14 days to create art and exchange ideas.

This project, called ‘Sowing Seeds’ (in Indian, ‘Beej Bonna’) is an interactive artists’ workshop and is to be held annually in an Indian countryside village every December with the aim of  facilitating the ‘rise of a new era’ in Indian visual art.

The 2009 ‘Sowing Seeds‘ program became a reality after six years of hard work, and plans for the December 2010 workshop are already underway. Art Radar catches up with the lead organizer of the programme, Mr. Vagaram Choudhary, to learn more.

Why did the camp start, and what is it intended to achieve?

“Nowadays in India, contemporary artists tend to work in big cities and display their work in urban galleries. Therefore, Indian village people have few opportunities to interact with contemporary art and artists. In rural areas, there are artists who are traditionally sound but their awareness of creating contemporary art is lacking due to a scarcity of contemporary cultural knowledge. Thus, many rural artists lose their talent when they work only for commercial purposes. We hope these artists and communities can learn and enrich themselves through this camp. We are trying to sow seeds between the rural and contemporary art worlds… Our main motto to is to explore this idea on fairly nonprofitable grounds.”

 

“As an alternative art space in India, we have accepted the challenge of organizing and welcoming different art forms that would help develop traditional Indian artists and society, as well as the emerging contemporary artists.”

Who started the camp?

“This camp was planned by a small group of artists from Rajasthan, in northwestern India. The first ‘Sowing Seeds’ project was handled by myself,  [Mr. Vagaram Choudhary.]”

What are the main objectives of ‘Sowing Seeds’?

We have 5 main objectives. They are:

  • Create meaningful connections and interactions between rural and contemporary artists
  • Develop interrelationships among artists from different geographical locations, creating an environment with varied social, religious and cultural perspectives
  • Develop contemporary art ideas using traditional materials and emerging techniques so that it could connect artists to the current global art scenario
  • Foster collaboration, encourage experimentation, exchanges and dialogues among practicing and emerging artists
  • Serve as a platform for regional and international exposure

Corina Gertz, from Germany. Created during Sowing Seeds 2009.

Is the program associated with a gallery?

“Yes, we are in partnership with the Kaman Art Gallery in Jodhpur. The gallery owner, Mr. Mitendra Singh, provided 40% of the financial support for this camp and also space for the exhibition. The remaining sum was financed by a group of artists.”

How are participating artists chosen?

“We released an open application for artists to participate in this camp. This was done online. We received 128 responses from all over world. Out of these, we selected 80 prospects. We appointed 3 senior artists as the jury, and they selected our final 13 participating visual artists and 1 performance artist.”

Do the artists create art individually, or in groups?

“Each artist works in conjuntion with village people, local sculptors, carpenters, tailors and other craftspeople help to create his or her work.”

What are the future plans for the programme?

“We plan to organize one camp a year in different village locations in the province of Rajasthan, India. If the opportunity was presented, we would ideally like to send a villager artist in an exchange programme to another country to learn new technological art techniques and ideas. This would greatly help these artists nurture their creative side.”

Aditi A. Kulkarni, from India. Created during Sowing Seeds 2009.

When and where is Sowing Seeds 2010, and how many participants will be invited?

“Sowing seeds 2010 will be held at a village near Mount Abu, in the Indian province of Rajasthan, from December 12-25, 2010.”

This year we will invite 15 artists:

  • 6 Indian visual artists
  • 6 visual artists from anywhere in the world
  • 1 art critic from anywhere in the world
  • 1 performance artist from anywhere in the world
  • 1 senior artist from anywhere in the world

Rajesh Pullarwar, from India. Created during Sowing Seeds 2009.

Who were the participating artists in 2009, and where were they from?

In no particular order:

Terue Yamauchi, Japan Maria Rebecca Ballestra, Italy Lucrecia Pittaro, Argentina
Judit Hettema, Netherlands Corina Gertz, Germany Bhupat Dudi, India
Aditi A. Kulkarni, India Vagaram Choudhary, India Rajesh Pullarwar, India
Nilesh Shidhpura, India Chiman Dangi, India

Can you describe the activities that artists participate in while completing the workshop?

“Rural + Contemporary,” was the theme for the ‘Sowing Seeds’ camp  held between 12th to 22nd December 2009, in which participating artists from Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, France, and India got first-hand experience living in the remote Indian Sar village, in Rajasthan. This colourful, dusty, dry village with day and night temperatures fluctuating between the extremities had the perfect ambience for a camp that could provide fodder to the creative minds. Indeed, a wonderful opportunity had been presented to the visiting national and international artists to unleash their creative spirit. There was ample material locally available to experiment with. But the real challenge and learning happened while creating artworks that would reflect the theme of the camp – “Rural + Contemporary…”

“Local raw materials such as clay, paper, cow dung cakes, mud, wood, pottery pieces, cloth, threads, jute ropes, metal plates, powdered colours, etc., were innovatively used to bridge the communication gap between the ideating contemporary artists and the local people. Initial feelings of insecurity and apprehension gave way to a budding and blossoming friendship, thereby opening channels of interaction and understanding between cultures alien to each other. The villagers responded with overwhelming love and affection, providing tireless technical labour and assistance, tailoring the artistic creations effortlessly…”

“Every day was a new day, where the artists would be off to the village and nearby areas for realizing their artworks; the evenings would be delightfully graced with local cultural entertainment such as folk song and dances, and the late nights would be spend resting on a cot in inviting tents under the open sky. Deeply cherished moments were the ones around the bonfire where discussions of culture flowed in from people across continents in the cold mornings and nights. It never ceased to amaze each artist as to how a simple parallel world existed side by side to their seemingly advanced world!”

“…This camp beautifully brings out the understanding and the sensitivity of the various artists to the responses and nuances of the human mind such as emotions, fears, thoughts, relationhips, such as bonding with people and nature, the problems faced by humanity, and the causes which can enhance or destroy the human existence.”


Interested parties are encouraged to contact Mr. Vagaram Choudhary and check out Sowing Seeds for more information on this intercultural arts program.

EW/KCE

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Posted in Art spaces, Artist-run, Courses, Globalisation, India, Indian, International, Interviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“The Empire Strikes Back – Indian art Today” at Saatchi Gallery: critics’ review roundup

Posted by artradar on February 24, 2010


INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART

“The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today” opened on 28 January 2010 at Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London. It has received attention from critics interested in both the cultural implications of contemporary Indian art in British society and the exhibition’s impact on the art market.

Intensity and violence are found in some stand out works but the consensus suggests an uneven show.

According to the Business Standard, over 100 works of 26 Indian artists are being displayed. Price estimates are included for some works.

Also concerned with the art market, Colin Gleadell of The Daily Telegraph contemplates the impact of “The Empire Strikes Back” on the value of Saatchi’s investment in Indian contemporary art. He also summarises the fluctuations in the Indian contemporary art market.

Generally, critics’ reviews have been mixed: though they support the concept of showing contemporary Indian artists, many claim that there are only a few standouts.

The Financial Times‘s Peter Aspden is intrigued by “contrast between the work’s wholesome message and the gruesome imagery used to deliver it” in Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 2, the first work in the show.

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2

He then interviews Rebecca Wilson, the associate director of Saatchi Gallery. She explains Saatchi Gallery’s reasons for organising the show, focusing on global trends regarding Indian and Pakistani contemporary art and the sheer volume of new artists from the region.

The Guardian’s Adrian Searle begins with “One might expect Charles Saatchi to show just the sorts of things that are presented,” listing works like Huma Mulji’s Arabian Delight and Atul Dodiya’s Fool’s House as expected works. He concludes “A lot of the work looks exoticised for the gallery, the artists playing their post-colonial otherness as a gimmick, rather than making art of substance.”

JJ Charlesworth of Time Out London also concedes that there are works of “bog-obviousness,” but especially praises Chitra Ganesh’s Tales of Amnesia, consisting of 21 comic-inspired prints that question the role of femininity in society.

Husband-and-wife Subdoh Gupta and Bharti Kher impress Ben Luke of London’s Evening Standard, though he mentions the “collection’s unevenness.”

Bharti Kher, An Absence of Assignable Cause

Bharti Kher, An Absence of Assignable Cause

Luke is especially interested in Bharti Kher’s An Absence of Assignable Cause, which is her conception of a sperm whale’s heart covered in bindis.

The Times’ Joanna Pitman is fascinated by the artists who “push their media into almost illegible territories, as if to say that art could not possibly be adequate to record what really matters.”

Probir Gupta’s painting Anxiety of the Unfamiliar and Tallur L.N.’s Untitled both depict what she describes as “bleary fragments, the chance events, and barely registered perceptions of this imbalanced, disturbed country.”

However, Pitman also comments on the unevenness of the show: “Many works resemble the outpourings of pained and confused undergraduate minds.”

Mark Sheerin of Culture 24 is also struck by the intensity present throughout the works. He  claims that, “At best, such high impact work can astound and violently re-orient you” and cites Tushar Joag’s The Enlightening Army of the Empire’s “skeletal, spectral band of robotic figures” as a prime example.

Tushar Joag, The Enlightening Army of the Empire

Tushar Joag, The Enlightening Army of the Empire

He encourages the reader to “come and let the works do violence to you. They should be resisted, if at all.”

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Posted in Asia expands, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Consumerism, Gallery shows, Heart art, Indian, Jitish Kallat, Light, London, Overviews, Political, Rashid Rana, Reviews, Robot, Saatchi, Sculpture, Shows, UK, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »