Jitish Kallat @ Thinking Big

Shradha Ramesh of Saffronart follows the auction of Public Notice 2 at Thinking Big in London

New York:  Through Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice series emerges a new visual vocabulary that reiterates powerful speeches given by our Nation’s leaders- Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Swami Vivekananda. Preceding his seminal work Public Notice 3, his Public Notice 2 (2007) is a commentary on the devolution of Mahatma Gandhi’s secular vision of non-violence in the face of civil disobedience, which contradicts our eight day propaganda that takes place in our country today.  He confronts the audience by creating a didactic visual awareness of the speech delivered by Mahatma Gandhi on the eve of the famous Dandi March, 11th March 1930.

In a three dimensional textual format he creates a contextual paradigm that emphasises on the forgotten speeches and the lack of communal co-existence. The factual presence of forty five thousand bone-shaped fibre glass alphabets culminating to a large-scale exhibit echoes the struggle of Colonial India. Each letter creates a textual relic, canonizing Gandhiji’s speech on a large saffron wall that resembles a large book, leaves a lasting impression on the viewer’s mind. The monumental installation was exhibited at the Hall of Nations in Washington (2011) enhancing India’s historic prowess.

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2, 2007

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2, 2007. Image Credit: http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/jitish_kallat_public7.htm

Serving a higher cause than what it already does, the installation was auctioned in London on October 17 for educational development. Thinking Big was collaborative effort by Saatchi Gallery and Christie’s auction house to raise funds for facilitating free art education programmes for schools, and to support the Saatchi Gallery’s continuing policy for free entry to all exhibitions. Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 2 is among 50 other artworks that were selected across five different continents, celebrating the twenty-first century sculptures.

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Jitish Kallat’s Solo Show at Galerie Daniel Templon

Elizabeth Prendiville of Saffronart announces Jitish Kallat’s first French solo show at Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris

Breath by Jitish Kallat now on view at Galerie Daniel Templon

Breath by Jitish Kallat now on view at Galerie Daniel Templon

New York: From September 7 through November 2 Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris will hold a solo exhibition for Indian Artst Jitish Kallat. Prior to this exhibition Kallat has been shown in esteemed institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and London’s Tate Modern. Although he has a wide breath of past work and a strong history of exhibitions in the finest institutions, this will be his first French solo show.

The Antonym Allegory by Jitish Kallat now at Galerie Daniel Templon

The Antonym Allegory by Jitish Kallat now at Galerie Daniel Templon

“The Hour Of The Day Of The Month Of The Season” will celebrate Kallat’s ability to utilize a wide variety of mediums in a meaningful and adaptive way, in a single exhibition. His working mediums range vastly from oil paint to text to photography. His work focuses on acts of his daily life, even the most mundane, and refocuses them in a creative and intriguing display. This can be seen in his work “Breath” when he takes seven portions of roti, customary Indian bread, and evolves them into the physical representations of the cycling moon. He validates the typical and everyday item and gives it a much greater meaning and importance within his work. In his creative eye, dining plates become part of the solar system while security checkpoints become intricate choreography. The expected and accepted is reformatted into the thought provoking and less familiar. With his ability to take the everyday aspects of life and repurpose them into evocative, witty metaphors Kallat engages audiences immediately with his work. By combining the familiar with the more theoretical and artistic, he prompts a dialogue for viewers to take part in while viewing his pieces. It is no surprise that he will be filling the two Galerie Templon spaces with his recent work.

This accessible, yet sophisticated dialogue is part of what makes Kallat so successful and marketable as a Contemporary Indian artist. Born in Mumbai, Kallat is seen as an important individual in a wave of Contemporary Indian artists who have made a noticeable impact on the global art market. While in Paris this fall, be sure to visit Jitish Kallat’s solo show at the Galerie Daniel Templon. His work promises to be memorable and impactful for years to come.

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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.

JITISH KALLAT | Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne

Medha Kapur shares a note on Jitish Kallat’s first solo exhibition in an Australian museum.

Melbourne, October 2012 to April 2013: Renowned contemporary artist Jitish Kallat reconfigures his remarkable installation, Circa, first produced for the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, MumbaiCirca was created as a response to the museum’s history and archives – a playful exhibit that appropriated the buildings architecture and intervened in the display cases.

Circa is Kallat’s first solo exhibition in an Australian museum, the Ian Potter Museum of Art. This exhibition is conceived as an evolving narrative; an experiment of multiple interventions across several spaces within the institution. Here the artist reshapes the work against the structure of the museum and the antiquities in its collection.

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Over the course of the six month exhibition, which is on view from October 2012 to April 2013, some works will appear for a few days, while others will remain on display until the end of the exhibition. Still others await conception when the departure of interventions makes space for them as part of an evolving entry and exit of ideas.

Kallat has skillfully constructed a sculptural conversation within the museum in order to explore notions of duration and restoration, and evoke unexplained narratives. Kallat’s interventions include a 120-part sculpture titled Circa, which evokes bamboo scaffolding; two interventions using mirrors, titled Footnote (mirror 1) and Footnote (mirror 2); drawings on the glass of museum vitrines; a video projection on the building’s facade; and sound and inscriptions of found text on the walls of the gallery. Kallat’s interventions in the Classics and Archaeology Gallery are installed in relation to a display of ancient Indian carved stone sculptures and colonial-era maps from the University of Melbourne as well as private collections.

Jitish Kallat, ‘Footnote’, 2012

Jitish Kallat, ‘Footnote’, 2012 © Courtesy Jitish Kallat Studio Photo: Viki Petherbridge, courtesy the Ian Potter Museum of Art Exhibition

Jitish Kallat: Circa

Jitish Kallat, ‘Circa’, © Courtesy Jitish Kallat Studio, Photo: Viki Petherbridge, courtesy the Ian Potter Museum of Art

Jitish Kallat, 'Prosody of a pulse rate', 2012

Jitish Kallat, ‘Prosody of a pulse rate’, 2012 unfired stoneware, wheat grain © Courtesy Jitish Kallat Studio Photo: Viki Petherbridge, courtesy the Ian Potter Museum of Art Exhibition

On 11 September 2010, Kallat presented a landmark solo exhibition, Public Notice 3, at the Art Institute of Chicago. His site-specific work brought together two events: the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the First World Parliament of Religions which took place on 11 September 1893 in what is now the Art Institute of Chicago building. The basis of Public notice 3 was an inaugural speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament calling for an end to fanaticism and a respectful recognition of all traditions of belief through universal tolerance. In 2011, Kallat presented Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday, an important project that explored the history and architecture of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, one of the oldest museums in India.

Jitish Kallat. Circa from Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday. 120-part sculpture. Partial installation view at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. 2011. Image Courtesy: http://www.asialink.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/663382/Lemuria2.pdf

Jitish Kallat. Circa from Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday. 120-part sculpture. Partial installation view at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. 2011.
Image Courtesy: http://www.asialink.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/663382/Lemuria2.pdf


Kallat for Kochi

Aaina Bhargava of Saffronart on Jitish Kallat’s appointment as the curator for the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennial in 2014.


London: Jitish Kallat, by any standard, is one of the internationally most well established Indian contemporary artists.  Which is perhaps why his appointment as the next curator of the Kochi-Muziris Biennial (KMB) comes as no surprise. Declared by Hon. Mayor of Cochin, Mr. Tony Chammany, as the official curator of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, he was selected by an elite and diverse panel of Indian art professionals put together by the Kochi Biennial Foundation.  Consisting of art historian Geeta Kapur, director of Dr. Bhau Daji Laad Museum, Tasneem Mehta, director of Outset India and the Gujral Foundation, Feroz Gujral, director of Gallery Maskara, Abhay Maskara, artists Sheela Gowda and Balan Nambiar, and the President and General Secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, they provided the following official statement in support of their choice:

“To continue the unique character of this artist led Biennale we are selecting Jitish Kallat as the new curator for the 2014 edition. Jitish brings immense international experience to the next Biennale. He possesses sound theoretical knowledge about contemporary art along with a diverse yet meticulous approach to his own practice. We are confident that Jitish will curate an innovative and experiential second edition.”

Because the legitimacy of biennials is essentially evaluated based on their constant recurrence,  the successful execution of the second edition biennial becomes imperative to its future continuation and representation of contemporary art in India.  The first edition of the KMB, already having been declared ‘the second largest running biennial in the world after Venice, with almost 400,000 visitors’, has provided the KB Foundation and government of Kerala with motive to not only maintain but progress the standard established in 2012.  Appointing Kallat as curator is clearly an attempt to cement the KMB’s reputation as a legitimate institution.  He has participated in countless biennials, his works have been exhibited at major museums around the world, so given his international exposure, critical acclaim, and commercial success as an artist his representation and endorsement of the biennial certainly adds great value to the entire event.  Even if he does lack curatorial experience, he has extensive experience with biennials, and an understanding of how they function.  Additionally, he also happens have Keralite roots, hailing from Thrissur, although he was born and bought up in Mumbai.

Jitish Kallat for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

Jitish Kallat for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014. Image Credit: http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/announcing-web-poster-04.jpg

From a political perspective, the commitment to promoting Kerala as a cultural center remains a priority, however, for the coming editions, there is a greater responsibility of establishing India as a destination for contemporary art, outside of a commercial context.  Intentions to push this standard and expand the the impact of the biennial have been voiced by the officials and organizers of the biennial:

“The first edition of the Biennale accentuated the tourism and cultural sectors of Kerala,  the biennale requires a permanent venue as it promises to return every two years, and we are searching for such a place to make this possible.” – Mayor of Cochin, Mr. Tony Chammany

“This return is required for the Biennale to develop its unique grammar and vocabulary. ” He also said that the media played a vital role in initiating a dialogue and bringing biennale to people’s home’s.” – Jitish Kallat.

As the contemporary art scene is constantly growing and evolving, the appointment of Jitish Kallat as curator is highly reflective of it’s current situations.  Kallat’s career is representative of a culmination of the academic acclaim and popular or commercial success, much like Subodh Gupta or Atul Dodiya – and since the biennial is an institution that is essentially non commercial, but is trying to navigate itself in a very commercially driven art society, Kallat could be the negotiating factor between both worlds.  He has also managed to achieve his success at a relatively young age (he is just 39) and since the KMB seeks to affect mainly the youth, perhaps a fresher perspective is the next step to progressing the already impactful biennial.  Furthermore, contemporary art is still relatively an unknown field to the general public and one of the goals of the biennial is to expand the reach of contemporary art, it is perhaps more effective to approach it with a more popular manner, rather than an extremely academic one.  Again, the mesh between the academic and the commercial becomes critical.  The notion of recurrence and repetition is essential to the longevity of biennials, and in order to keep occurring, the nature of the biennial must adapt to its current situations, and by attracting as many visitors as possible.

“That’s what art is all about. Sometimes it’s just a shift of vision…Let us hope it will be different but the genetic link will remain and it will be the continuation of the same language…I want to bring a new set of tools to work with the same set of ideas.”- Jitish Kallat

Preparations are clearly underway to ensure the next KMB as impacting as the inaugral edition, until then we just have to wait and see what Kallat’s unique vision will hold.


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