stART&D: A New Digital Platform for Contemporary Indian Art and Design

Nishad Avari shares a note about this new, exciting initiative, and offers a sneak peek of one of its first projects – a film on Shilpa Gupta’s ‘I Live Under Your Sky Too’

stART&DMumbai: Scheduled to launch later this year, with a host of interesting content focusing on contemporary Indian art, design and culture, stART&D is an inventive, edgy digital platform created by Anita Horam and Mozez Singh that will promote, produce and present all forms of arts and design that  represent “India cool”. stART&D promises a digital magazine, public exhibitions and more through Indian and international collaborations and partnership programs.

Their first project is a video presentation on the public installation of Shilpa Gupta’s site specific animated light work, ‘I Live Under Your Sky Too’, in Mumbai. This project was curated by Diana Campbell of the Creative India Foundation, who is also one of our guest bloggers.

Gupta’s piece was first installed in front of the Arabian Sea at Carter Road in Bandra, Mumbai, and is currently on view in the courtyard of Phoenix Mills mall at Lower Parel, Mumbai. First created in 2011, this piece has been exhibited at indoor and outdoor locations around the world, including in the exhibition ‘All You Need is Love’ at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo this year.

Here is stART&D’s video on the installation:

 

Stay tuned for more information on stART&D.

To learn more about Shilpa Gupta’s installation, see the Creative India Foundation website and their Facebook page.

A Word of Thanks & Happy 2013!

Dear Readers,

Here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous 2013 ! The past year was an eventful one for Saffronart as we introduced an array of new categories and collectibles by way of our auctions and The Story, our new website featuring unique objects in curated collections available for sale every day!

Happy New Year from Saffronart

It was also the inaugural year for our blog launched in April of 2012. In a span of six months, we have come a long way with a readership of 1600 plus. We were happy to feature exciting reviews reports and interviews through this course. Some highlights included a guest post on Arpita Singh’s New York solo exhibition at the DC Moore Gallery, a series of walk-throughs of the Metropolitan Museum’s new Islamic galleries, a review of Zarina’s solo show at the Hammer Museum, interviews withTarun Tahiliani and Shilpa Shah of the TAPI Collection, as well as collectors like Anupam Poddar,and Kamran Anwar weighing in on their favorite lots from our inaugural Pakistani  auction. Other exciting conversations included one between guest blogger Diana Campbell, artist Rathin Barman and gallerists Priyanka and Prateek Raja, an interview with the Director of the ARKEN Museum in Copenhagen and with Beth Citron, the curator of the Rubin Museum on their exhibition program dedicated to Modern Indian Art as also one with  Sarnath Banerjee about his London public art project, ‘Gallery of Losers’.

We thank you for your support and look forward to bringing timely and engaging news, interviews, images and more from our offices around the world. A special word of thanks for our guests bloggers for their contributions. We hope our regular posts on this blog continue to offer you new insights into the products we feature in our online auctions, new ideas about collecting, and also a new perspective on Saffronart.

Best wishes,

Team at Saffronart Blog

Rathin Barman: The first Asian artist to Exhibit at deCordova Sculpture Park – II

Guest blogger, Diana Campbell  in a tête-à-tête with Prateek and Priyanka Raja of the Experimenter Gallery about Rathin Barman’s work that was exhibited in the Frieze Art Fair in New York followed by the deCordova Sculpture Park

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012
View at deCordova Sculpture Park
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

Mumbai: In my last post, I interviewed Rathin Barman about his recent work exhibited at the deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  This work debuted with Experimenter at the Frieze New York Sculpture Park. The Kolkata based gallerists Prateek and Priyanka Raja spoke to me about about how they saw this work transform from an art fair context to an institutional context.

DC: How did you see the work develop from idea to the fair, and from the fair to the park?

Prateek and Priyanka Raja (PPR): When Rathin responded to the possibility of showing a work at the sculpture park at a venue as prestigious and global as Frieze NY, we felt that he had exceeded our expectations in conceptual framework and thought. Untitled 2012 was also so ambitious in its scale and vision that we knew immediately we would need a collaborator to actualize the project. We were very fortunate to have had the support of Creative India Foundation through every step of the process from production to shipping to installation and even take down of the work at the fair. At the fair, we were anxious how this would turn out given that this was the first time the work was being installed ever. When finally put up, the work looked stunning across the river and with the Manhattan skyline in the backdrop as if conceptually and physically the work came together.

Then when through Creative India Foundation, the opportunity came for the work to be installed at deCordova Sculpture Park, was the high point for us. It meant that the work had found a truly public space viewed within the context of some fantastic sculpture by some of the best sculptors in the world in a beautiful sculpture park that was renowned for its content. It was realizing a large project from seed to thought to reality — a truly wholesome experience for us.

DC: How does it feel to have the first Asian sculptor to be displayed at one of America’s best sculpture parks? This is a great honor for Rathin, do you have any other developments you can share with us about his exciting career? 

PPR: Rathin Barman is a very young sculptor, but his work is not restricted by scale or ambition. For Rathin we feel it was an opportunity of a lifetime. This was the first time he had travelled outside India and I think the learning was tremendous. The honor for Rathin to be included in a sculpture park, not only as an Asian but as an artist is tremendous. Rathin is working on a large commission for a very interesting collection currently and is preparing for a show that is in the development outside Kolkata. Also he is simultaneously applying to a selection of residencies for next year, as we feel the next level of his practice needs to have a deeper understanding of material, form and process that will be possible to garner in an international residency and open up newer possibilities for Rathin.

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012
Another View at deCordova Sculpture Park
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

DC: You received many compliments about Rathin’s work at frieze, any you can share? 

PPR: During Frieze, one of the most poignant sights with regard to the sculpture was when someone left behind a bouquet of sunflowers beside the sculpture. Untitled really is a work about the ferocious need for our cities to grow and at the cost of everything else around it including nature, the people who live in it and the fabric of lives in a city like NYC. That was an unsaid compliment but whoever kept the flowers surely understood what the work was about.

Another comment was made by an Australian collector who had liked the work a lot. He said that the work “exuded the bereft-ness of city living and the barrenness of our modern relationships that cities bring along. In fact it made a comment on how urbanity is taking over everything”

Diana Campbell is Founding Director and Chief Curator, Creative India Foundation, Hyderabad, a private foundation which advances Indian contemporary art globally and is developing India’s first international sculpture park. She is responsible for directing the foundation’s programming, selecting artists & commissioning sculptures for international sculpture parks as well as the foundation’s future park slated for 2015. Through her work with the foundation, she is a key advisor for renowned international sculpture parks such as de Cordova Sculpture Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wanås etc. on Indian artists for their collections. Campbell has curated sculpture projects for the India Art Fair, and SH Contemporary fair in Shanghai, and has contributed to projects at Frieze New York, Frieze London and Art Hong Kong. She is also is the co-curator for the Mumbai City Pavilion for the 9th Shanghai Biennale. Campbell also advises real estate developers on their public art programs in India. Prior to moving to India in 2010, Campbell curated exhibitions independently at prestigious galleries such as Marlborough Gallery, and worked at Sotheby’s New York and the Neue Galerie. Campbell is a Princeton and Independent Curators International (ICI) alumna, and speaks Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Rathin Barman: The first Asian Artist to Exhibit at deCordova Sculpture Park

Guest blogger, Diana Campbell in conversation with the Rathin Barman about his work at the deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

Mumbai: In September 2012, deCordova Sculpture Park exhibited its first sculpture by an Asian artist, Rathin Barman’s Untitled, 2012, which debuted with Experimenter at the Frieze New York Sculpture Park curated by Tom Eccles. deCordova Sculpture Park is one of America’s premier sculpture institutions, and it is investing strategically to be the best sculpture park in the US by 2016. The Creative India Foundation is obviously thrilled to partner with them to spread the reach of Indian creativity internationally ahead of opening our own sculpture park.

deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Nick Capasso, the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at deCordova Sculpture Park shared, “The installation process went very well, and everyone here is thrilled with the sculpture! We honestly could not be more pleased, and Rathin himself is very happy with the iteration of Untitled at deCordova, which looks very different than how it appeared at Frieze in New York…This artwork has been a success for us on every level – aesthetically, educationally, and strategically.” I am excitedly awaiting images of the work in the snow once the seasons change.

I took some time to interview Rathin Barman and his gallerists Prateek and Priyanka Raja about Rathin’s experience at deCordova and to learn about how they saw the work transform from an art fair context to an institutional context. Rathin Barman had his first solo show less than a year ago, and he is already making solid marks on the international sculpture scene. I look forward to seeing Rathin’s work develop as he continues to experiment, experience, and learn. To avoid reader fatigue, I have broken the interview into two parts, first an interview with Rathin Barman. The conversation with Prateek and Priyanka Raja will follow in my next post.

DC: The work looks completely different at deCordova than at Frieze. How did you react to the new site and how did that experience translate into this work?

Rathin Barman . Untitled, 2012 . Sculpture Park, New York Art Fair
Courtesy: Experimenter, Kolkata and the Creative India Foundation

RB (Rathin Barman): Randall’s Island, the venue for Frieze NY 2012 and deCordova Sculpture Park are completely different sites in terms of environment, urbanity & development with respect to installing Untitled 2012. Randall’s Island is among the lone green areas in New York City surrounded by three mainland city parts, and it is entrapped with box-like architectural structures. I have reacted to the site and situation of the entire physical space of the island while proposing and installing the work at Frieze Art Fair.

Three massive wall structures made of iron construction bars are the metaphoric representation of the shape and geographical position of the island both visually & conceptually. These wall structures created a cage like space in between where viewers can walk through. The inner part of the walls structured organically free flowing, loosely associates formation of tree branches, while the outer part is much more architectonic which simulates the architectural set up of closest city line.

The rubble that partly filled the wall structures was collected from demolished building sites from Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs connected sites to the situations. Moreover, the form allowed viewers to look and experience the work and the surrounded sites of urban development at the same time. It was interesting to see the city through an organically free flowing structure partly obstructed with rubble! It gives a feeling of the city’s tenacious need to grow against its own internal fragility.

While regard to my experience at deCordova Sculpture Park at Lincoln Town, Massachusetts and Lincoln area, my excitement and feeling was totally different from Randall’s Island. More than 95% area of deCordova and Lincoln are green, almost uninterrupted natural space making a strong contrast with the nearby city of Boston. Here the ground plan of the installation is almost unchanged but the rubble (again found locally) filled all over the structure commenting a different realization toward the site and situation. There is no such city line to see but the beauty of nature has been obstructed by the rubble which would remind the viewer of urban development/expansion.

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012
View at deCordova Sculpture Park
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

Gradations of the park and viewing the installation from inside & outside add an interesting dialogue between the work and the landscape, in context of nature & urbanization and stipulation of their existence.

DC: People think rubble is rubble, what differences did you find between NY rubble and Massachusetts rubble? And how is that different from India? What does that have to say about the respective changes in urban development between these spaces?

RB: One of the most interesting parts of the work is that I made the iron structure in Kolkata, and it’s been transported to NY and then Massachusetts. And I had never been to the US before proposing the project, so I realized the urban site and situation of US virtually and theoretically rather than carrying a physical experience of it while creating the work.

But, when I was making the iron wall structure, the filigree of organic flow onto the structure definitely came from my physical experiences of Indian cities and their surroundings. However, environmental issues regarding urbanization and expansion of urban space are a common challenge to the urban developers throughout the world. In that sense, Untitled 2012 has a universal context.

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012 (detail)
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

Using locally found rubble into the installation is a response to character particular site and its surrounding development. The Massachusetts rubble had been delivered twice, in both times it contains almost 50% of soil with bricks, stones & concrete, but in New York soil percentage was close to zero. It was almost 100% concrete and bricks. NYC has much more crowded with buildings than Boston the reason why you can hardly find soil into rubble. This is an interesting characteristic of rubble found in two different cities.

DC: You gave several presentations during your time at deCordova, how did the audiences react to your work? Any particularly good questions that pushed the way you think about the work?

RB: Interaction with deCordova audiences was amazing. These were very intimate conversations and I was pleased to know that the local population responded well to my work. Most of my works including Untitled have dealt with multiple ideas related to urban expansion, history & development, environmental issues, relation between rural and urban through formal and material representations. Hence, the viewer interactions were like discussions with each other. Viewers could identify and read/associate with the form, material and the process of the work with his/her experiences, and that way they played a very crucial role with my art practice and often added new layer or meaning or facet to the work. The conversations opened up new angles for me. During an open conversation one lady associated the rubble with 9/11, which I had never thought of at any stage of the production or installation of the work, to her, the rubble meant something else, a different sort of demolition.

Rathin Barman, Untitled, 2012 (another view)
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

DC: How was the process of transforming the work with deCordova’s curators?

RB: Working with deCordova was a fantastic experience. During the installation process we have discussed about the history of deCordova, the sculpture park, settlement of Lincoln Town, history of Boston’s urban planning and development etc. and at the same time urbanization in India, these discussions had an important role to the process. My practice and I were very beautifully absorbed into the park and its people, which helped me respond to the space.

Diana Campbell is Founding Director and Chief Curator, Creative India Foundation, Hyderabad, a private foundation which advances Indian contemporary art globally and is developing India’s first international sculpture park. She is responsible for directing the foundation’s programming, selecting artists & commissioning sculptures for international sculpture parks as well as the foundation’s future park slated for 2015. Through her work with the foundation, she is a key advisor for renowned international sculpture parks such as de Cordova Sculpture Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wanås etc. on Indian artists for their collections. Campbell has curated sculpture projects for the India Art Fair, and SH Contemporary fair in Shanghai, and has contributed to projects at Frieze New York, Frieze London and Art Hong Kong. She is also is the co-curator for the Mumbai City Pavilion for the 9th Shanghai Biennale. Campbell also advises real estate developers on their public art programs in India. Prior to moving to India in 2010, Campbell curated exhibitions independently at prestigious galleries such as Marlborough Gallery, and worked at Sotheby’s New York and the Neue Galerie. Campbell is a Princeton and Independent Curators International (ICI) alumna, and speaks Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Mumbai’s Contemporary Art to be featured in the 9th Shanghai Biennale.

Medha Kapur of Saffronart shares a note on the Inter-City Pavilions project at the 9th Shanghai Biennale

Shanghai Art Museum

Shanghai Art Museum

Shanghai: The Shanghai Biennale (October 2 –December 31, 2012) not only showcases contemporary art productions, but also creates forums where artists can meet, challenge their own works and expand their experiences. It offers the opportunity for a truly international exchange of ideas; while bringing together artists, curators, writers, theorists and art supporters from around the world. The Shanghai Biennale highlights the increasingly important role of artistic production in the Asia-Pacific region.

For the first time the exhibition will move beyond exploring national art practices and will begin exploring city art practices with  its Inter-City Pavilions. These focus on the interesting connections and energy exchanges between people and cultures which, in today’s globalized world, are more likely to be identified within local communities rather than in national contexts. India will be represented by Mumbai, one of the nearly 30 cities featured in the inaugural show at the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, housed in a building that used to be a thermal power-plant. Some of the cities invited are Istanbul, Tehran, Hong Kong, Taipei, London, Barcelona, Ulaanbaatar and Berlin.

The former Nanshi Power Plant, future venue of the Shanghai Biennale

The former Nanshi Power Plant, venue of the Shanghai Biennale

Venue of the City pavillions

Venue of the City pavillions

Curated by Diana Campbell and Susan Hapgood, the Mumbai pavilion will provide a dynamic evocation of the city’s artistic environment. The ten artists whose diverse art works will be presented in the pavilion include Gyan Panchal, Hemali Bhuta, Kausik Mukhopadhay, Manish Nai, Mansi Bhatt, Neha Choksi, Pablo Bartholomew, Sharmila Samant and Shilpa Gupta.

The pavilion will focus on several themes that ten artists have addressed in their work, and that make the city absolutely unique: its improvisational nature, its intricate collective networks, and its pervasive and re-usage and recycling practices. The works to be exhibited will not suggest any particular aesthetic or stylistic methodology. Rather, the artistic processes and images and meanings will gradually expand upon and suggest the exhibition themes in themselves.

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