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Posts Tagged ‘Nilima Sheikh’

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 »

The Singapore Tyler Print Institute – international art collaboration at world-class print studio – profile

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART ORGANIZATIONS

STPI

Metal Bull Year I, by Chang Fee Ming at STPI. Watercolor, acrylic, etching, gold leaf, on STPI handmade paper. 77 x 62 cm.

Art Radar remains devoted to sharing important and unique Asian arts institutions with readers, and few are as exciting as the Singapore Tyler Print Institute. Regular art fair goers may already be familiar with the institute, which is a fixture at many Asian art events. STPI is based (you guessed it) in Singapore, and stands alone in all of Asia as the only fully-equipped, artist’s printmaking and papermaking workshop. It was established in 2002 under the guidance of the American master printer Kenneth Tyler with support from the Singaporean government, and is a non-profit organization specializing in the publishing and dealing of fine art prints and remains dedicated to collaborating with extraordinary international artists. STPI boasts the foremost print and paper making facilities in the world for all the major printing techniques- lithography, intaglio, relief, and silkscreen printing, and continually attracts some of the most respected working artists to its studio.

Visiting Artists Program

One of the more interesting aspects of this organization is its Visiting Artists Programme, which offers residencies to 6 exceptional international artists each year, lasting 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, artists live on the premises in fully furnished apartments and can freely experiment with different print and papermaking techniques while enjoying unbridled creative freedom. This dynamic environment has produced a wide range of works, including ‘paper pulp’ paintings, paper assemblage, and mixed media pieces. At the end of the residency, each visiting artist’s new works are curated and shown in a solo exhibition at the STPI gallery.

Participating Visiting Artists

STPI strives for diversity in its range of visiting artists, and has hosted artists from the United States, China, France, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. Renowned artists, including Donald Sultan, Ashley Bickerton, Zhu Wei, Atul Dodiya, Lin Tian Miao, and Chun Kwang Young have particpated in this Visiting Artists Programme.

Artists who have or are currently participating in the residency program in 2009 include:

Agus Suwage (Indonesia)   Tabiamo (Japan)   Chang Fee Ming (Malaysia)   Thukral & Tagra (India)
Trenton Doyle Hancock (USA)   Guan Wei (China/Australia)

State-of-the-art Facilities

The STPI 4,000m2 facility is also extraordinary, featuring a modern printmaking workshop, a paper mill, an art gallery, an artist’s studio, and 2 fully furnished artists’ apartments. Many of the printing presses are customized to print on large format papers, and were designed and customized personally by Ken Tyler.

Collaboration with New York’s Asia Society

STPI participates in special projects each year in addition to its main programming. The most notable of these ‘special projects’ was a rare collaboration of New York’s Asia Society and STPI in 2006 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Asia Society. The effort produced  ‘Asian Contemporary Art in Print’, a limited edition portfolio of nine prints by respected Asian artists working in Asia, the United States, and Europe. This portfolio of works, curated by the Asia Society’s Museum Director and Curator Melissa Chui, was the first of its kind published by the Asia Society.

Artists featured in ‘Asian Contemporary Art in Print’ include:

Nilima Sheikh (India), Lin Tian Miao (China),  Amanda Heng ( Singapore), Wong Hoy Cheong (Malaysia), Navin Rawanchaikul (Thailand), Wilson Shieh (Hong Kong), Michael Lin (Taiwan),  Jiha Moon (Korea), Yuken Teruya (Japan), and Xu Bing (China).

Regarding the selection of artists, Melissa Chui comments:

“I wanted a selection of leading artists from across Asia as a representation of what’s happening today in contemporary Asian art.”

Other Services: Education, Art Collection Management, Studio Rental, Contract Publishing

In addition to hosting international leading artists and publishing their artworks, the institute also enriches the Singaporean community with public art education programmes. Furthermore, the STPI curatorial team offers a collection management service for private art collectors, and will digitally archive a collection, provide reports on the value of the artworks, recommend how to best preserve the art, and source new works for a collection. The print studio and gallery are available for rent on a daily basis. Also, if a gallery or artist needs to publish a series of prints, this can be achieved by collaborating with STPI’s professional printmakers.

Art Radar is pleased to see an innovative organization fostering creative dialogue with the international community, and suggests readers keep their eyes open, because you will likely see the Singapore Tyler Print Institute at Asian art fairs!

EW/KCE

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Posted in Art spaces, Connecting Asia to itself, Melissa Chiu, Nonprofit, Profiles, Singapore, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »