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20130528172538-prasanta_sahu___the_pillars-1 Labour, Labourer   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Chandra Bhattacharjee, Nantu Bihari Das, Pratul Das, Chhatrapati Dutta, Debraj Goswami, Prasanta Sahu, Sanjeev Krishnarao Sonpimpare at Ganges Art Gallery May 8th, 2013 - July 8th, 2013
Posted 5/28/13

‘Shrom O Shramik’, the show currently on at Ganges Art Gallery, literally means ‘Labour and Labourer’. Conceptually, it is an interesting one, in that the very idea is not something that usually stirs the creative cells, perceived as it is through the myopic and constrained lenses of grim non-illustrative academics alone. Especially in the context of India, this topic has over the years since globalization taken a backseat, making way for stylistic experimentations for art's sake alone. This is... [more]

20130408142750-aslouise_bourgeois__crouching_spider__2003___photo_by_jonathan_leijonhufvud____louise_bourgeois_trust___licensed_by_vaga__ny_c849 Ode by a star-struck aficionada   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Louise Bourgeois at Faurschou Foundation (Beijing) October 27th, 2012 - March 24th, 2013
Posted 4/8/13

Wandering through the colorfully gay labyrinths of 798 – by far, the foremost art district in Beijing – on a chilly January afternoon, I stumble onto a grey building, quite out of sync with its neighboring galleries and museums that shine in colourful resplendence. This, however, is it – my pilgrim spot – the Faurschou Foundation, Beijing. Inside its grim and non-glamorous exterior, it is housing an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’s works – for the first time in China, curated by the artist’s lo... [more]

20130215171357-themissed An Archive of the Missing   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Hajra Waheed at EXPERIMENTER January 18th, 2013 - March 2nd, 2013
Posted 2/15/13

The metaphor for ‘images’ as mentally stored visual representations – the metaphorics of actual pictures carried around in our heads – appear to be most truly illustrated by photographic pictures carried around in our pockets. ~ Ansel Haverkamp A friend of the artist Hajra Waheed once handed her a set of postcards that had been taken by his grandfather capturing his various travels. These were mere photographs, not ‘postcards’ in the sense of a souvenir. Waheed’s fascination for all th... [more]

20121116132208-agpd-020 Rooted   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Angeliki Inglessi at Ganges Art Gallery October 31st, 2012 - November 20th, 2012
Posted 11/16/12

Way back in 1992, the famous Indian actor-playwright Girish Karnad had directed a movie called ‘Cheluvi’ based on a Kannada folktale. The protagonist was a woman who possessed mystical powers that allowed her to turn into a tree when water was poured on her; a tree that bore flowers with a fragrance so unique and bewitching that selling those flowers became lucrative for her family, who from then on, went on selfishly turning her back and forth into a tree and a woman at their convenience – comple... [more]

20120918092741-prajakta_1 Lace Cracks   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Prajakta Potnis at EXPERIMENTER September 21st, 2012 - November 3rd, 2012
Posted 11/4/12

An entire wall at Experimenter Art Gallery is bare, save for a few cracks – likely to appear on walls of old homes as a result perhaps of moisture, hammering or just the passage of time. However, such cracks are MOST unlikely to appear on the walls of one of the ritziest galleries of the city. Naturally, therefore, I’d passed it up initially for other walls, adorned with blown-up photographs of installations. We’ll return to those in a bit. But first the wall with the cracks: or, rather, the simu... [more]

20120911101413-the_beautiful_and_the_damned Animal Imaginings: In Conversation with Procheta Mukherjee   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/11/12

There is something eerie and disquieting about Procheta Mukherjee’s images. Not that they are macabre or violent in either conception or execution. And yet, the dark subliminal undertone in her works lends them their distinctly esoteric quality. As the young artist remarked: “My images are coloured and fired by my subconscious, dark and scary sometimes and playful at others...They exist in a dreamlike state, hovering on the brink of darkness and light, always trying to grow stronger and wiser.”... [more]

20120730083536-two_old_men Can We Tire of the Sublime?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Raghu Rai at The Seagull Foundation for the Arts July 13th, 2012 - July 24th, 2012
Posted 7/30/12

It is always exciting when a Raghu Rai exhibition comes to town, and anticipation is palpable leading up to the event. But over the last couple of years, they have honestly been a bit of a let-down. In spite of the weight that ‘brand’ Raghu Rai carries, the city has hardly experienced anything startlingly new or fresh in the recent exhibition of this master’s work. Photographs that revolutionized prevalent norms and broke new ground in terms of content, idiom and mood at one time, subsequently ca... [more]

20120703075825-boars The Blind Master   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Benode Behari Mukherjee at Akar Prakar - Kolkata June 15th, 2012 - July 14th, 2012
Posted 7/3/12

“He (Benodebehari) was perhaps the most informed Indian artist of his generation,” writes Debdutta Gupta, Curator of ‘Works of Benodebehari Mukherjee.’ In view of the pieces that have been selected for this exhibition from the vast visual repertoire of the master that was Benodebehari, it is not difficult to see that such eulogy is not after all merely sanctimonious platitude. While Benodebehari was certainly not the first or the only artist of his school or generation to be able to flaunt with... [more]

20120619224500-calendar_project Project Cinema City: Research Art & Documentary Practices   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at National Gallery of Modern Art - NGMA Mumbai May 19th, 2012 - June 29th, 2012
Posted 6/19/12

      Project Cinema City: Research Art & Documentary Practices, which opened to a gala reception at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Bombay, strikes you at the very outset with the massiveness of its scale. Perhaps, that is only to be expected, considering the fact that it deals with the core idea of the intermesh between cinema and the city – the twin products of the 20th century. More so, because of the choice of its first display – Bombay – the fulcrum of the cinematic experi... [more]

20120207033225-mightybrush00245 The Mighty Brush   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/7/12

As children, most of what we read came with accompanying illustrations that focused and inspired the range of our visual imagination. But the experience, of course, could never be total-- at least not as all encompassing as a visit to the cinema. Somewhere down the line the very idea of having what you read illustrated for you came to be imbued with a certain juvenile overtone: suggesting that only books for children or those with a comic tone should come with pictures. With the likes of Marjane... [more]

20111106233146-kali Kalighat Comes Home   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Victoria Memorial Hall October 16th, 2011 - December 11th, 2011
Posted 11/6/11

Kalighat paintings or ‘pats’ have often been understood as the clearest examples of Indo-European synthesis in art. While the style, theme and execution of the earliest ‘pats’ make this understanding somewhat suspect, later evolutions bear unmistakable stamps of the influence of colonialism on every sphere of life. Taking their name from the popular pilgrim spot in Calcutta, these paintings, primarily depicting religious/ mythological figures and themes, and done either on scrolls or on earthenw... [more]

20110915091533-c1 Line Master   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Chittaprosad Bhattacharya at Delhi Art Gallery July 15th, 2011 - September 15th, 2011
Posted 9/15/11

Limp skeletal masses huddled or sprawled out in abject destitution or pot-bellied rickety structures with pronounced hungry eyes are images we most likely associate with leftist artists like Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, expressing their fiercely passionate commitment towards the documentation of the ravages of economic exploitation of the late-colonial and post-colonial India. What is astonishing is how scenes of rapid action that even the camera might miss have deftly captured the rawness of prima... [more]

20110313072407-004__3 Painting the Times   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya at The Centre of International Modern Art March 18th, 2011 - April 14th, 2011
Posted 4/11/11

Think 'Shuvaprasanna' and the first image that springs forth is that of crows. So regularly do these ash-black creatures appear on his canvas that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that these somewhat unique representatives of the flavour of Calcutta have become the artist’s signature visual motif. I would go so far as to argue that through Shuvaprasanna’s work, these otherwise nondescript, even ugly birds, have finally found a solid footing in aesthetic credibility that had so far been res... [more]

20110117170644-nbj-1378 A Raja's Hunt for the Perfect Image   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Raja Deen Dayal at Mati Ghar (IGNCA Exhibition Gallery) January 19th, 2011 - January 28th, 2011
Posted 1/17/11

With the easy accessibility of photographic devices in the recent past we suddenly have wannabe shutterbugs mushrooming here, there and everywhere! Hence, it is exhilarating to travel back in time to a period when photography was still an elaborate and laborious, indeed luxurious, process.  This experience is delivered in the form of an exhibition of works by Indian photographic pioneer Raja Deen Dayal that features more than 220 digital reproductions of bromide silver photographs, all part of... [more]

20110110204836-bibhu_maharna_naukachitra Tradition Today   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Show at Devi Art Foundation November 14th, 2010 - February 28th, 2011
Posted 1/10/11

Is vernacular art necessarily “tribal” or “folk” art? Is it really possible to chalk out and adhere to such rigid categories in the art world today, considering the continuous blurring and overlapping of their “exclusive” identities.  These are crucial issues that spring forth when viewing ‘Vernacular in the Contemporary,' an exhibition jointly curated by Jackfruit Research & Design and the Devi Art Foundation. Although the exhibition draws primarily from the collection of Anupam and Lekha Poddar, th... [more]

20101220173324-5203 Jotting the Dreamscape   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Ganesh Pyne at The Centre of International Modern Art December 3rd, 2010 - January 8th, 2011
Posted 12/20/10

For over four decades now, Ganesh Pyne has inarguably been the single most influential living artist in Bengal, exemplifying a rare combination of prolific talent and popular saleabilty. Known for a unique visual grammar molded from such varied influences as the Bengal School, Cubism, Rembrandt and Klee, Pyne’s works evince an arcane affect emerging from dreamy umbral depths.  The artist’s oeuvre has been underlined by a mytho-poetic fixation that Pyne has sought to manifest in a sort of o... [more]

20101018225833-5fa7507c-adff-4d8b-a75d-c7f037ba120a Image Immortal   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Raghu Rai at The Harrington Street Arts Centre October 11th, 2010 - November 13th, 2010
Posted 10/18/10

“They say a good photograph is worth a thousand words. But a thousand words is a lot of noise. How about some silence…Stories have been told and re-told in different ways through words and photos, but silence happens rarely.” These are the words of the man himself-Raghu Rai, perhaps the most popular photographer of modern India. Two of his exhibitions are currently on view side by side in Calcutta; one at ICCR showcases some of his most touching renditions of Mother Teresa from blessedly... [more]

20100829192624-031276a6-7d5a-4ac0-af8b-bc593e6743a3 Four Decades and Two Generations Later   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Richard Barthlomew, Pablo Bartholomew at The Harrington Street Arts Centre August 16th, 2010 - September 25th, 2010
Posted 8/29/10

Long flannelled trousers, stiff collars raised high, flower garlands around the neck, restless happy bodies and spirits lazing around, lost in smoky hazes…Decors reeking of the modernist surge--polka dots, geometric monochromes, and stark minimalism dominating posh lifestyles--this is the life that gets captured in the lens of the father-son team of Richard and Pablo Bartholomew. For those of us who were not physically present for the retro age, it is precisely such photographic friezes tha... [more]

20100816110503-scan0005 A Peopleless Portrait of Place   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Veer Munshi at Birla Academy of Art & Culture August 9th, 2010 - August 25th, 2010
Posted 8/16/10

Narratives of diaspora give birth to many an art form.  The nostalgic re-creation of a lost past or the more heartening attempt at catharsis through the excavation of memories has been enacted in such variegated forms as literature, cinema, painting and photography.  India, of all places, with its long, tortuous and continuing history of migrations and displacements, has been the breeding ground of many such works. Veer Munshi, a Kashmiri pandit forcefully uprooted from his home, has repeatedly gone back to explore the theme... [more]

Bull Panoply of Patriarchs   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Show at Ahuja Museum For Arts June 2nd, 2010 - July 31st, 2010
Posted 7/24/10

        Isn’t it loverly when the works of such stalwarts as Gaganendranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Sunil Das, Wasim Kapoor, Suhas Roy and Paritosh Sen shimmer alongside the more contemporary lot of Ashoke Mullick and Subrata Gangopadhyay?   Most of these names are proverbially well-known in virtually all Bengali households. So much so that one can hardly find a Bengali home today that does not house at least one Jamini Roy print; making of him, perhaps, the most popular and the... [more]

Zoffanymary1 Back to St. Johns   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 7/17/10

On 9th April, 1787, the 54-year old Johann Zoffany gifted his ‘Last Supper’, completed in a record 10 days, to the newly built St. Johns’ Church -the first church built by the British in Calcutta. It had been commissioned to serve as altar piece by invoking da Vinci’s eponymous painting. As was wont to Zoffany’s larger oeuvre, this painting too was replete with mischievous visual annotations, enough to ruffle quite a few feathers at that time. The resemblance of Jesus and some of th... [more]

Hammer_1 Seagull Celebrates Design   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Sunandini Banerjee at The Seagull Foundation for the Arts June 19th, 2010 - July 17th, 2010
Posted 6/27/10

Seagull Books celebrates the completion of 28 years in the publishing business with the unique and fascinating concept of putting together the collaged digital prints of some of their book-covers. Like most collages, what works-and works wonders- is the apparent lack of immediate comprehension, offering instead a mélange of styles uprooted from their original context.  While covers and posters are normally saddled with the responsibility of presenting visual teasers of the content... [more]

Scan0004 Atanu Pal at Third Eye   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 6/14/10

India is a country of rich images. In the recent past, however, she has been reduced to a number of region-specific visual clichés.  In the case of Calcutta, for instance, it is the figure of the Durga- from the process of its making at Kumartuli to its immersion, that has captured the seemingly undivided attention of photographers both veteran and amateur.Following Barthes, photography may be understood as a craft that is limited by its very nature to capture things ‘as they are,’ so that it becomes difficult to ca... [more]

Debraj_goswami_5248 Summer Standars   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at The Centre of International Modern Art May 12th, 2010 - August 14th, 2010
Posted 6/7/10

“…Everybody has a summer holiday” and so does CIMA. Hence the show they have put together slated to run till the 14th of August, goes perfectly with the slow, unhurried, relaxed, and lazy mood of the scorching summer in the city. No one particular theme threads the many works of art on display, and thankfully, there is not even the pretense of such an attempt. The artworks belong mostly to well-established and familiar names of the art fraternity of the city and the nation at large. The... [more]

Man Weaver Studio Center   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Donna Todd at Weavers Studio Center of Arts May 21st, 2010 - June 1st, 2010
Posted 5/31/10

“Calcutta Rescue” is a voluntary organization founded in the UK by Dr. Jack Preger in 1979, committed to the task of, as the name clearly suggests, “rescuing” Calcutta. It has a number of altruistic functions to its credit ranging from offering medical treatment to those who cannot afford it, to providing literacy to the underprivileged.  Calcutta has always been a city of incongruities, a disparity that has only grown more glaring in the phase of post-globalization, so that alongside in... [more]

Devotees_rushing_the_khandoba__palkhi__in_a_frenzied_state_o Faith Revisited   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Fawzan Husain at The Seagull Foundation for the Arts April 17th, 2010 - April 27th, 2010
Posted 5/3/10

        The quest for unraveling the illusive mystique of ‘faith’ has been attempted by many, in ways that have often bordered on the bizarre. Fawzan Husain’s photographic odyssey seeks to convey how the “appetite for the divine,” to quote Lucien Febvre, leads humankind to blind, irrational and frenzied excesses. Ironically, it is this very fanaticism of ‘faith’ that allows people, in spite of themselves, to transcend the exclusive strictures of religious allegiance that otherwise bind them. Husa... [more]

Sigmar_polke-5 Polke's Polkas   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Sigmar Polke at The Centre of International Modern Art April 21st, 2010 - May 8th, 2010
Posted 4/28/10

      Despite the sweltering heat, April has not been so cruel to Calcutta after all.  Some of the best works of the legendary Sigmar Polke are showing at the CIMA Art Gallery in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut.  The title of the show, “Music from an Unknown Source,” is borrowed from the caption of a Polke painting.  The show affords Calcutta the opportunity to view from up-close, not just Polke’s art, but also the politics that he either sought to promote or counter through his works. Sigm... [more]

Farhad_5134 Eclectic in Kolkata   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Samir Aich, Alok Bal, A. Balasubramaniam, Sumitro Basak, Jyoti Bhatt, Shreyasi Chatterjee, Jogen Chowdhury, Partha Pratim Deb, Atul Dodiya, Jaya Ganguly, Gopal Ghosh, M. F. Husain, Farhad Hussain, Jitish Kallat, Paresh Maity, Veer Munshi, Baiju Parthan, Ganesh Pyne, Kingshuk Sarkar, Rashmi Bagchi Sarkar, Mayank Kumar Shyam, Arpita Singh, Sanjeev Sonpimpare, Ram Singh Urveti at The Centre of International Modern Art February 24th, 2010 - April 3rd, 2010
Posted 3/30/10

        The current show at CIMA entitled ‘Symbols and Metaphors’ is an ensemble of 47 pieces by 27 artists from across India, whose works are knit together by the common theme of depicting “a subjective reality” through an “objective symbol.”  Considered from that perspective, the semiotics of this visual extravaganza cover a broad canvas of issues both contemporary and timeless.The participating artists, Hussain, Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, Samir Aich, and Paresh Maity among others, comprise... [more]

Db7b25e0 Sporting Art   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Dileep Sharma at Bose Pacia Kolkata February 13th, 2010 - March 28th, 2010
Posted 3/15/10

        “Larger than life” that is the first impression that Dileep Sharma’s latest body of work invokes. Bright flat colours scream for attention, bold against pristine white backgrounds. Technically and stylistically, this show represents a remarkable feat for an artist who started out as a printmaker. Indeed, as Sharma says, it is a conscious shift. Thematically, Sharma’s sports figure subjects are uber-contemporary, oozing pop-iconic charm. The artist manages, with his effortlessly smoo... [more]

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