Himali Singh Soin

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Seher India/American CentreLIC BuildingConnaught PlaceNew Delhi  110001November  26th  2010   It’s a life-affirming day: the sun is out, the air is chilly, and the centre of Delhi is buzzing like a cicada. There are folks eating from street stalls, some hop busily on and off the metro, others shop, or simply walk. Music emanates from the Life Insurance Corporation’s building as five dancers from San Francisco prepare themselves to dance, parallel to the surface of the building: defying laws... [more]
The Black Spot   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Kazi Nasir at Latitude 28 November 20th, 2010 - December 12th, 2010
Posted 11/29/10
Tiny black specks spread like wild multiplying ants, across desolate landscapes, up pillars, into oceans, swarming the canvases and seemingly leaping up the walls of the gallery Latitude 28 till it sinks to the equator-- in the jarring glare of the sun the voice of truth, an alarming illumination of the violence and isolation that has consumed the world and left it brittle and crumbling. Kazi Nasir’s foreboding art utilizes a man-made medium—acrylics—to portray the destruction of man and all... [more]
              -Christopher Priest The PledgeA disappearance, by virtue of its negative ‘dis,’ implies a prior existence, and then an active process of erasure.  Such is the cycle of all things perishable: birth, existence, decay and finally ah—yes—a disappearance. A disappearance is not equivalent to a death—it is simply a seizure, an erasure, a re-creation. The idea of ‘making things disappear’ began when, on one of the first days at The Bengaluru Artist Residency, we discussed the... [more]
Art Celebrates 2010!   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Yusuf Arakkal, Jayasri Burman, Arpana Caur, Jogen Chowdhury, Apurva Desai, Pooja Iranna, Krishen Khanna, Gopi Krishna, Paresh Maity, Anjolie Ela Menon at Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries - New Delhi October 3rd, 2010 - October 15th, 2010
Posted 11/1/10
      Delhi is an old city; even popular depictions portray dusty streets silhouetted in cycle rickshaws and imperial columns. It is also a quiet city, its air of solemnity punctuated only by the newspaperman’s calls to begin the day with politics, debate and the overheard at yesterday afternoon’s luncheon. A green ridge forms the penumbra of this tree-capped city, its shadows dancing with bygone classical rhythms up the thick stone walls of an old fort, a tomb, a mosque, a ruin. This is,... [more]
CWG Grafitti   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 11/1/10
                The slick whitewashed walls of the Lalit Kala Academi’s exhibition on ‘Sports and the City’ leaks / between the cracks left by inefficient plumbing / onto the streets. An aggressive agitation bleeds onto the crumbling cement walls of Delhi as pockets of anonymous groups form to publicly subvert—with text—the text that adorns our new, "cleansed" city: Commonwealth Games 2010. Over the past year, numerous symbolic spaces have been transformed with anti-CWG slogans:... [more]
              The stage-- the holy stage-- the suspension of disbelief-- the deliberation of spontaneity-the only space where the intellect contains the body.The body. Molded and contorted and twisted and turned into shape and shapelessness, breath—in and out—and form. The body speaks. The body that endures, that sweats, that tears, the body that is vulnerable to time, the corporeal, the mortal.The fine arts—sculpture, painting, drawing, etching—alone must use objects and implements to... [more]
Art From Behind Bars (an exhibition of artworks created by incarcerated criminals) Organized by Kavita Shivdisani In association with bCA Gallery, Mumbai         The sky above is a navy moleskin. Down below, a drum beats. A clang opens an iron door, a tin bowl of sour lentils is placed near a silhouetted figure. Time swells, scraping like a file on metal. Distant shrieks and heavy boots punctuate the thick cold steel bars that cut and tear the drooping figure into long, bent chunks of... [more]
    May your feet always be swift,May you have a strong foundation,When the winds of changes shift. Joan Baez’s voice lilts and quavers this hymn of community, of compassion and of the preservation of the mind and the spirit and its art, as I reflect upon my day with Anjum Rana and Ustaad Haider Ali, truck artists from Lahore. Baez’s lyrics begin to transcend place and culture and resonate within the brightly painted boxes and pots that have fought for their visas and crossed borders to... [more]
Advaita-- Unity amidst Contradiction   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Basic Love of Things (B.L.O.T.) at Triveni Kala Sangam April 29th, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Posted 5/10/10
        Known for its purist aesthetics, the grey walls of Triveni Kala Sangam shake a little with the young—seemingly irreverent—visual reverberations inside.  “Basic Love of Things (B.L.O.T.),” a duo comprised of Avinash Kumar and Gaurav Malakar, create and collect visuals inspired by EveryWhere, EveryMan, EveryThing: they have, as indeed their name suggests, a very elemental love of things. All of life is their palette as they edit and collate images from television, pop culture, films,... [more]
Black Transport   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Navjot Altaf, Sheba Chhachhi, Sohei Iwata, Namrata Mehta, Aliya Pabani, Tejas Pande, Andrea Polli, Chuck Varga at KHOJ International Artists' Association April 9th, 2010 - April 16th, 2010
Posted 4/19/10
        The creativity of auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, truckers, and trolley carriers is born in the waiting time that constitutes the transportation industry. In between jobs, they adorn their vehicles with painted images of gods and superstitious objects like lemon and chilies to ward off evil, with chips and toffee wrappers to add color, and with advertisements, till their vehicle by day, and often their place of rest at night, is their own. Filled with color and a renewed hope amidst... [more]
Empathy is a feeling of compassion outside of our own bodies. The idea is that if my arm were numb, and you were pinched, I’d feel the pain. This distinction between you and me blurs when our conscious mind is overwhelmed by some other external factor. We thus move beyond sympathy, where we understand another’s pain, towards empathy, where we assume the other’s pain. I step out of an auto, as the late afternoon heat sticks to my cheeks. My auto driver demands an extra 10 for hobbling through... [more]
A Tale of Two Cities   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Navjot Altaf at The Guild Art Gallery February 18th, 2010 - April 5th, 2010
Posted 4/5/10
      Navot Altaf's exhibition, “A Place in New York,” at first indicates physical spaces: roads, crossings, waterways, parks, bridges, subways, restaurants, museums.  But each photograph of such places is juxtaposed with another identical one, featuring a person of any age, race or class superimposed onto it. The photographs are manifestly ‘digital’, manipulated to effect a ‘negative’: the dualities of night and day, a photograph and a non-photograph, of spaces and of culture, and finally... [more]
The word “process” necessarily implies transformation: a change from one form to another, typically in a forward moving direction (to proceed). The words “transformation” and “direction” indicate Time, that this change involves a certain time period in order to metamorphose from caterpillar to butterfly. This piece chronicles a process about instinct, intuition, gut. There was no time to edit, change, cut, redo. The aesthetic in mind was popular, kitsch, colorful, humorous. I received a call... [more]
The Giraffes, by Campaign OFF Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, New Delhi Janurary 29th -- 31st 2010 Giant—actually, life-sized—coral-hued, lycra-and-wire puppet giraffes traipse through the layers of fountains and floors at the Select Citywalk Mall. The usual horizon of a pale blue sky and its setting sun assumes a new silhouette, with long, ambulatory, slender figures wandering through it, as heavenly bodies that reach from earth to sky. The city becomes, with the new and gentle inhabitation of... [more]
'Long as You Can See the Light   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Prayas Abhinav, Riyas Komu, Tejal Shah & Varsha Nair, Swapnaa Tamhane, Asim Waqif at Seven Art Limited January 15th, 2010 - February 14th, 2010
Posted 2/8/10
      You step into a room as white and stainless as the background of this page, and recoil as the canvases pierce out from the serenity of their host walls  Their sharp, jagged, raw, skeletal angles converge right between your eyes, krishsh: you have been shot. You die and are reborn: Asim Waqif’s sculptural canvases are simultaneously jarring and hopeful.  In “Build-Quake” above, he utilizes museum board to create a protrusion from the canvas, such that its normally flat layout forms a... [more]
    Benaras, Kashi, or Varanasi, the oldest city of the world, is created by the crescent-shaped Ganges river that meanders through it, providing relief, space, redemption from the twisted alleyways that press down from above the ghats. Stepping into Benaras feels as though you have traveled in a time machine into the past: no glass buildings, no Nike shoes, no laptops disturb this vision. The people of this ancient city spend their lives in Hindu devotion, believing that dying in Benaras... [more]
Chic in design, with overhead lights and minimalist black furniture, CMYK is a new “concept bookstore” in Delhi’s as-yet-unmodernized Meher Chand market. The bookstore, begun by the Roli Books publishers, holds a unique selection of art, architecture, design and culture books.  The collections include works on photography, the performing arts, art monographs, travel, lifestyle, erotica, specialty cookbooks, fashion, gardening, and a selected collection of fiction, non-fiction and... [more]
Child's Play   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Tarun Chhabra at India Habitat Centre - Convention Foyer December 27th, 2009 - February 4th, 2010
Posted 1/4/10
Tarun Chhabra’s photographs are at once still and replete with action. Ever since he received a fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, he has made photography a passion, a profession, and a means to communicate and transform the condition of children on the street. Chhabra uses movement, light, water, color, and eyes to communicate mood and the social life of everyday people who depends on religion and street smarts to survive. The photographs bleed with beauty and emotion both... [more]
The Politics of Space: echoing voices on cotton wool walls   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
PHASE 2, Cripta, JonOne, Olivier Kosta-Thélaine, Barry McGee, Nug, Part One, Evan Roth, SEEN, Boris Tellegen (Delta), Basco Vazko, Vitché, Gérard Zlotykamien at Fondation Cartier July 7th, 2009 - January 10th, 2010
Posted 11/29/09
        Giant leviathans have dunked their claws into thick chemical pigment, and have traversed, torn, bombed the walls of Boulevard Raspail in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, scaling the glass rims of Fondation Cartier and its neighbouring walls, parking lots, garbage bins, lamp posts and benches… Or so it seems, until you inch closer and detect language and empathetic human voices in these markings.  The ets graffiti show at the Fondation Cartier attempts, extrinsically as well as in... [more]
Flying too close to the sun: recycling plastic wings   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Régis-R, Denis Robert at Galerie W Eric Landau September 24th, 2009 - November 30th, 2009
Posted 11/27/09
  Whimsical, out of proportion, irreverent, bright, asphyxiating and cynical. Régis-R's monumental installations lend a new, contemporary, kitschy semblance to the eloquence of Parisian art and culture. He calls himself the ‘Prince of Plastique’, recycling plastic into lamps, curtains, chairs, tables, skeletons, guns, bursting with an abundance of color, material, light, plastic. He utilizes waste in our ‘over-consumption society’: medicine bottles, jerry cans, syringes, water bottles,... [more]
Amidst the wireless internet, quadraphonic sounds, fast cars, and mobile updates of India’s technological revolution, there is a blind, almost irrational faith in larger, invisible forces; in myths and legends of flying monkeys and saris made of endless cloth to mask the shame of a wife; in miracles of Ganesh statues drinking milk; in the mortal hope of the Goddess Laxmi visiting every home with glimmering coins and eternal prosperity. It follows thus, that if your mode of transportation is... [more]
Noise and Anonymity   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Sohan Jakhar at Arushi Arts - Okhla October 10th, 2009 - November 9th, 2009
Posted 11/2/09
The anonymous lives of street vendors and their carts are mobilized with uncanny visual effects by Sohan Jakhar’s series ‘Vendorism.’ As the coined term suggests, Jakhar views these omnipresent stalls with the eye of an intellectual (the ‘ism’) observer from afar; this is reflected in the angles of the subjects in the foreground and the uncanny sense of the viewer lurking just outside the canvas’ frame.   Jakhar takes photographs of vendors then Photoshops them against the colorful backgrounds... [more]
Good Luck Hair and Honesty Sweets: Everyman's Hope and Humor   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Nilofer Suleman at Art Musings October 14th, 2009 - November 7th, 2009
Posted 11/1/09
Bursting with color, emotion and sympathetic irony, ‘Sulemani Chai’ captures the everyday kitsch of India through the eyes of the series’ recurring characters and their desires, dilemmas and decisions. Nilofer Suleman’s acrylics on canvas explode with humor−employing language and archetype as comedic tools−and deep-seated hope. Her exhibit seems to hypothesize that the survival of Everyman in India is contingent upon three main mediums: God, money and Bollywood. In locating the heart of India... [more]
You enter into an old palace of a king and queen who were long ago buried in history. As you walk through the archway, the temperature drops, there are trees everywhere, and a sprawling garden, divided in four, unfolds before you in healing green. Modern and contemporary sculptures, conceptual, yet artfully crafted, line the edges of the garden. Under a tree, you notice a group of artists chatting: they see you and invite you to sit with them. Someone miraculously appears with a teapot and tiny... [more]
A Twist of Fate   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Manoj Kumar at Dilli Haat September 27th, 2009 - October 4th, 2009
Posted 9/27/09
Manoj Kumar sits on a fraying straw mat in a shady corner between the more established terracotta brick stalls of Dilli Haat, a constructed, cobbled village that invites artists and craftsmen from around the country to display their work, rotating every fortnight. He cuts away at painted grass, wedging it, with precision and sensitivity, into a bamboo basket. Then, with nimble fingers and astute eyes, he twists brightly colored satin ribbons into tiny roses—the size of marbles—and sets them... [more]