Jitish Kallat: Overturning Expectations Through Artistic Dynamism

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart shares a note on Jitish Kallat’s recent work

New York: If there were one versatile and imaginative contemporary Indian artist, who, through his art evoked spiraling chains of thought and overturned expectations, it would be Jitish Kallat. Topping Artprice.com’s list of prominent contemporary Indian artists, he is definitely one of the most dynamic artists you will read about.

His works cover a vast array of genres and themes: from exploring the socio-economic and political circumstances of his city, Mumbai, in a manner that brings out the liveliness and exuberance of the city instead of the sunken reality, to addressing issues of peace and tolerance post the 9/11 terror attacks. Some works will take you back in time, reviving a past with contemporary lessons, whereas others will makes you question our being and the different aspects of life.

Kallat is an artist who has grown tremendously over the last decade, establishing himself not only nationally, but making a substantial impact in the international art market as well, leaving behind a trail of his exciting aesthetic creations. He has had his works exhibited in major museums such as the Tate Modern in London and the ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe in addition to having his works held in collections like those of the Saatchi Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

His Public Notice series of works (2003-2010) takes three important moments in Indian history, with an international holding and impact, and reinforces their existence and significance in today’s times. These are large scale installations, comprising the text of speeches delivered by three prominent personalities in Indian history: India’s first prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, delivering his freedom speech on 15 August 1947, Mahatma Gandhi’s speech in 1930 on the eve of his historic Dandi March during India’s struggle for independence from the British empire, and lastly Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, 1893.

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice,  Art Institute of Chicago

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice, Art Institute of Chicago. Image Credit: http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource/1150?search_id=1

Of the three, the most well known is Public Notice 3, shown at the Art Institute of Chicago. This installation converted the speech’s text into LED displays on each of the 118 risers of the main stairway at the Art Institute. This installation aims to connect two great historical periods – the first World Parliament of Religions, which took place on September 11, 1893, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Centre, both happening on the same date, 108 years apart. Vivekananda’s landmark speech at the Parliament addressed issues of fanaticism and encouraged universal tolerance and respectful recognition of different faiths and traditions, concepts as relevant 108 years later.

This installation, of course, represented the interesting chasm between the underlying message of tolerance in the speech and the conflicting events of the September 11 terror attacks. Through this installation, Kallat not only addresses the intriguing juxtaposition between the two significant events in history, but also sheds light on the immense contemporary significance of a historical event that was forgotten with the passage of time.

Jitish Kallat at Art Basel Hong Kong

Jitish Kallat at Art Basel Hong Kong. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/07/10/jitish-kallats-corridors-of-suspicion/

The artist’s recent projects have been equally enticing and rich in concept and technique. He is working towards installing a massive sculpture, 60 feet long and 26 feet high in lower Austria. The sculpture as he calls it is “ an endless loop in the open landscape”. It involves the recreation of the typical blue highway signage and its conversion into a huge ribbon in the air. The ribbon displays information about travel distances from Austria to different parts of India and the Far East.

Kallat also has an upcoming solo exhibition this September at Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, which explores the concepts of “time, sustenance, laughter, suspicion and sleep.” The show will involve a good mix of works. He notes, “One video piece called “Breath” shows seven rotis. There are seven lunar cycles where each roti slowly grows from dust, starts becoming a crescent moon, then a full moon, and then returns to dust. There is another sculpture of a Lilliputian world of small figures paired. Each figure is seen frisking the other one. All of these pairs come from found photographs of security checks at airports, rock concerts and entrances to nightclubs. It’s like a small corridor of suspicion. There is also series of paintings that come from laughter clubs”.

Kallat makes art with a powerful purpose. Whether it might be reviving elements of a lost history, emphasizing the richness of Indian cultures and traditions, or making visible the beauty underlying the simple aspects of everyday life.

He says about the origins of his artistic creations: “All of these works have been questions I ask myself. How do I manifest my experience of the world I inhabit in forms that I find? Everyone carries a world inside themselves; it’s when their world interacts with mine that the work of art actually happens. Until then I just make a dormant piece of something that’s made of atoms and molecules”

 For more information on Public Notice 3 you can click here.

Jitish Kallat studied painting at the J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. He lives and works in Mumbai, India.

Experimenter Curator’s Hub 2013

Elizabeth Prendiville of SaffronArt shares a note about the exchange of ideas at the third Experimenter Curator’s Hub

Experimenter's Curator's Hub Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

Experimenter’s Curator’s Hub
Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

New York: This past weekend (July 26th and 27th) Experimenter Gallery in Kolkata hosted its two day curatorial conference. The third annual Experimenter Curator’s Hub hosted ten international curators who presented on a variety of topics including how the global economy, politics and globalization create challenges for curators in the international art market. Featured curators ranged in background and came from different international institutions. Among the curators were Girish Shahane, Director of Art at the Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art and Pooja Sood, Director of Khoj International Artists Association.

Experimenter's Curator's Hub Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

Experimenter’s Curator’s Hub
Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

By reviewing their recent work, curators will present their views on the current curatorial environment and how these outside factors influence the role of a curator in our contemporary art world. Experimenter Gallery believes that this conference could not have come at a better time and that we are at a major crossroads in the curatorial world. The creation of the Curator’s Hub in 2011 was motivated by Experimenter Gallery’s desire to create positive change in the tumultuous curatorial art scene in India.

Experimenter's Curator's Hub Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

Experimenter’s Curator’s Hub
Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

Prior to the event, participant Allessandro Vincentelli, Curator of Exhibtions and Research at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead commented that curatorially, art was moving away from the western viewpoint. Indeed, this conference can be seen as a major vehicle for change in the future of how art is presented in our internationally-fused art world. Vincentelli stated “I also can see plenty of new dynamics that are entirely within South Asia, East Asia and Middle East for residencies, exchanges and for models of presentation. Ones that don’t necessarily need dialogue or mediation through Europe and America”.  All of these esteemed curatorial guests are notable due to their use of contemporary ideas and utilizing new technology in their work.

Experimenter's Curator's Hub Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

Experimenter’s Curator’s Hub
Image credit: http://artradarjournal.com

The conference concluded in a collaborative roundtable discussion with other art professionals such as artists, art writers, theorists and other curators. At this revolutionary time for art in a global economy it is essential that platforms like Curator’s Hub thrive. Overall the Experimenter Curator’s Hub was successful in its mission: to implement changes and workshop resolutions to barriers in the international curatorial scene.

The East India Company Collaborates with The National Gallery on Exclusive New Masterpieces Blends

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a note on the latest collaboration between The East India Company and the National Gallery

The East India Company, London

The East India Company, London

London: The East India Company, the world’s finest gourmet foods and beverages’ company, has collaborated with The National Gallery to launch an evocative ‘Delicious Art’ collection of six bespoke teas – each created with a different masterpiece from the gallery in mind as its inspiration. Among the inspirational artworks are Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, Monet’s “The Water-Lily Pond” and Avercamp’s “A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle”.

"Delicious Art", The East India Company, London

“Delicious Art”, The East India Company, London

Launching on 5 August, along with a selection of the East India Company’s mini jams, mini mustards and an afternoon tea set, these original artistic blends will be available within National Gallery shops, and the flagship East India Company store located on Conduit Street.

The East India Company, London

The East India Company, London

Lalith Lenadora, the East India Company’s tea master, spent many hours working with The National Gallery Company, and studying the paintings, in order to bring its essence to life in a blend of his finest teas, flowers and aromatics.

Along with the collaboration with the National Gallery, the East India Company is currently exhibiting works by Japanese artists to celebrate the four hundreth anniversary of Japan-British relation.

"Muses", Riusuke Fukahori

“Muses”, Riusuke Fukahori

If you are in London, I’d highly recommend immersing yourself in this enchanting culinary journey where you can appreciate art in a different way.

For more information you can visit the East India Company website.

Perspectives by Rina Banerjee

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a note on Rina Banerjee’s installation at the Smithsonian ‘s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington

Rina Banerjee Working on the Installation,A world Lost: after the  original island, single land mass fractured, after populations migrated,  after pollution revealed itself and as cultural locations once separated  merged, after the splitting of Adam and Eve, Shiva and Shakti, of race  black and white, of culture East and West, after animals diminished,  after the seas’ corals did exterminate, after this and at last imagine all  water evaporated…this after Columbus found it we lost it imagine this Rina Banerjee (b. 1963)  2013 Photo by Hutomo Wicaksono

Rina Banerjee Working on the Installation,A world Lost: after the original island, single land mass fractured, after populations migrated, after pollution revealed itself and as cultural locations once separated merged, after the splitting of Adam and Eve, Shiva and Shakti, of race black and white, of culture East and West, after animals diminished, after the seas’ corals did exterminate, after this and at last imagine all water evaporated…this after Columbus found it we lost it imagine this Rina Banerjee (b. 1963) 2013 Photo by Hutomo Wicaksono

A World Lost: after the original island, single land massfractured, after populations migrated, after pollution revealed itself and as cultural locations once separated merged, after the splitting of Adam and Eve, Shiva and Shakti, of race black and white, of culture East and West, after animals diminished, after the seas’ corals did exterminate, after this and at last imagine all water evaporated…this after Columbus found it we lost it imagine this.

London: The above sentence is the title of Rina Banerjee’s installation which is currently exhibited at the Smithsonian ‘s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington as part of the contemporary art series’ “Perspectives”.

Banerjee’s work discusses themes of migration and transformation of the people and of the world we live in drawing on her personal experience as an immigrant.

The installation is made of different kinds of materials which represent different cultures. Plastic objects, souvenirs, and organic items are merged together creating an intricate textile which reminds us of appealing yet threatening fairytale worlds.

Below you can enjoy few images of the installation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The installation will be on until June 2014. For more information click here.

Indian Princely Silver: A Pair of Murshidabad Plates at Saffronart

Elisabetta Marabotto shares a note on a pair of Murshidabad plates that is part of Saffronart’s upcoming Travel & Leisure Auction

Indian Princely Silver: A Pair of Murshidabad Plates, Hamilton & Co., Lot 89

Indian Princely Silver: A Pair of Murshidabad Plates, Hamilton & Co., Lot 89. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/customauctions/PreWork.aspx?l=8640

London: Lying north of Kolkata on the banks of the Bhagirathi river, Murshidabad, or ‘select city’, was the last capital of Bengal under the Mughals, and was one of their most wealthy and fertile provinces. The city remained the seat of the ‘Nawab of Bengal’ under East India Company rule, even after the capital was moved to Calcutta in 1790. Until the abolition of the title in 1880, Nawabs of Bengal from the Nasiri, Afshar and Najafi Islamic dynasties ruled from Murshidabad. Following this, their descendants were known as the Nawab Bahadurs of Murshidabad.

This pair of silver plates, bearing the coat of arms of the Nawab of Murshidabad, are probably a part of the dinner service of Nawab Amir-ul-Omra, Wasef Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur (1875-1959), dating to the early twentieth century.

Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur of Murshidabad

Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur of Murshidabad. Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_Wasif_Ali_Mirza.jpg

One of the rooms at Wasef Manzil or the New Palace, built by Wasef Ali Mirza in Murshidabad

One of the rooms at Wasef Manzil or the New Palace, built by Wasef Ali Mirza in Murshidabad, with his portrait in the background. Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Drawing_Room_of_Wasif_Manzil.jpg

The elaborate Murshidabad coat of arms inscribed on the plates includes a shield bearing a column and crossed canons, flanked by a lion and a unicorn. Above the shield, a fish represents the Persian order of emperors, Mahi-Maratib, and is surmounted by a crown and crossed bifurcated swords. Scrolling across the bottom, the banner reads “Nil Desperandum” or “never despair”.

Indian Princely Silver:  A Pair of Murshidabad Plates, Hamilton & Co., Lot 89 (detail)

Indian Princely Silver: A Pair of Murshidabad Plates, Hamilton & Co., Lot 89 (detail). Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/customauctions/PreWork.aspx?l=8640

The plates are also inscribed ‘Hamilton & Co.’ on the reverse. Hamilton & Co. was one of the best known British silver firms, established by Robert Hamilton in Calcutta in 1808 under license from the East India Company. Known as the ‘Garrard of India’, the firm mainly produced tableware including complete tea and dinner services in a typical pre-Raj, British-Indian style. This pair of plates is crafted of smoothly polished silver, which almost entirely substitutes decoration, and creates a simple yet fine design that highlights the gadrooned rim.

Don’t miss the opportunity to own this piece of history! The Travel & Leisure Auction will take place on the Saffronart website on 29-30 July, 2013.

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