Maximum Bose

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart shares a note on Bose Krishnamachari’s exhibition “Maximum Bose”

New York: The co-founder of India’s first Biennale and the creator of the famous ‘Maximum Nano’- India’s first art car (which was auctioned at Saffronart on 29-30 July for over Rs 13 lakhs), renowned artist Bose Krishnamachari is in the spotlight with a solo show, after a gap of three years. The exhibition titled ‘Maximum Bose’ is on view at Gallery 7, Mumbai, and incorporates a simple output of 12 exemplary paintings by the artist, who explored the parameters of a circular frame for the very first time.

Maximum Nano, Bose Krishnamachari. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/customauctions/PostWork.aspx?l=8603

Maximum Nano, Bose Krishnamachari. Image Credit: http://www.saffronart.com/customauctions/PostWork.aspx?l=8603

“I believe that colors can play a magical role and transform a body. They can sculpt something that is formless or abstract. They share positive vibes and represent maximum freshness, happiness, depth, layers and texture,” says the artist.

Bose Krishnamachari’s oeuvre radiates a kind of abstract dynamism that is electric.  His powerful use of rich opaque color, each shade vying for attention, whilst softly merging into one another, creates a surreal almost mesmerizing poetic language, which keeps one hooked.

He talks about the inspirations behind his bold usage of color “I refine my color to brightness. I have learnt this usage from the alternately subdued and lavish color codes of Indian ceremonies and ritual performances; the costumes, the gestures of enactment…”

After India’s first participation in the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2012, artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, having received support from the Government, initiated India’s first Biennale in the historically rich city of Kochi, Kerala. It kicked off on 12 December, 2012 (12/12/12) and carried on for 2 months. Featuring more than 90 artists, the art works not only adorned the white washed walls of galleries and warehouses, but also transformed public lots into spaces displaying art across different media and genres. In addition to several local Indian artists, the participating artists also came from the UAE, Afghanistan, UK, Australia and South Korea. The Biennale is thus an excellent platform for the contemporary arts in India for artists both locally and internationally, putting India on the map of art Biennales and dubbing it notable for a flourishing art market.

Bose Krishnamachari is an established and internationally acclaimed contemporary Indian artist from Kerala, India. He received his BFA from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, followed by an MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London. In addition to being an artist, Krishnamachari also curates exhibitions and art and design projects. He is passionate about supporting and promoting emerging contemporary Indian artists. He currently lives and works in Mumbai, India.

For more information about the exhibition visit the Gallery 7 website.

Additionally, three works by the artist are part of the upcoming StoryLTD Absolute Art Auction, powered by Saffronart, to be held on 7-8 August, 2013.

Subodh Gupta’s Massive Boat Docks in London

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart on Subodh Gupta’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth and a talk by the artist at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London

What does the vessel contain, that the river does not, Subodh Gupta, 2012

“What does the vessel contain, that the river does not”, Subodh Gupta, 2012. Photo by Elisabetta Marabotto

London: Following its success at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Houser & Wirth, London, decided to showcase to an international audience Subodh Gupta’s installation “What does the vessel contain, that the river does not”.

Subodh Gupta found inspiration for this work in the words of the famous Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi:

“What does the vat contain that is not in the river?

What does the room encompass that is not in the city?

This world is the vat, and the heart the running stream,

This world the room, and the heart the city of wonders.”

In this poem, Rumi embeds among the lines the idea that the entire universe is contained in our soul. Gupta was touched by this concept, and chose to visually express Rumi’s words through an art installation that drew parallels between an individuals’s life and a boat.

The artist filled the vessel, a traditional fishing boat from Kerala, with common objects that he found in Kochi and Delhi, carefully piling them into the vessel. Chairs, beds, a bicycle, window frames, fishing nets and cooking pots are among the objects Gupta has used to represent our cluttered lives.

Detail of "What does the vessel contain, that the river does not", Subodh Gupta, 2012

Detail of “What does the vessel contain, that the river does not”, Subodh Gupta, 2012. Photo by Elisabetta Marabotto

Through this work Gupta also raises questions about cultural dislocation, feelings of belonging and displacement, movement and stability, which are symbols of the current epoch. Hence the boat acquires both positive and negative connotations. The fact that the boat is displayed with one end raised up from the floor gives the impression that it is floating, and transmits positive energies. At the same time, however, walking underneath the raised boat generates feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Verso of What the vessel contain, that the river does not", Subodh Gupta, 2012

Passing underneath “What the vessel contain, that the river does not”, Subodh Gupta, 2012. Photo by Elisabetta Marabotto

Last Tuesday, in conjunction with the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London hosted a panel discussion titled ‘The Routes of Success’, between Subodh Gupta, Jessica Morgan (the Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate Modern) and Deborah Swallow (Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art).

From the left Jessica Morgan, Deborah Swallow and Subodh Gupta at the Courtauld Institute of Art

From left: Jessica Morgan, Deborah Swallow and Subodh Gupta at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Photo by Elisabetta Marabotto

The panel discussion was preceded by a presentation by an unexpectedly shy Subodh Gupta, who discussed his major works of which you find a selection between the text below.

29 Mornings, Subodh Gupta, 1996

29 Mornings, Subodh Gupta, 1996. Image Credit: http://www.aaa.org.hk/onlineprojects/bitri/en/gallery.aspx?eid=A010.04

After the presentation, a more confident and very entertaining Gupta had a very interesting exchange with Morgan and Swallow. The artist revealed his past as an aspiring actor, a career that was derailed once he started painting film posters. In fact, he only joined art school because he was convinced by his friends. And now he is one of the most acclaimed Indian contemporary artists in the world!

The scale of his artworks was also one of the topics tackled in the discussion. Although slightly shy on stage, Gupta is not shy at all in his artworks’ dimensions! The artist however stated that the creation of large artworks wasn’t premeditated; it just happened. And once it started it became a habit, and now he can’t stop it!

Gupta also discussed his love/hate relationship with painting. It is something he doesn’t feel confident about and that is one of the reasons why he often “secretly” embeds photography in his paintings. He said: “painting is hard to make, doing a good one is like reaching nirvana”!

Aam Aadmi, Subodh Gupta, 2009

Aam Aadmi, Subodh Gupta, 2009. Image Credit: http://www.hauserwirth.com/artists/11/subodh-gupta/images-clips/63/

The artist also added that he doesn’t intentionally make political art, but art comes from where you live, from what surrounds you, and so that is why politics and social issues cannot be taken away from it.

His main influences are to be found in the work of some of the Indian masters such as M.F. Husain, Jagdish Swaminatan, Francis Newton Souza, and more recently in the Khoj Workshop that freed him from any kind of restrictions on his creativity.

E tu, Duchamp?, Subodh Gupta, 2009

E tu, Duchamp?, Subodh Gupta, 2009. Image Credit: http://www.hauserwirth.com/artists/11/subodh-gupta/images-clips/61/

I would like to conclude with an interesting question/point of discussion that came up during the talk about whether it is always possible to transport art outside its country of origin. This was discussed in respect of Spirit Eater, one of Subodh Gupta’s latest works which is deeply embedded with cultural references and traditions which make it extremely difficult to be understood. The artist was reluctant about the idea of compulsorily bringing his art out of India, because sometimes it could be misunderstood and its original message lost.

I’ll leave you reflecting on this topic, and encourage you to visit Subodh Gupta’s exhibition in London. Click here for more information on the exhibition.

Symposium on dOCUMENTA (13), Sharjah and Kochi-Muziris Biennales at SAA-JNU

Manjari Sihare shares details of a symposium on dOCUMENTA (13) and the Sharjah and Kochi-Muziris Biennales hosted by the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU and the Goethe Institute, Delhi

New Delhi: The School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA), JNU, and the Goethe Institut are hosting a day-long symposium exploring key issues in international art exhibitions from the recent past on Friday, April, 19, 2013.

The symposium has been conceptualized by Geeta Kapur and focuses on dOCUMENTA (13) (June – September 2012).  Speakers are invited to address the curatorial concept of this edition. And to address, as well, a peculiar call on dOCUMENTA curators to offer, in the very form of the exhibition, a virtual world-view.

In the second part of the symposium, there will be a discussion on Biennales that are placed within more precarious circumstances. The risks and gains of working with a meager infrastructure, social taboos, uncharted aesthetics, will be brought forward. A substantial debate on the newest, most proximate Kochi-Muziris Biennale (December 2012 – March 2013) is expected. Participants will be invited to discuss, for instance, how this Biennale offered ‘site imaginaries’ in lieu of a predetermined concept; and an exhibitory poetics largely activated by participating artists. Also the role of the State (with reference to India) in supporting large-scale, audience-friendly and ground-breaking exhibition projects such as the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will be put up for scrutiny.

Friday, April 19 2013, 11.00 am – 5.30 pm
Auditorium, School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Session I (11 am to 1 pm)
Chair: Kavita Singh: Introduction and Sum-up

Vision Documenta
Referring to earlier editions, but focusing on dOCUMENTA (13) (June – September 2012), speakers are invited to address the curatorial concept of this edition; and to address, as well, a peculiar call on dOCUMENTA curators to offer, in the very form of the exhibition, a virtual world-view.

• Geeta Kapur: dOCUMENTA aesthetics in the 21st century
• Vidya Shivdas: Brief introduction to the dOCUMENTA project
• Panel: Jeebesh Bagchi, Sonia Khurana, Shuddhabrata Sengupta

Session II (1.45 pm to 3.15 pm)
Chair: Pooja Sood: Introduction and Sum-up

Ideological Readings: from Documenta to Sharjah
A reflection on Biennales placed within newer, more precarious circumstances; the risks and gains of working through untested locations, meager infrastructures, social taboos, uncharted aesthetics.

• Amar Kanwar
• CAMP
• Ravi Agarwal

Session III (3.30 pm to 5.30 pm)
Chair: Geeta Kapur

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012-2013
More than a ‘debate’ or even a measure of success and failure, understanding the conditions of production of the newest, most proximate Kochi-Muziris Biennale (December 2012 – March 2013) is important. Once staged, what are the meanings that accrue from the democratic mix of international and local viewers; with diverse spectatorship, is there a better case for state support of contemporary art? Can publics in relation to large-scale, ground-breaking projects (such as this), incite the art community into a discursive engagement with avantgarde art as a form of contextual combustion?

• Riyas Komu: ‘Against All Odds’; a presentation on the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (with visual documentation)
• Panel: Vivan Sundaram, Sheela Gowda, Subodh Gupta, Gayatri Sinha, Sheba Chhachhi
• Summing Up: Parul Dave Mukherji

For further details please contact: programm2@delhi.goethe.org

Asia Art Archive to host a day-long conference on Art Writing in India

Manjari Sihare shares details of a forthcoming seminar on Art Writing in India

New York: Those in Kochi or that part of the world, please check out a forthcoming conference on Art writing in India organized by the Asia Art Archive and co-hosted by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Fields of Legibility: disciplines and practices of art writing in India, is a day-long seminar which will be held on February 6, 2013 in Kochi. Asia Art Archive (AAA) is a Hong Kong based not-for-profit organization committed to documenting the recent history of contemporary art in Asia within an international context. Established in 2000, AAA is the most comprehensive publicly accessible collection of research materials in the field and it continues to grow through a well planned program of research and information gathering. Having set up its first Indian research post in 2007, AAA has over the years undertaken a number of research initiatives in the country, ranging from awarding a research grant to Vidya Shivadas in 2009 to critically survey the field of art criticism in India to a digitization project of the personal archive of Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram in 2010.

Currently, the Archive is working on the digitization of the personal archives of four important pedagogues in Baroda, namely, professors K G Subramanyan, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Ratan Parimoo, and Jyoti Bhatt. It is also compiling an extensive bibliography of art writing in India since the late 19th century, across English and regional languages. This daylong seminar is the first in a sequence of such programs that will inform AAA’s research towards a series of anthology publications dedicated to the history of writing on 20th century visual art in India.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE

10am – 1:30pm

Welcome address and conference introduction

Keynote lecture by Prof. Susie Tharu (Professor of Eminence, Department of Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad)

Panel 1: Writing on the Nation | Writing in the Vernacular
Chair: Prof. Parul Dave Mukherjee (Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Speakers:
Saloni Mathur (Associate Professor, Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles)
Prof. Gulammohammed Sheikh (Artist and art historian, Baroda)

2:30 – 5pm

Panel 2: Sites of Discourse | Discursive Positions
Chair: Sadanand Menon (Art critic, Chennai)
Speakers:
Geeta Kapur (Independent critic and curator, New Delhi)
Raqs Media Collective (Artist collective and curators, New Delhi)

Summation by Prof. Parul Dave Mukherjee
Floor open for discussion

To learn more about the Asia Art Archive, click here. 

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.

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