Reviewing Devi Art Foundation’s Sarai Reader 9: The Exhibition

Kanika Anand visits Devi Art Foundation’s recent project Sarai Reader 9: The Exhibition, curated by & in collaboration with Raqs Media Collective

New Delhi: Raqs Media Collective has consistently been curating and creating intellectually stimulating work, even if occasionally too dense for common comprehension. And since its inception, the Devi Art Foundation has hosted meaningful exhibitions that are ambitious yet well presented. So collaboration between the two makes for a potentially successful exhibition with alternative views in both thought and creation.

A look into a work in progress at the Devi Art Foundation exhibition

The basis and impetus behind Sarai Reader 9 is its nature to draw on ‘exhibition’ as an evolving process, introducing new forms of exploring creative thought and method. Invitations are open to anyone with an interesting idea and an engaging means of presentation, limited to a fixed duration and applied in a space.

The path leading to the projection screens showing Ishita Tiwari’s ‘Amateur Film Archive’ including films like Arranged Marriage, Machli, Sab Maal China etc. with contributions from Amitabh Kumar, Aman Sethi, Jacques Ranciere, Vivek Narayanan

The curatorial format follows three episodes, each showcasing a series of the 100 projects in its nine month life. The selection of the first 40 was announced at the opening on 18 August accompanied with architectural interventions by Sayantan Maitra Boka and Zuleikha Chaudhari; experimental sounds and electro-acoustic music by Ish Shehrawat, Andi Teichmann, Brian Citro and Ignat Karmalito; amateur cinema presented by Ishita Tiwary; and the release of a book by Cybermohalla Hub. The exhibition space in its current avatar reminds one of scaffolding upon which participants will furnish their subjective particulars of expression. The space somehow maintains an air of mystery and sanctity until each proposal’s gradual and final realization, scheduled as per a time-line.

The ideation of the project is certainly refreshing, and its eventual manifestation is something that I’m not the only one looking forward to. It has proved to be a platform for young and emergent energies to partner and experiment in a space widely visited yet one that maintains the demureness of the artist’s studio.

Visualizing the Invisible- Reading & Writing Nietzsche by Belinder Dhanoa

The architectural prototype of the Cybermohalla Hub, by Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Muller

I wish to see many more of the same endeavors!

More information on the project.

Kanika Anand is an art professional and budding curator specializing in Indian contemporary art. She holds a degree in Art History from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, and has worked in the field for five years with leading galleries of the like of Gagosian Gallery, Gallery Espace and Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi. She is currently pursuing the Curatorial Training Program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France, in line with her interest to responsibly curate projects towards making art more accessible as well as inter-disciplinary.

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