Your E-pocket Guide to Exhibitions this July

The Saffronart team has been scuttling around to put together a handy list of exhibitions to check out this month. Some end soon, and with some others you can take your time, though we wouldn’t really recommend waiting too long. So if you’re in Mumbai, Delhi, England or the U.S. of A. this month, you know where to go.


Ghiberti, Lorenzo (1378-1455). Gates of Paradise. 1425-52, lost wax bronze replica from original mould with gilded patina. Guild of the Dome Association/ Museum of the Opera del Duomo, Florence, 2014. Credits: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum website

From the Exhibition The Florentine Renaissance: “The City as a Crucible of Culture”
Ghiberti, Lorenzo (1378-1455). Gates of Paradise. 
Credits: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum website

The Florentine Renaissance: “The City as a Crucible of Culture”
Where: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum City Museum, Byculla
On View Till: July 8, 2014

You don’t need to travel all the way to Florence to get a glimpse of Italian Renaissance…not this week anyway. The Bhau Daji Lad Museum has extended this exhibition which features prolific early renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti’s masterpiece, ‘The Gates of Paradise’: a work also revered by other artists such as Michaelangelo himself. The interior and permanent collection at the museum will be an added bonus to your visit.

Mansoor Ali: “Anatomy of an Unknown Chair”
Where: Gallery Maskara, Colaba
On View Till: July 31, 2014

Ever thought about chairs beyond their functional and aesthetic qualities?  Mansoor Ali’s ongoing show at the Gallery Maskara is sure to provoke you to think about much more through his installations that employ chairs as a primary medium. His five installations address several issues pertaining to politics and power play, reminding us of the effectiveness of found objects in art.

If the idea of visiting this exhibition hasn’t incentivized you enough already to make your way to Colaba, you should know that the nearby Mumbai Art Room, Sakshi Gallery and Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke have ongoing exhibitions too. You could combine visiting the three galleries to make for an enjoyable, art-filled afternoon.

Amshu Chukki, Kaushik Saha, Anil Thambai, Pradeep P.P., Yasmin Jahan Nupur and Sangita Maity: “Art for Young Collectors”
Where: Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Colaba  
On View Till:
July 31, 2014

As per tradition, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke is currently hosting its ongoing exhibition, ‘Art for Young Collectors’. While each artist has a unique approach and style, all the works are connected by a similar theme: “the common trail of seepage–the flowing of one system, one suite of meanings, one realm of belief into another, creating an uneasy ecology and forever changing both in the process.”

Anirban Mitra, Arunkumar H.G., Jagannath Panda, Jitish Kallat, Manjunath Kamat, Ravinder Reddy, Shilpa Gupta, Surendran Nair, Vivek Vilasini: Group Show
Sakshi Art Gallery, Colaba
On View Till: July 31, 2014

Don’t miss Sakshi while on your mini art excursion. This exhibition features a mix of paintings, photographs and sculptures by important contemporary artists whose works you should be acquainted with.

Anna Ostoya, Agnieszka Polska, Karol Radziszewski, Janek Simon, Rafał Wilk: “We Rather Look Back to Futures Past”
Mumbai Art Room, Colaba
On View Till: August 7, 2014

This is a unique exhibition that is presented in collaboration with the Polish Institute. The exhibits include photomontages, films and sculptures by five contemporary artists who share a common Polish background. While the artists explore the common theme of looking back and questioning the past, they each employ a unique individualistic approach. Not only does this exhibition give you the chance to learn more about Polish contemporary art, but it should also compel you to think about your own associations with the past.


Gauri Gill, “Hall of Technology - Diptych 1”, Archival Pigment Print, 9" X 12", 2010 Credits: Vadehra Art Gallery

From the Exhibition “Invisible Cities”
Gauri Gill, “Hall of Technology – Diptych 1”, Archival Pigment Print, 9″ X 12″, 2010
Credits: Vadehra Art Gallery

Group Show: “Invisible Cities”
Where: Vadehra Gallery, D-53 Defense Colony
On View Till:  July 12, 2014

If Italo Calvino popped into your mind on reading this, you’re quite close to guessing the theme of this exhibit. “They are stories of spaces that are invisible or underground, mute spaces hidden under the bustling cover of the city. They are stories of people and their relationships, of which the artist is part of”, reads the Vadehra Art Gallery press release. Featuring well-known artists and photographers such as Atul Bhalla, Gauri Gill, Sunil Gupta, Malini Kochupillai and Asim Waqif, this group show highlights aspects of cities that may otherwise remain unnoticed. Perhaps your otherwise hectic urban life doesn’t give you the opportunity to actively observe the little details that are easily missed. Don’t miss this chance to see the work of these acclaimed artists, under a single roof.

Pradeep Puthoor: “New Paintings”
Nature Morte, Central South Delhi                                                                         When:  July 5 – August 2, 2014

Pradeep Puthoor, an artist from Kerala who has shown his works in a number of galleries across India and abroad, is featuring his new mural-size paintings in this exhibition. These paintings depict the meeting point between computer science and biological engineering, and create a space for viewers to “swim in and get lost, to drown in their luscious complexities.” The unique theme and large paintings are sure to entice a wide audience, making Nature Morte an ideal gallery to visit this July.

Raj Rewal: “Memory, Metaphor and Meaning in his Constructed Landscape”
Where: National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
On View Till: July 20, 2014

Did you think you missed this show? You’d be happy to know that the NGMA has extended this exhibition, giving you the opportunity to visit it this July. This retrospective features five decades of work by renowned architect Raj Rewal. The works on display will make you see architecture as a field of visual art, as structures may otherwise be judged mostly on their functionality. Of course, Rewal’s own achievements, such as his work being featured at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, make visiting this exhibition even more compelling.

“Smart Art Cart”
Where: Gallery Espace, Delhi
On View Till: July 31, 2014

On view and on sale at Gallery Espace are a collection of works by Amit Ambalal, Rajendar Tiku, M.F. Husain, Manjunath Kamath, Owais Husain, Suddhosattwa Basu, Mala Marwah, Mekhala Bahl, Chintan Upadhyay, S.H. Raza, and Jai Zharotia, among others.


From the Grosvenor Gallery Exhibition of Senaka Senanayake’s works Butterflies, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 182.9cm. (48 x 72in.) Source: Grosvenor Gallery Website

From the Grosvenor Gallery Exhibition of Senaka Senanayake’s works
Butterflies, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 182.9cm. (48 x 72in.)
Source: Grosvenor Gallery Website

Senaka Senanayake
Where: Grosvenor Gallery
On View Till: July 11, 2014

If you’re ever at Green Park this week or the next, pop by Grosvenor Gallery to take in a tropical medley of colours, all harmoniously arranged by one of Sri Lanka’s most important artists, Senaka Senanayake. The prodigal artist has been exhibiting internationally since his teenage years. His recent work is inspired by the plight of the Sri Lankan rainforests, many of which have been subject to intense deforestation to make way for tea plantations.

Nasreen Mohamedi
Where: Tate Liverpool
On View Till: October 5, 2014

Nasreen Mohamedi is one of the most significant women artists of Modern Indian art, and a critically acclaimed one at that. Tate Liverpool is hosting Mohamedi’s largest solo exhibition in the UK. The show includes more than 50 of her works spanning paintings, drawings and photographs, especially highlighting the most significant artistic phases in her career, and runs in parallel with “Mondrian and his Studios”, exploring how she moved from the figurative to the abstract like Mondrian. Tickets for the latter include admission into the Nasreen Mohamedi exhibition.

Empire, Faith and War: The Sikhs and World War One
Where: The Brunei Gallery, SOAS
On View Till: September 28, 2014

The UK Punjab Heritage Association has organised an exhibition to remember the invaluable contribution and experiences of Sikh soldiers during the Great War. The exhibition features rare and unique finds such as unpublished photographs and drawings, newspapers and comics, postcards, works of art, uniforms, gallantry medals, and folk songs sung by wives left at home, as well as a unique album of X-Rays of wounded Indian soldiers’ injuries lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.

London Indian Film Festival
Where: BFI Southbank, ICA, BAFTA and Cineworld cinemas across London
On View From: July 10-17, 2014

The London Indian Film Festival is back in town for its 5th edition. Following last year’s success, some of the best Indian independent films will be showing in several venues across London accompanied by talks with cinema personalities such as Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar and a Q&A with film directors.  For the full programme, check the London Indian Film Festival website.


From the Exhibition Gateway to Himalayan Art & The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room Photo by David De Armas Source: Rubin Museum Website

From the Exhibition Gateway to Himalayan Art & The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
Photo by David De Armas
Source: Rubin Museum Website

The Rubin Museum of Art has its eyes on the Indian subcontinent. Head there this month and combine your visits into one eventful day.

From India East: Sculpture of Devotion from the Brooklyn Museum
Where:  Rubin Museum of Art, New York
On View Till: July 28, 2014

Given the temporary closure of the Asian art galleries at the Brooklyn Museum, this exhibition allows visitor to partake from this significant museum collection. Curated by the Rubin Museum, the objects trace the development of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures to its root in ancient Indic art. On view are selections of works from various regions including Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan, which together map the wide-spread evolution of Asian art in the regions.

Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine
Where:  Rubin Museum of Art, New York
On View Till: September 8, 2014

This is one of the first major exhibitions which chronicle the origin, history and practice of the Tibetan science of healing. It brings to the viewers a visual narrative on the subject by presenting 140 objects dating from the 9th century to the present which includes manuscripts and paintings on medical practices and medical instruments. The exhibition highlights the relationship shared between Tibetan medicine and Buddhism and how it has shaped the visual arts in the Himalayan region. In addition to the historic objects is a multi-media installation which explains how Tibetan medicine is used today and allows visitor to find out personalized health information through questionnaires, making the visit informative and interactive.  There’s also a quiz online.

Gateway to Himalayan Art & The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
  Rubin Museum of Art, New York
On View Till: January 6, 2016
NOTE: Exhibit Reopening July 2, 2014

Curated by Karl Debreczeny and Elena Pakhoutova, this exhibition gives its audience an introduction to the principal concepts of Himalayan art and its cultural contexts. Visitors are welcomed by a large multimedia map of the Himalayan region which highlights the diversity in the region. This exhibition is divided into four sections: Figures and Symbols, Materials and Techniques, Purpose and Function, and Tibetan Art in Context. The centerpiece of this exhibit is the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room- a recreated model for everyone to experience. This well-documented exhibition has many learning tools making it an interesting visit for a diverse audience.

Mithu Sen: Border Unseen
Where: Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University,
On View Till: August 31, 2014

Mithu Sen’s first solo museum exhibition in the US is a massive installation in dental polymer, tracing a pink toothy line across a long prism-shaped room. This is the first of Mithu’s teeth works installed on suspended armature. The 80 feet long hanging sculpture inhabits the gallery space, its sheer scale and texture eliciting strong reactions from viewers. This monumental yet minimalist work reaffirms the artist’s exploration of the connotations of bodily materials like hair, teeth and bone in her works.

Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation
Where: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Washington D.C.
On View Till: August 16, 2015

This iconic exhibition chronicles more than 200 years of Indian American contributions to the U.S. The 5,000-square-foot exhibition features Indian Americans’ migration experiences, working lives, political struggles and cultural and religious contributions. Highlighted artifacts include a dress worn by First Lady Michelle Obama designed by Indian American Naeem Khan; the 1985 National Spelling Bee trophy awarded to the first Indian American winner, Balu Natarajan; and Mohini Bhardwaj’s 2004 Olympic Silver Medal for gymnastics. Public programs include performances featuring Indian American art, comedy, cuisine, dance, film, television, literature and music. The exhibition will be travelling around the US for four years beginning May 2015.

There’s plenty more out there, so don’t forget to drop by our events listing page, updated each month.

An Interview with V. Ramesh

Indrapramit Roy of Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, in a candid interview with the artist

An exhibition titled “Remembrances of Voices Past” opened at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru, on 5th Feb 2014. This one and a half month-long exhibition showcases a decade-long journey of Vedantabatla Ramesh, better known as V. Ramesh. It is a journey covering a period from 2003 to 2013 that is significant in its depth and ambition. It was not a common occurrence till a few years ago to have a show of an artist in his mid-fifties at the National Gallery, especially one as media-shy and self-effacing as Ramesh. Thankfully, things are changing for the better, and that calls for celebration.

I have not known many people who can so readily laugh at themselves and yet produce works of infinite intricacy that are breathtaking in their, if I may say so, spiritual depth. These are very deeply felt works of a person unconcerned with the ways of the art world digging a lonely furrow with a rare conviction.

Born in 1958, V. Ramesh had studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University (M.S.U.) of Baroda, and spent most of his working life away from major art centres at Vishakhapatnam, where he has been teaching painting for nearly three decades at the Fine Arts Faculty of Andhra University. He works mostly in large format canvas and some small-scale watercolours. Ramesh’s oeuvre has through the years consistently revealed a preoccupation with a meditative terrain. His most recent works deal with women saint-poets from the Bhakti and Sufi traditions, conflating text and image in a mélange of layered narratives mixing painterly delight with contemplative depth. His intricate textures and transparent layering lends the imagery already replete with cultural memory a power that is at once recognizable and yet mysteriously majestic.

This interview was conducted over telephone and e-mail and Ramesh’s responses are precise and short in an almost Zen-like manner, so much so that sometime framing a question takes more space than the answers. Nevertheless, hopefully they will cast some light on the works and ideas of a major artist working in India today.

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Indrapramit: The earliest examples that I have seen in your oeuvre from the late ’80s and early ’90s revolved around the fishing folk from the coastline of your native Vishakhapatnam. The subaltern bodies strained with work had what one noted writer referred to as a ‘matter-of-fact-heroism’. Then, there was a noticeable shift occurring around the late ’90s when your figures started getting more evanescent, and paintings more layered. You experimented with found imagery, text, transparency and generally seemed more interested about the process of painting. How did this change come about?

V.Ramesh: During the mid-nineties, I faced what seemed then to be an existential dilemma. There was a sense of having reached the end of one’s tether. The earlier images of subaltern bodies and the mode of actually using paint no longer excited me, and I could feel perhaps a sense of lassitude and fatigue setting in my work. There was no way out – except perhaps to stop working. I did not stop but started working on small papers with dry pastel. These were very different almost abstract kind of works roughly relating to landscapes. I had a show of these in Baroda and I remember Surendran (Nair) wondering what had happened to my works! But that break was needed.

Indrapramit: You have mentioned elsewhere that for the past so many years your work deals with the idea of transience or impermanence. This is of particular interest to me…

V.Ramesh:As I am never tired of proclaiming, it was a serendipitous visit to Ramanashramam in1998 that acted as a catalyst in changing the direction and nature of my work. I saw a different facet of life and that made me introspect. After that I came back to oils and started working on large scale again. This eventually grew into the show called “A Thousand and One Desires”. I tackled the idea of desire, of greed, of avarice… sentiments that were totally absent in the ashram. You might say I started at the wrong end of the scale but that’s how it was. The nineties and the beginning of the new millennium were very fraught times in this country.

Indrapramit: Every time I encounter your painting I get the feeling that here is an artist contemplating what has almost become an anathema in our brazen times, that you are actually touching upon some very fundamental questions about the nature of life, love, body, lust, spirituality, death and some such profound issues.

V.Ramesh: I look at it as a contemporary human being’s search for the unity underlying the disparate elements of the world. You might call it the reality beyond the surface; a search for truth that lies beneath the ever-accelerating flux of today’s world that became my own quest.

Indrapramit:  Do you feel that the increasing marginalization of painting in the discourse of contemporary art has something to do with your subtle, nuanced and painstaking manner of painting, or do you feel the whole question regarding the role of painting, admittedly the old media, is superfluous?

V.Ramesh: The ability to draw the viewer within, through this state of flux, through its layers of paint and images, to be able to transcend these outwardly seen and perceived phenomena, one has to adopt strategies and improvise modes of expressions. I still believe in the validity of painting – it is a sacrosanct space. The day it does not feel that way I would be the first one to abandon painting.

Indrapramit: How did you get interested in Bhakti poetry and the poets?

V.Ramesh: For quite some time Bhakti or Devotion was singled out as the leitmotif in my work – not merely as an underlying unseen presence, but something that could be felt as an emotional exaltation. In the beginning when I was attempting to find an appropriate language and devising strategies to find an equivalency to this emotional exaltation, I found there were really no immediate precedents. In a way it was convenient to appropriate the voices of these poets and use them in my work.

Indrapramit: You have been teaching since 1985 nearly for 29 nine years. How do you feel it has impacted your work over the decades?

V.Ramesh: Teaching has taught me to be patient, as well as to have a sense of humility and effacement of one’s ego, especially when it comes to presuming that one knows almost everything as a teacher. You realize that is not the case and that is a humbling experience. You are not really filling an empty vessel but mentoring people to find their own voices. So, all these qualities I think have stood me in good stead when it came to my own work.

(Indrapramit Roy is an artist who teaches painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU of Baroda and knows V.Ramesh since 1989)

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