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 - September 30th
“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]
It is interesting to note that in the title of German artist Mario Pfeifer's film 'A Formal Film in Nine Episodes: Prologue and Epilogue' at Project 88, the place eludes mention. Pfeifer films Mumbai, eschewing the Indo Gothic silhouettes, the sweep of bay, or Marine Drive, that recur in Bollywood films. The margins of urbanization he locates us in could have been in any city in India.
Two other artists showing in the city offer a comparative look at Pfeiferâ's responses to location, famil... [more]
Last year, Mumbai Gallery Weekend (hosted by the nine participating galleries, Chatterjee & Lal, Chemould Prescott Road, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Gallery Maskara, The Guild, Lakeeren, Project 88, Sakshi Gallery and Volte Gallery) took art from the art district stronghold of Colaba to the suburbs. Converting a banquet room into a white cube at the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra, artworks were showcased to a newer audience. Was that audience converted? Did the gamble bring in new buyers o... [more]
Nothing is Absolute: A Journey through Abstraction at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya, a show of abstraction in Indian art curated by artist Mehlli Gobhai and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote, is rich with indigenous ideas that existed around modernity and abstraction in a post colonial India.
Twenty-eight paintings from the Jehangir Nicholson Collection are arranged such that, in a quick glance, one can take in a substantial story. A layered... [more]
12/12/12 saw India's first art biennale open in Kochi. Spectacular artworks in incredible spaces came up amid chaos and uncertainty. Quite unlike the slick efficiency that we associate with the now well established India Art Fair. It's nice to have both, the chaos of creativity in the inception of a biennale, and the efficiency of private enterprise cementing a successful art fair in its fifth edition this year at the NSIC Exhibition grounds from the 1-3 February, with the VIP opening on 31st J... [more]
Kiran Subbaiah has oft in the past featured himself in his videos, as he does in his newest solo show, Narcissicon. Over time (and Narcissicon has taken fourteen years), his various avatars could not be contained - choosing a single channel video as a format, his newest work splits the other Subbaiah's dreams, fantasies, playful stagings merging into a concatenation of droll events that explore the theme of narcissism, but ironically, the work never really takes itself too seriously.
There is... [more]
Waqas Khan seems to pick tense political times to show in Mumbai, in 2010 at Gallery Lakeeren, as a court verdict on a contentious demolition of the Babri Masjid (mosque) was to be delivered and this time, as the leader of a Hindu right-wing political party passed away. At both times, Hindu- Muslim communal harmony prevailed. Waqas Khan must bring the Sufi contemplation and meditative ways that inform his practice with him to the city, calming tempers in volatile situations.
Trained in the Miniature Style at th... [more]
Late September saw a week of photography in Mumbai - shows and talks. At the National Centre of Performing Arts, Mumbai photographers Ketaki Sheth and David Desouza, and Magnum photographer Abbas, spoke about their work. Judith Mara Gutman, whose book, Through Indian Eyes, was one of the first that told the story of indigenous Indian photographers, spoke at length, about how pictures were taken, sourced and archived. For photography enthusiasts it was a primer to FOCUS Festival Mumbai that will be held over a fortnight in March 201... [more]
As I rang the bell at The Guild -- this strange Mumbai procedure for a gallery in landlord-owned rented spaces -- it struck me that it was a Monday. Were they shut? Luckily the door opened and the two-story climb up a tourist-infested Colaba building with an erstwhile dubious reputation is worth it. Prajakta Potnis' world is anything but seedy. I love this profound contrast in senses that Mumbai assaults one with. Compared with any other city, the magnitude of the assault is incomparable and the... [more]
In 2003, Arshiya Lokhandwala pulled down Gallery Lakeeren's shutters in Juhu, a suburb of Mumbai and in those days an unlikely place for a contemporary art gallery. She headed off to Goldsmith for an M.A. in Curating. She then went further, to Ithaca, NY to obtain her Ph.D in History of Art from Cornell University. Returning to Mumbai six years later, she re-opened her gallery doors, this time in Colaba, amidst a gradually forming art district in South Mumbai.
Always innovative, just being a gal... [more]
In an essay, social-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai described the frenzy of building works in post-war Iraq as 'weapons of mass construction.' This could well describe the current situation in India. Artist Avantika Bawa uses the arsenal of evidence present in construction sites in Mumbai and Delhi, and brings the frenzy into the gallery. In her minimal gestures within the gallery, the frenzy is organised; soaring to Gallery Maskara's warehouse heights or just skimming the poured concrete... [more]