Public Art installation by Reena Kallat at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai

Hena Kapadia takes a look at Reena Kallat’s latest public installation at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai

Bhau Daji Lad Museum, interior, Mumbai

Bhau Daji Lad Museum, interior, Mumbai

Mumbai: Created by the artist, Reena Kallat and curated by the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in collaboration with ZegnArt/Public, this impressive ‘Untitled’ installation captures the viewers’ attention at once. Several rows of over sized rubber stamps form a cobweb covering the entire facade of the colonial era museum. Instantly invoking ideas of bureaucracy and the passage of time, each stamp on the web bears on it the name of a street which has been changed in the city of Mumbai as part of the renaming and decolonizing of the city. Like the museum itself, originally named the Victoria and Albert Museum, the city of Mumbai as well as the country as a whole has undergone a reclaiming of public spaces through the renaming of institutions, roads and even entire cities.

Reena Kallat's installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Reena Kallat’s installation,“Untitled (Cobwebs/Crossings)” at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Kallat is able to visually recreate the cobwebs of the past that continue to crowd our spaces, and will eventually be forgotten with the passage of time. Kallat’s project was chosen from a group of seven artist’s proposals including projects from Gigi Scaria, Hema Upadhyay and Sakshi Gupta by the curators of the museum and ZegnArt Public. A separate gallery space gives visitors an opportunity to see the proposals for projects that might have been.

Reena Kallat's installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (detail)

Reena Kallat’s installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (detail)

A gargantuan effort, this project ties into the Museum’s focus on the contemporary. Under director Tasneem Mehta, the museum has been host to a series of curated exhibitions in which contemporary artists are invited to respond to the Museum’s collections. Among several artists who have exhibited here are this year’s Skoda Prize winner, LN Tallur, Ranjani Shettar and Sudarshan Shetty.

Reena Kallat's installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (detail)

Reena Kallat’s installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (detail)

Read more about ZegnArt Public.

Hena Kapadia is a Mumbai based art professional, who has a Master’s Degree in Modern and Contemporary Art World Practice.

Visiting the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012

Yamini Telkar of Saffronart shares her experience of attending India’s first biennale in Kochi

Entrance to the Kochi Muziris Biennale12/12/12

Entrance to the Kochi Muziris Biennale
12/12/12

New Delhi: My trip from Delhi to Kochi for the opening ceremony of the Biennale was besieged with delays and it took me the entire day to get there. I thought I would have missed the opening ceremony, which was scheduled to start at 4.30 pm, but of course it was a gross miscalculation on my part, as the spectacle had just started at 7.00 pm, so I managed to catch most of it. However unlike any Art Fair events, where one exclusively encounters the art community, this was an open-for-all event so it was difficult to find artists, gallerists,  especially if one walked in late, like me! But I managed to meet most of the art world in the beautiful heritage restaurants and walking around the picturesque Fort Kochi.

Aspin Wall Hall

Aspinwall Hall

The next day, recharged, I set about visiting the venues. What really helped me plan it was advise from friends who had fumbled along, so with timely interventions I really managed to view all the works spread across 5 venues: Aspinwall Hall, a 19th century sprawling spice warehouse which housed most of the installations; Pepper Hall; Mandalay House in Jew Town; and 2 other venues, which were not named.

Installation by Sudarshan Shetty

Installation by Sudarshan Shetty

Installation by Subodh Gupta

Installation by Subodh Gupta

And as already reported by the media I was unable to see quite a few works which were still in the process of being installed.

Installation by L. N. Tallur

Installation by L. N. Tallur

Installation by Anant Joshi

Installation by Anant Joshi

If there was one word that would describe the art on display it would be scale – it was almost as if each artist wanted to outdo the others through scale. One could say the space demanded such large scale works, and it worked for some installations like L.N. Tallur’s mega roof, or Vivan Sundaram’s work using the terracotta remains from the archaeological site of Muziris. But the most poignant was Valsan Kolleri’s work where he used a tiny back room and used the material from the building.

Read more about the biennale here.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale begins today!

Manjari Sihare shares details of the much awaited Kochi- Muziris Biennale

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 An interactive map of India's First Biennale celebrating contemporary artists from around the world.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 An interactive map of India’s First Biennale celebrating contemporary artists from around the world.

New York: The date 12.12.12 is going to go down in India’s books for more than one reason.  The country’s largest contemporary art event, and its first biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is being inaugurated today across different venues in the Fort Kochi area of Cochin in Kerala, South India. While India has a strong history of hosting triennales, the very first of which was organized in 1968 by the legendary Mulk Raj Anand, the Kochi- Muziris Biennale will be the first biennale in the country.

Typical of the phenomenon of an international art biennale, this one is also centered on the city, in this case, invoking the underlying multi-ethnic spirit of the modern metropolis of Kochi and its mythical past, Muziris, the recently excavated ancient city that was buried under layers of mud and mythology after a massive flood in the 14th century. The biennale is the brain child of eminent contemporary Indian artists, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. The first edition will feature approximately 90 Indian and international artists, introducing contemporary international visual art practice to India in manner not done before. Special highlights include newly commissioned works by artists such as Ariel Hassan (Argentina), Amanullah Mojadidi (Afghanistan), Anita Dube (India), Sudarshan Shetty (India), Subodh Gupta (India), Hossein Valamanesh (Iran/Australia), Tallur LN (India), Vivan Sundaram (India), Sheela Gowda (India), Joseph Semah (Netherlands), Nalini Malani (India), Atul Dodiya (India), UBIK (Dubai), Rigo 23 (Portugal), Jonas Staal (Netherlands), Dylan Martorell (Scotland/Australia), Ernesto Neto (Brazil). British singing sensation of Tamil descent, Mathangi Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) has been roped in to perform at the inauguration. Known for her avant-garde music, M.I.A. has previously shared stage space with the likes of Madonna and Rihanna, as well as  been a part of the A.R. Rahman’s team for the music of Slumdog Millionaire.

The event is a multi-faceted one including a two-day symposium, ‘Site Imaginaries’, on 15 & 16 December, 2012.  From the situated ground point of Kochi, the symposium aims to explore and retrieve memories in the current global context to posit alternatives to political and cultural discourses, and build a platform for dialogue for a new aesthetics and politics rooted in the Indian experience. The panelists include Aman Mojadidi, Amar Kanwar, Ariel Hassan, Ashok Sukumaran , Atul Dodiya, Clifford Charles, Shahidul Alam, Gayatri Sinha, Geeta Kapur, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Jonas Staal, Joseph Semah, Marieke van Hal, Nalini Malani, Nancy Adajania, Paul Domela, Pooja Sood, Ranjit Hoskote, Riyas Komu, Robert Montgomery, Sarat Maharaj, Tasneem Mehta, Vivan Sundaram, Vivek Vilasini.

The biennale will be held across different venues including the Aspinwall House loaned to Kochi-Muziris Biennale by DLF Limited in association with the Gujral Foundation, a restored Dutch bungalow called David Hall, spice warehouses and heritage structures being opened to the public for the first time ever. Characteristic of leading biennales across the world, this one too is expected to give a boost to the State’s economy.

Read more.

FIAC, Paris – An Art Fair Showcasing the Regulars

Guest blogger Kanika Anand shares her impressions of FIAC and its representation of Indian artists 

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Paris: Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, popularly know by the acronym FIAC, is France’s primary fair of contemporary art, hosted at the Grand Palais in Paris in October every year.

Enthused by my first visit to the fair and the general buzz of art events around it in Paris, I made my way one rainy evening to discover for myself the depth of the hullabaloo. The fair offered the usual suspects of the contemporary art world, both in terms of galleries as well as artists, such as White Cube, David Zwirner, Lisson, Victoria Miro, Galerie Perrotin along with their blue chip artists Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor & Yayoi Kusama. Takashi Murakami bedazzled and Paul McCarthy mocked… and shocked! Incidentally, this edition of FIAC marked Gagosian Gallery’s debut at the fair. These art market biggies dominated, if not wholly comprised the selection at FIAC.

Indian representation was limited to artists who already have a market in Paris and could be better defined as international artists of Indian origin. Widely exhibited in Europe, Mithu Sen’s solo show ‘Devoid’ opens today at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris. This will be the artist’s first solo in France, although her work has been exhibited at FIAC before. Hanging in the gallery’s booth at FIAC was Mithu’s You taste like Pao Bhaji alongside a sculptural work by the gallery’s long time represented artist, Rina Banerjee. Banerjee already has a marked presence in Paris; noteworthy of mention was her solo exhibition, Chimeras of India and the West at the prestigious Guimet Musee in 2011.

A series of 10 ‘Untitled’ drawings by N.S.Harsha hung on the outside wall of Greene Naftali Gallery (New York). Zarina Hashmi’s beautiful gold flaked ‘Tasbih’ hung in the corner of Jeanne-Bucher/Jaeger Bucher’s  (Paris) booth, in the deserving company of Joan Miro and Susumu Shingu. Tasbih is from Zarina’s most recent body of work shown at the gallery in a solo exhibition titled Noor last year.

A painted store shutter titled Mumtaz by Atul Dodiya and a painting by Jitish Kallat adorned two main walls of the large booth of Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris). The last day of FIAC coincided with the conclusion of Atul Dodiya’s first solo exhibition in Paris – Scribes from Timbuktu at their gallery space. The gallery has in the past supported Indian and other Asian artists, showcasing works by Sudarshan Shetty, Anju Dodiya, Hiroshi Sugimoto & Yue Minjun.

Two round shiny Anish Kapoor steel works in gold and purple, one each at the booths of Lisson (London/ Milan/ New York) and Gladstone Gallery (New York/ Brussels) shimmered akin to the gloss of the fair itself. But for me, the fair lacked spunk – no experimental works, no new names, no interesting project booths and notably no Indian galleries! It was all that I ‘expected’, but then again I’m no collector.

FIAC, Paris runs several parallel events and programs around the fair. More information is available at http://www.fiac.com/.

Kanika Anand is an art professional and budding curator specializing in Indian contemporary art. She holds a degree in Art History from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, and has worked in the field for five years with Gagosian Gallery, Gallery Espace and Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi. She is currently pursuing the Curatorial Training Program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France, in line with her interest to responsibly curate projects towards making art more accessible as well as inter-disciplinary.

“Indian Highway”- The biggest display of Indian art in Beijing

Medha Kapur of Saffronart on the Chinese leg of Indian Highway, a pioneering  and comprehensive travelling exhibition of Indian contemporary art.

Indian Highway at the UCCABeijing: A lot has been written about both Chinese and Indian contemporary art over the last few year. However there has been a lack of artistic exchanges between the two BRIC nations, and hence little awareness about each other’s thriving art scenes. To bridge this gap, ‘Indian Highway’, a travelling exhibition of contemporary Indian art was brought to China after a long sojourn through Europe. Showcasing over 200 works by 30 artists, whose creative practices span a wide range of media including sculpture, video, installation art, painting and performance, this show will be held at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) between June 24 and August 19, 2012.  The exhibition is centered on present-day India, and the body of work it displays examines social and political issues key to the contemporary Indian condition including environmentalism, religious sectarianism, gender, sexuality, and class.

Exhibition View of INDIAN-HIGHWAY

‘No Title’ by Sudarshan Shetty

Two of the artists featured in the exhibition, Sudarshan Shetty and Dayanita Singh, traveled to Beijing for the opening of the exhibition, and Singh will work with one of the curators to present a performance piece there as well. Other well known artists represented in this edition of Indian Highway at the UCCA include Sarnath Banerjee, Subodh Gupta, M.F. Husain, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher and Jagannath Panda.

Subodh Gupta

“Take Off Your Shoes and Wash Your Hands” by Subodh Gupta

Jitish Kallat

Jitish Kallat
Bone Art Truck by Jitish Kallat

Click here for more information.

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