The story of the first Kochi Muziris Biennale could quite well have been a Bollywood film plot, so melodramatic was its December 2012 inauguration (12/12/12). It battled fund crunching fires, technical spills, and bad press before emerging as a hero, hailed as a new format of biennale making. The biennale was established by two artists, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, who, in the decades contemporary art came into its own in India, went where no one had been before. Like the quintessential h... [more]
Recently exhibited at Galleryskye, New Delhi, Avinash Veeraraghavan and Pieter Schoolwerth's works, We Don't See What Things Are, We See What We Are and Your Vacuum Sucks interrogate the notion of multiple subjectivities and fragmented selves.
Avinash Veeraraghavan; Courtesy Galleryskye, Delhi
Veeraraghavan's dense, intricate visual collages are mind/memoryscapes dotted with personal signifiers that document the explosion of signs and symbols one constantly encounters nowadays. Veeraragh... [more]
In Rati Chakravyuh, filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak presents several conceits. A single take of 102 minutes in a 105-minute film, screened as a very large projection at Chatterjee & Lal, has Rati, the Goddess of Love in Hindu mythology explored as the notion of desire through the ages, and Chakravyuh (a military formation mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata that consists of a labyrinth of concentric circles) used as a defense mechanism. It’s a gauntlet that Avikunthak throws down from the sta... [more]
“ … cruel WorksOf many wheels I view,Wheel without wheel,with cogs tyrannic.Moving by compulsion each other:not as those in Eden:which wheel within wheel in freedomrevolve in harmony and peace.”
These words by William Blake accompany Meera Devidayal’s installation The Silent Wheel in her solo exhibition A Terrible Beauty at Chemould Prescott Road. One reads them with the accompanying headphones on and a song plays, the kind sung by black Southern plantation workers, slave... [more]
Pablo Bartholomew’s The Calcutta Diaries at Sakshi Gallery takes you back in time: literally, through photographs taken in the city in the ‘70s, and artistically, from a time when photojournalism was a hallmark of magazines like LIFE and National Geographic. Its transition today into the gallery space elicits two stories, one of a lost Calcutta—its very name has changed—and one of the place for contemporary photojournalistic photography itself.
In an age of pre-digital dissem... [more]
It would seem Nandita Kumar believes in immersive environments. Perhaps her migratory existence – travelling between Mauritius, India, the U.S.A., New Zealand – has something to do with this; certainly she creates a world of her own in her artworks, locating them in the strongly individual, a flighty virtual space or an earthy community commons.
Her previous work may appear diverse in expression. Spearheading a women’s project in Dharavi (a well known slum in Mumbai, made famous... [more]
The Whole Truth - Lawrence Abu Hamdan by Himali Singh Soin Caroline Bergvall, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, KP Jayasankar, Amar Kanwar, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, Anjali Monteiro, Pallavi Paul, Mithu Sen at KHOJ International Artists' Association
January 15th, 2014 - February 15th, 2014
You avert your eyes when I ask you if you're really no longer in love with those that broke your heart. You twitch a little after you've stolen, heave and churn inside before accepting that job you don't want. It is the gap between the truth and your realisation of it that makes for dramatic irony, that makes for the narratives within which you swallow and strut through life. And if you lived sensitively, the truth – the direction of the grain upon which it's all written – reveals itself.... [more]
Also the real thing was created by the theatre directors Boris Nikitin and Zuleikha Chaudhari as a performances component of Insert 2014.
Insert 2014 is a series of installations and lectures that navigate the in-betweenness of our grand, idealistic, metaphoric and harsher, earthlier, immediate realities. It is curated by Raqs Media Collective.
Also the real thing is a pathway, a process. Navigating multiple dialectics, the performance, in which the viewer has no choice but to be complicit, navigates two types of buildings, an auditorium in which stories are... [more]
There’s a glut on in the city of talks and exhibitions on the Parsis, one of the most fascinating slices of India’s multi-ingredient cultural cake. At the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), is a dual exhibition: On the top level is the modern and contemporary ‘No Parsi is an Island’ curated by cultural theorists Nancy Adajania and Ranjit Hoskote; the majority of the space, however, is taken up by an exhibition which is more historical and ethnographical, which makes some... [more]
This interview was originally published on ArtSlant India.
New Delhi, Sept. 2011: Princess Pea's art is her life, dramatically heightened by her intriguing performed persona (whilst we corresponded, she was often taking her ‘beauty sleep,' much to Agent Bob’s chagrin) and outrageous and surprising body of work.
I emailed her asking if I could interview her for ArtSlant. Here is the response I received:
The Princess is in Tokyo right now; amazed at the speed of the trains. She won... [more]
Gallery Lakeeren is a spare, compact space. But over the years one has come to expect to spend a longer time at the gallery than the time it should take to negotiate this small space. Gallerist Arshiya Lokhandwala brings her training in art history into every show she curates, making this one of the handful of galleries where the vision and execution of ideas come cohesively from within.
In the current show, ‘Transcendental Evocations’, the first show of contemporary Mexican art in t... [more]
Walking into Jhaveri Contemporary and encountering Mrinalini Mukherjee’s bronzes in the eponymous show ‘Bronze’, one is disoriented; are we on another planet? Not because of a space reorientation in this small, pristine gallery, but by the exhibits, displayed on utilitarian shelves and plinths. Fantastical, writhing objects gleam – what are they? Treasures unearthed from an ancient civilization? Birthing forms that are caught in motion? Hybrids derived from flora and faun... [more]
Watching Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity in the same week as Neha Choksi’s twelve-minute video work Iceboat at Project 88 loaded the words ‘gravity’ and ‘freefall’ with imagery that will take a lifetime to erase. Cuaron’s exemplary outer space drama, which sets new standards cinematically, played with the notion of gravity, rather, the lack of it – erasure as the primary gesture is brought home in the last scene. When Sandra Bullock’s Dr Ryan Stone grapples wit... [more]
In Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’, Tehranian Simin (Leila Hatami), the female protagonist, wants to leave Iran for a country that will provide more opportunities for her daughter. Nader (Peyman Moaadi), her husband, refuses; his ailing father needs to be looked after. The film opens with the couple facing the camera head on, wanting a separation, arguing their case in front of a magistrate.
At Gallery Lakeeren, Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian, choosing to... [more]
French artist Camille Henrot spins fantasies; in her solo show The Strife of Love in a Dream at Jhaveri Contemporary, she’s more the charmer drawing one in than the snakes she films. First, a series of ink drawings don’t just spellbind, but weave a phantasmagoria of curious constructs in curious engagements. Next, in a sharply woven tapestry, with sibilant dexterity, she takes the outsider view of exotic India, of snakes and faith, by its horns, and turns it inside out with a clever... [more]
"Flossed" Over. by Deepika Sorabjee Tayeba Begum Lipi, Promotesh Das Pulak, Mahbubur Rahman, Molla Sagar, Anisuzzaman Sohel at The Guild Art Gallery
July 31st, 2013 - September 30th, 2013
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” —Toni Morrison, Beloved
Bangladeshi visual artist Naeem Mohaiemen is well known in the Indian art world, having shown at Kolkatta’s Experimenter and having been exhibited internationally. While comfortable with showing his art in West Bengal, he has expressed his exhaustion with the audiences reminiscing over their abandoned homes in East Bengal, which became East Pakistan in 1947 and Bang... [more]