Contemporary Art meets Buddhism

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart shares a note on the Haein Art Project

Haeinsa Temple, Korea

Haeinsa Temple, Korea. Image Credit: http://haeinart.wordpress.com/about-haeinsa-temple/

New York: Viewing art in non-conventional spaces is always refreshing and gives the viewer an opportunity to engage with and understand the art better.  A Buddhist temple in South Korea is hosting a show of contemporary art in an effort to provide a new perspective and to create an interesting juxtaposition between Buddhism and contemporary art.

Haein Art Project

Haein Art Project. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/11/01/where-contemporary-art-meets-buddhism/tab/slideshow/#slide/2

The Haeinsa Temple is a 1211 year old shrine nestled in the lush valleys of Gaya-san National Park. The temple is dedicated to the Korean Avantamsaka School of Buddhism and is home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, printed on 81,258 wood blocks. The buildings and the blocks were designated by the UNESCO as one of the “most important and complete corpus of Buddhist doctrinal texts in the world”. The layout of the temple is typical of a Korean monastery. Stupas, gates, courtyards, and halls are all aligned along proper axes according to geomantic principles and Buddhist symbols, physically illustrating the process of enlightenment. In fact the entire layout of Haeinsa temple resembles a sailing ship with pagodas as masts.

Haein Art Project

Haein Art Project. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/11/01/where-contemporary-art-meets-buddhism/tab/slideshow/#slide/1

The year 2011 marked the first contemporary art show at the temple, commemorating the millennial anniversary of the wooden blocks, which were initially engraved, with the intent of protection from the invasion from a northern Dynasty. The ancient blocks were lost in a fire resulting from the invasion.

Haein Art Project

Haein Art Project. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/11/01/where-contemporary-art-meets-buddhism/tab/slideshow/#slide/6

This year, the Haein Art Project at the temple featured new works by 30 artists from around the world; South Korea, India, U.S, Spain, Italy and Hong Kong. Most of the artists were invited to spend two weeks at the temple and create new works that are related to Buddhist thinking, for the project.

Vibha Galhotra, Haein Art Project

Vibha Galhotra, Haein Art Project. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/11/01/where-contemporary-art-meets-buddhism/tab/slideshow/#slide/10

The works were scattered around the grounds of the temple. Indian artist Vibha Galhotra created an installation of white flags at the pathway that lead to the temple gates. The flags represented national flags devoid of color thus attempting to erase the borders of a divided world. Other Indian artists featuring in this project were Sheba Chhachhi, Reena Kallat, Shilpa Gupta and Hema Upadhyay. Another work by South Korean artist duo Mioon involved projections of nature and architectural images that sporadically appear and disappear as though an echo of fullness and emptiness in the viewers mind.

Haein Art Project

Haein Art Project. Image Credit: http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/11/01/where-contemporary-art-meets-buddhism/tab/slideshow/#slide/3

For more information read here.

Spring Art Auction – New York Preview

A selection of snapshots of the display and preview for our Spring Art Auction at Saffronart, New York.

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Bidding begins 25 March 2013 at 9:00 a.m. IST

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.

Hema Upadhyay and Atul Dodiya Exhibit in Ohio

Tarika Agarwal discusses the works of two Indian artists who are currently exhibiting in Ohio

Mumbai: The Contemporary Arts Center in Ohio is currently hosting two individual exhibitions of works by Hema Upadhyay and Atul Dodiya. These exhibitions opened in early February, and will go on till 5 May, 2013. The Center is known to provide people an opportunity to discover the dynamic relationship between art and life by exhibiting the works of progressive artists. Their aim is to challenge, entertain and educate.

Hema Upadhyay was born in 1972 in Baroda, India. She has lived and worked in Mumbai since 1998. She uses self-photography and sculptural installations to explore notions of dislocation and nostalgia. Since the early 2000s she has exhibited her work all over the world including Australia, Singapore, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

In the current exhibition Upadhyay addresses the aesthetic qualities of everyday life via images she has taken of the slums and densely populated areas of Mumbai, India. She is fascinated by urbanization and its effects on Mumbai. The area she has chosen to depict was once an undesirable piece of marshland outside of the city, but as the city started to expand the area was eventually occupied by slums and became a central part of the city. She is drawn to the slums because of how they are little worlds of their own, away from reality while being situated in and around posh neighborhoods. She is also attracted to the aesthetic traits of the slums because the areas are usually marked by the juxtaposition of vibrant colours and diverse materials.

The most mesmerizing work she has exhibited is a piece titled ‘Modernization’. It is an aerial view of a slum on the floor of the gallery made up of the materials that the buildings themselves use – corrugated aluminum sheets, car scrap, enamel paint, tarpaulin, and found objects. She has installed it as a minimalistic patchwork of squares.

Atul Dodiya was born in 1959 in Mumbai, India. He began exhibiting his works in the early 1980s after he graduated from Sir J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai. He later went onto study further at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Dodiya is currently one of the most prominent figures of contemporary Indian Art. Like Upadhyay, he has exhibited his works globally. Dodiya combines both Eastern and Western influences in his installations and paintings through film, popular culture and literature. His works are usually personal since they imbibe his own thoughts with reference to the history of art and his home country, India.

At this show, his work is created on metal shutters of store fronts salvaged from the streets of Mumbai. He wants viewers to interact with the pieces – to open and close the shutters with their original pulley mechanisms in order to experience each in it entirety, as both the front and the interior of the shutter are painted. So don’t feel shy to touch his works, when you decide to go to the exhibition.

The reason Dodiya uses shutters is because in Mumbai, the shutter is a symbol of security and marks the sharp contrast in the aesthetic of the city between day and night. Post sunset or during times of civil unrest, the shutters become a form of armour that protects the various goods of shop owners from the dangers of the outside world.

As there are only two images (one per artist) available from the exhibition, I have taken the liberty to put up images of similar works by both the artists so you can have an idea of what you would get to see if you did attend the show.

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