‘Let The World In’ A New Two-Part on Indian Contemporary Art

Emily Jane Cushing recommends a two-part film on contemporary Indian art entitled ‘Let the World in’. 

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit: http://in.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/910426/coming-soon-a-2-volume-film-on-contemporary-indian-art

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit: http://in.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/910426/coming-soon-a-2-volume-film-on-contemporary-indian-art

London: A new two-part film, titled ‘Let the World in’, directed by Avijit Mukul and produced by Art Chennai, intends to document the evolution of contemporary visual art in India spanning three generations of artists and their work dating from the 1980s to the present day.

The premiere of the film was held at the National Film Archive of India in Pune on the 7th of June; and it is now travelling to film festivals in the UK from the 13th-14th and returning to India for its debut in Mumbai and Delhi.

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PreWork.aspx?l=8483

The film intends to document the depth and diversity in contemporary Indian art by outlining “the artists’ concerns reflected in their work, tracing it down to the present day,” according to the press release. The first volume begins discussing the monumental 1981 exhibition “Place For People” in Delhi and Bombay, in which a group of artists conveyed through their work and engagement with locality, class and politics and further touching on how younger artists have been impacted by the inherited legacy of this movement. Central characters in the first volume include artists Arpita Singh, Gulammohammed Sheikh and Vivan Sundaram; inputs are also heard from influential art critic Geeta Kapur and the late Bhupen Khakhar, a co-artist and close friend.

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/auctions/PostWork.aspx?l=8286

The second part of the film focuses on practitioners such as Shilpa Gupta, Atul Dodiya and T.V. Santosh; major political and social changes in India make up the backdrop of the beginning of this volume. Issues such as the liberalization of the Indian economy and the funding of dangerous religious extremist that ensued and also the lack of sophisticated educational practices in Indian artistic establishments are all topics that contribute to the setting of the second volume.

The film also conveys the new Indian artistic generations preoccupation with the past and engagement with history; one of the films main goals is to re-ignite to public consciousness the significant role played by the senior generation of Indian artists who were dedicated to forming their unique artistic styles in previous times.

If you are in Cambridge on 20 June, then you can view the film at 17:30 pm at the Center for South Asian Studies; more information here.

For details of the multi-city screening schedule, visit the film’s Facebook page. The DVD will be released shortly.

Critical Mass: Contemporary Indian Art reaches Israel

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the first major Contemporary Indian Art exhibit in Israel


Herta and Paul Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Tel Aviv: The Museum of Modern Art is hosting what can be considered Israel’s first ever showcase of the contemporary art scene in India. Critical Mass (on view till December 16, 2012) features works by Ravi Agarwal, Atul Bhalla, Sakshi Gupta, Shilpa Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Ranbir Kaleka, Rashmi Kaleka, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher, Riyas Komu, Raqs Media Collective, T. V. Santhosh, Gigi Scaria, Shanthamani Muddaiah, Sudarshan Shetty, L. N. Tallur and Lochan Upadhyay. From painting, photography and sculpture to video installations, visitors will get a chance to see the various mediums Indian artists are experimenting with.


Sweatopia 1 by Jitish Kallat

The show aims at reflecting the chaotic visual landscape of India, the conflict between old traditions and global influences and repetitive stereotypes that continue to exist in social structures. The exhibit is being looked at with a great deal of importance as it has brought together two countries that share similar histories. Art in both countries has often been used as a tool to comment on social issues.


Make up (As You Go Along) by Bharti Kher

The exhibit has been curated by Tami Katz-Freiman and Rotem Ruff. Katz-Freiman is an art historian and critic. She previously held the position of Chief Curator at the Haifa Museum of Art (2005 – 2010). Ruff is currently curator at the Haifa Museum of Art. More details about the exhibit can be found in the press release published by the Embassy of Israel, New Delhi, and on the museum website.

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