The Art of Chess

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Untitled, 2003
Everywhere I go I realise a poet has been there before me, 2008
Mental Escapology, 2003
Chess Set, 2008 © Tracey Emin
Untitled, 2005
Pumpkin Chess, 2003
Amorphous Organic, 2009 5000 Year Old Bog Oak, Light Box, Glass, Battery, Brass, Copal, Resin, Insects 32 Chess Pieces: Tallest 8.5 X 5cm, Smallest 4 X 3.5cm Table 73cm 70cm X 70cm © Alastair Mackie / All Visual Arts
Chess Set for Tesla, 2008
Kitchen Set, 2003
Modern Chess Set, 2005
Over There in the Bushes, 2005
Eye for an Eye, 2005
The Art of Chess
Curated by: Julia Royse

Queens Mansion, G.T. Marg,
Near Cathedral School, Fort,
400001 Mumbai
December 14th, 2009 - January 29th, 2010
Opening: December 14th, 2009 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

+91 22 6171 5757
11 : 00 am - 7 : 00 pm
In association with the British Council, In collaboration with RS&A Ltd.


The Art of Chess

In collaboration with RS&A Ltd., London

In association with the British Council


Opening reception: Monday 14 December 2009 7 – 9 pm

Exhibition: Tuesday 15 December 2009 – 29 January 2010


On view will be sixteen recently commissioned chess sets created by: Maurizio Cattelan, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Oliver Clegg, Tracey Emin, Tom Friedman, Paul Fryer, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger, Paul Mc Carthy, Alastair Mackie, Matthew Ronay, Sudarshan Shetty, Tunga, Gavin Turk and Rachel Whiteread.


Gallery BMB, Mumbai and RS&A Ltd, a London-based company who has been dedicated to producing innovative projects with contemporary artists, are pleased to present The Art of Chess. This is an incredible exhibition, which has been brought to India in association with the British Council. It has previously been shown in prestigious institutions and museums such as Somerset House in London, the Reykjavik museum, Iceland, and is on route to museums in Prague, Australia and China.


The show features sixteen chess sets created by some of the world's leading contemporary artists, most of whom have never exhibited in India, in a celebration of the game and its continued relevance to the creative arts.


We are delighted to be bringing this exhibition to India, since it is commonly believed to be the birthplace of chess around the 7th Century. After reaching Arab countries, it spread all over Europe during the 10th Century. No other game in history has been so widely reflected in art and literature. Due to its conceptual depth and deep roots in civilization, chess remains an intriguing and complex subject for the artist. The infinite incantations of chess sets throughout history, which have closely followed artistic movements, is a testament to this. The Art of Chess exhibition demonstrates that the game has lost none of its inspirational power in the 21st century and that it continues to be an optimal means for artistic expression in its contemporary interpretation.


Rachel Whiteread set out to pursue her love of dollhouses when creating her Modern Chess Set. The set is made up of meticulous casts of the artist's own dollhouse furniture and is packaged in a custom-made games box. The board reflects the overall design with linoleum and carpet squares.


Tom Friedman's chess set is equally intricate and playful setting out to be a mini-retrospective of the artist's best known works including a rook made out of a Crest toothpaste packaging, a miniature portrait of the artist carved out of Styrofoam and a plastic cup full of gravel and made out of Play-Doh. The board itself takes the form of a wooden table and is accompanied by two severed tree trunks as seats.


Barbara Kruger's chess set includes pieces that are mini speakers so that when each one is moved it either asks a question or gives an answer. The conversation has endless possibilities.


The British Council’s goal is to see the UK and India working closely together across the whole spectrum of arts and creative industries: the partnership between Gallery BMB and RS&A is a great example of that. Moreover, the exhibition itself, featuring leading artists from the UK alongside counterparts from Italy, Brazil, USA, Japan, and now India, is a wonderful illustration of cultural relations in action and the magic of creative collaboration.

Gallery BMB will be organising a series of gallery talks, school visits, chess tournaments and educational programmes to accompany this extraordinary exhibition. A catalogue with interviews with the artists will also be available.

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