The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Gallery Skedevi Dehli
The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India

701 Mission St.
94103 San Francisco
October 15th, 2011 - January 29th, 2012
Opening: October 14th, 2011 9:30 PM - 11:00 PM

Union Square/Civic Center
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 11-6; Thu 11-8
photography, video-art, sculpture
Opening Night Party Oct 14, 2011: $5 advance; $7 at the door; FREE for YBCA members*


Gallery 1, Gallery 2 & Anteroom

The Matter Within—Opening Night Party
Oct 14, 2011 9:30pm
Grand Lobby
$5 advance; $7 at the door; FREE for YBCA members*

If you thought 8pm was a little early to start an Opening Night Party, then tonight’s the night for you! Join your fellow nocturnal revelers at YBCA as we celebrate the unveiling of The Matter Within with performances and dancing lessons from the Non Stop Bhangra crew, an interactive Rangoli ceremony with Monica Henderson, and “Cadre,” a Matter Within-themed smartphone game designed by the gaming geniuses at Groundcrew! Stay tuned for details, but get limbered up for some serious dancing in the meantime!

YBCA Members: please login before completing your online order, or call the YBCA Box Office at 415-978-ARTS (2787).

As contemporary art becomes more widely recognized within India, there has also been a growing awareness of its international development and impact. YBCA is pleased to present The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India, an exhibition of sculpture, photography and video by artists of India living inside the country as well as in the diaspora. Inspired by material culture, literature, spirituality, and social and political aspects of the history of the South Asian region, the exhibition is organized around three thematic threads that resonate from contemporary India—embodiment, the politics of communicative bodies and the imaginary. Of particular interest are the artistic practices that either incorporate these concepts or operate within a gap between these existing thematic categories. Whereas sculpture and painting have a long history within both sacred and secular traditions of Indian art, in recent years photography and video have emerged as significant media as well.

Until very recently, contemporary Indian photography has had little exposure in the United States. With a focus on “straight” and staged approaches, the photographic works utilize either reality-based settings—such as the informal street shoot or a formal portrait—or constructed realities and imaginary personas. These photographs merge the vision of the artist with the social dynamics of India’s vast cultural landscape to create a revealing narrative of contemporary life in an ever globalizing world.

Sculpture has a long tradition within both sacred and secular art of India, and its rich legacy of materiality and iconography has had an impact on contemporary art. Human and animal bodies continue to play an important role in new perspectives on nationhood as well as on ancient pasts. This is evident in an adherence to traditional forms as well as in expanded imagery and physical forms signaling the future.

Some of the video works provide a unique window into the lives of ordinary people. The artists are able to extract poignant and powerful narratives from complex situations, offering alternative forms of storytelling. Video also provides an opportunity for shaping multi-referential narratives examining contemporary conditions such as displacement and community formation, unlikely personages and lost artistic legacies, often against the backdrop of colonialism and other forms of occupation.

Working with ideas that are both highly personal and representative of the shifts and changes taking place in the global sphere, these artists are navigating the complex routes between the historical past and the present, fact and fiction, or new and old identities, during a period of societal flux. As India continues its expansion on the world economic stage, the work of its artists will become an even more widely acknowledged vehicle for expressing new ways of being that are hard to convey outside the terms that art provides. This exhibition hopes to further this potential by contributing to a better and deeper understanding of current shifts and their emotional, intellectual and spiritual effects on the artists and their communities, as well as the potential for representing new aspirations.

Artists include Ayisha Abraham, Rina Banerjee, CAMP, Nikhil Chopra, Anita Dube, Gauri Gill, Shilpa Gupta, Sunil Gupta, Siddhartha Kararwal, Dhruv Malhotra, The Otolith Group, Sreshta Premnath, Pushpamala N., Raqs Media Collective, Tejal Shah, Sudarhan Shetty, Bharat Sikka, Anup Mathew Thomas, and Thukral and Tagra.

Save your ticket for $2 off admission to Maharaja at the Asian Art Museum
The Matter Within will be on view simultaneously with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco's presentation of the Maharajaexhibition touring from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, on view in from October 21, 2011 through April 8, 2012.

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Maharaja:The Splendor of India's Royal Courts
October 21, 2011 – April 8, 2012

The word maharaja (literally "great king") conjures up images of spectacle. The heyday of the maharajas began in earnest after the collapse of the Mughal empire in the early eighteenth century. The exhibition opens with this period of chaos and adventure and closes with the end of British rule in 1947, when the Indian princes' territories were incorporated into the modern states of India and Pakistan.

The show will explore the extraordinary culture of princely India, showcasing rich and varied objects that reflect different aspects of royal life. On display will be both Indian and Western works, featuring paintings, photography, textiles and dress, jewelry, jeweled objects, metalwork and furniture.
These sensational works will be explored within a broader historical context of princely life and ideals, patronage, court culture, and alliances. The Asian Art Museum is the first U.S. venue for this exhibition.

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