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 Pfeifer’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 layere... [more]
The metaphor for ‘images’ as mentally stored visual representations – the metaphorics of actual pictures carried around in our heads – appear to be most truly illustrated by photographic pictures carried around in our pockets.
~ Ansel Haverkamp
A friend of the artist Hajra Waheed once handed her a set of postcards that had been taken by his grandfather capturing his various travels. These were mere photographs, not ‘postcards’ in the sense of a souvenir. Waheed’s fascinatio... [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 31s... [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 Subbaiahs – 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.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India’s inaugural biennale, features the work of ninety-four artists from twenty-three countries in sixty exhibition spaces, spread mainly across Fort Kochi, a quaint suburb of the historic port city of Kochi. Here, large disused spice warehouses, ‘Chinese’ shore-based fishing nets, the church that once housed Vasco da Gama’s remains, Rajah Veera Kerala Varma’s palace and a sixteenth century Jewish synagogue serve as architectural reminders of Kochi’s place in... [more]
2012 was an eventful and exciting year on the Indian art calendar, from Mumbai to Delhi, Kolkata to Bangalore. Here’s ArtSlant’s favourites from 2012, spanning from old masters to new media.
Yoko Ono’s first ever exhibition in India opened at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
Yoko Ono may be a relic from times long forgotten but her appeal to what is humane within us is still stirring. Her ideas of "peace", "beauty" and "healing the world through women's power" might be appeali... [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]
Rooted by Paroma Maiti Angeliki Inglessi at Ganges Art Gallery
October 31st, 2012 - November 20th, 2012
Way back in 1992, the famous Indian actor-playwright Girish Karnad had directed a movie called ‘Cheluvi’ based on a Kannada folktale. The protagonist was a woman who possessed mystical powers that allowed her to turn into a tree when water was poured on her; a tree that bore flowers with a fragrance so unique and bewitching that selling those flowers became lucrative for her family, who from then on, went on selfishly turning her back and forth into a tree and a woman at their convenience – comp... [more]
Lace Cracks by Paroma Maiti Prajakta Potnis at EXPERIMENTER
September 21st, 2012 - November 3rd, 2012
An entire wall at Experimenter Art Gallery is bare, save for a few cracks – likely to appear on walls of old homes as a result perhaps of moisture, hammering or just the passage of time. However, such cracks are MOST unlikely to appear on the walls of one of the ritziest galleries of the city. Naturally, therefore, I’d passed it up initially for other walls, adorned with blown-up photographs of installations. We’ll return to those in a bit. But first the wall with the cracks: or, rather,... [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]
There is something eerie and disquieting about Procheta Mukherjee’s images. Not that they are macabre or violent in either conception or execution. And yet, the dark subliminal undertone in her works lends them their distinctly esoteric quality. As the young artist remarked: “My images are coloured and fired by my subconscious, dark and scary sometimes and playful at others...They exist in a dreamlike state, hovering on the brink of darkness and light, always trying to grow stronger and wise... [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 c... [more]