Art News & Views

Mumbai Artsighting

Busy summer for art lovers

Talk of the art market and business aside, Mumbai's galleries have been busy through summer with exhibitions.

Roach's view to the Middle-East

My name is Raed Yassin and I just finished eating a falafel

Khaled Ramadan 

The Guild Art Gallery showed commitment to video based art by keeping 'Categorical Imperatives' on view for one-and-half months, from April 12 to May 31. This is remarkable for a private enterprise featuring seven young contemporary Middle-Eastern artists. Curated by Khaled Ramadan and Anni Venalainen the films are five to seven minute world views of the Middle-East from the artists' standpoints. One empathises and engages with the well-crafted, witty or poignant stories about acts of appropriating in culture, struggles for a better life in a country under conflict, experiencing war as a child and carrying its memories, displacement and settlement in another land among other themes.

There is a good understanding and justified use of the video medium that often seems lacking in works of some Indian video artists. In Najib Mrad's 'Lebanese Cockroach' the protagonist is a male cockroach and the camera shows us things from where the insect is. Mrad's trope describes the ordinary Lebanese youth's desire to lead a normal life and be able to accomplish ordinary goals. It would not be an exaggeration to say every work in the show leaves thoughts and lasting memories.

Survey of Gieve Patel's 30 years

Gieve Patel

Chemould Prescott Road is hosting Gieve Patel's Select Works from 1971 to 2006, a rare treat from one of India's significant artists. It's on till June 11. Paintings and sculptures featured in it are from private collections and show the range of Patel's themes and preoccupation over the last 30 years. His early years are represented by paintings such as 'Highway', 1977, 'Hooch Den' 1979 and 'Bicyclist in a Field' 1979. The series of 'Looking into a well' paintings that he has revisited over time is well-represented in the show with four works. The painting about the ordinary life of a migrant labourer in 'The Letter Home' from 2002 on one end of the spectrum and on the other, the office interiors with 'Peacock at Nariman Point' from 1991 and also from that year 'Near the Bus Stop' are significant insights into nuances of life in Mumbai.

Patel doesn't paint clichéd images of Mumbai. This makes his work significant and more meaningful. These paintings are as much about the protagonists he paints as about the social circumstances they are in. They usually achieve a quality where the narration goes beyond the immediate event and becomes a larger picture, keeping it relevant. Two 1999 paintings of crows depicting cruelties of life are unforgettable. Patel says about them: “My need to face and record mutilation and death is represented in this show by a set of wry crow paintings, Bombay's ubiquitous bird!”

Black is beautiful

A. Ramachandran

Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke's 'Black and White' is on until June end. As the name suggests the exhibition features a selection of works in black and white by artists from various disciplines including painting, photography and sculpture. Some of the artists included in the show are VS Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee, A Ramachandran, Sudhir Patwardhan, Jyothi Basu and Sarika Mehta.

Jyothi Basu

The exhibition brings to light the versatility of the monochrome colour black and its contrast white, also demonstrating how various artists have used it in various mediums from time to time with remarkable effect. Unlike the many drawing shows that took place in recent times this show extends itself to black and white manifestations in sculpture as seen in Mrinalini Mukherjee's work as well as in photography by Dayanita Singh and Tejal Shah. The note on the show rightly emphasises: “In art, 'black and white' can be a basic starting point as well as the culmination of one's artistry.”

Film buff Raghavan's solo

Prasad Raghavan  

Gallery BMB is presenting Delhi-based Prasad Raghavan's first solo show 'Shot-Tilt' until June 28. An ex-advertising man, since 2004 Raghavan has been giving his creative expression artistic liberties as he interprets film titles in a context he finds relevant. For instance he takes on the Ten Commandments as explored in Krzysztof Kieślowski's 'The Decalogue' to talk about rapid globalisation, mall culture and capitalist enterprise. As is trendy today he uses various mediums from drawing, video, mixed media installation, photographs, serigraph, and painting to reinterpret other film titles such as Fedrico Fellini's 'And the Ship Sails On', Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Andrey Rublyov' among others. Much of the imagery is overlaid with text which plays an important role in his visual vocabulory, endangering some of the works to be reductive.

Jasmine Shah Varma
(mumbai-based writer and curator)



Post a comment
( Max 250 words)

Your Ad Here
art etc. news & views is a monthly magazine published from India in order to promote art and culture. It intends to raise awareness about art all around India and the world. The magazine covers art exhibitions, auction highlights, market trends, art happenings besides Antique, Collectibles, Fashion, Jewellery, Vintage, Furniture, Film, Music and Culture.