Art connoisseurs had much in store for them in September. There were quality shows all over the city. Installations and paintings were the surprise package. The garden city is also proud to welcome a new gallery Gallery SKE. There is nothing more exciting for an art lover to discover more and more talented artists. We do hope some will find their ways to collections, big or small, private or public, known or unknown, in India or abroad. Galleries and curators have a responsibility to creatively and efficiently promote them. We spotted some great examples.
Gallery SKE organized From the Town Ends, a set of installations by Navin Thomas. The new gallery space in the heart of the city was ideal to showcase his works. To quote the artist, the show was about 'electro-acoustic ecology and magnetic climate'. For the last few years, Navin has been preoccupied by the after life of electronic junks with audio capacity. Be it old PCO telephones or former army loud speakers. This exhibition brings together all kinds of objects along with different sort of sounds and lighting. It projects the viewer from roof top antennas mounted on a pole to comfortable seats placed next to transistor sets. Navin intends to observe the reaction small species, birds in this case, to domestic magnetic fields. The viewer wanders around, picks up the phone, listen to the operators and remembers those days, not so long ago, when he/she probably had all those objects and maybe still has them at home in a corner of an attic. A nice reflection that merges nostalgia and environment.
Sakshi Gallery came to Bangalore to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Armed with experience and passion, they brought us the Roots, an exhibition of paintings and installations by some of the best artists in the Indian current scenario. Some have already made history and are making it. The mini art fair that was put together was a delight for most of the viewers. We could enjoy works by NS Harsha, Shilpa Gupta, Krishen Khana, Sunil Gupta or Manjunath Kamath. We appreciated Reman Chopra's works and the sensitivity that comes out of it. Her use of transparency mixing up photos and drawing in different layers makes her works very intimate. We also enjoyed the fantastic universe created by the photos of Nandini Valli Muthiah. She remarkably captured the light and the colours of her model to propose us a beautiful reflection on emotions and spirituality. The Sakshi tour of India will surely bring more surprises to the viewers.
Christiane Durand, a French independent artist shared with us Men and Gods, a series of paintings. She works from her studio in Paris. She once came to Madras and bought papier-mâché statuettes of various gods and goddesses from the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan. When she was offered the opportunity to have a show at the Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art, she remembered her statuettes. She asked several friends to model for her after selecting one of her statuettes. And Christiane created this unusual series of paintings like a family photo album. For each of the photo, she has a story to tell. Christiane's universe takes the viewers in this fragile zone between dream and reality.
Apparao, set up base in the garden city with Convergence, works by Nasreen Mohamedi and Yogesh Rawal. Both artists are known for their minimalism. Nasreen's detailed drawings and watercolours respond to Yogesh's embossed paper works in a very silent, elegant and subtle way. We do appreciate the bridge the gallery is trying to build between the two artists. A great tribute to Nasreen's works that we should see more often.
Right Lines showed the paintings of Arpita Basu. Bengal has always been associated with the Kantha tradition. Village women used to sit together and stitch old saris to make quilts. Initially very decorative, it became more and more narrative. And because several women used to work together at the same time, several stories appeared on the quilt in a circular manner. This tradition constitutes Arpita's main source of inspiration. The bright though soft colours, the texture of her hand made paper and her circular drawings brought us a series of comments on everyday life in Bengal today.
1 Shanti Road organized a lecture, The look of History : the Power of the Aesthetic, by anthropologist and art historian Christopher Pinney. He looked at the power of aesthetic from indigo trade to the India Shining campaign of 2004. He started the conference with an interesting quote from William Blake : “Empire follows art and not vice versa”.
Tangerine Art Space is offering us in October the opportunity to revisit Gandhi and his legacy with Who has seen Gandhi? curated by Rahul Bhattacharya. For most of us, Gandhi is a myth. We have all seen him in some form or the other. But have we really? Through a selection of works of artists of young generation, the show intends to prove that Gandhi is not frozen in the past but still alive in our imagination. Sudhanshu Sutar, Debanjan Roy, Debraj Goswami and Murali Cheeroth have taken up the challenge giving us their (re)interpretation. This show will be talked about!
Sumukha is preparing a show of paintings, sculptures and installations by Dimple Shah, Catharsis in a forbidden zone. Dimple's body of words focuses on purification, both at individual and society level. She intends to understand the process of purification.
Chitrakala Parishat is arranging a show of wildlife photographs by K A Mandanna who just won the bronze medal at the 15th FIAP (Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique) Nature Biennale World Cup. Mandanna won the competition with a snap of wild dogs with their prey shot in the Eravikulam National Park. The wildlife amateurs should not miss the show.
Time & Space is setting up The Treasure Boxes, an exhibition of paintings and ceramics by Adil Writer. Adil is exploring the resemblances between 2D and 3D techniques. He intends to demonstrate to the viewers the thousands reasons to collect untraditional ceramics as well traditional paintings. Colours and textures can be similar. They can complement each other and create an expressive dialogue.