Selection being something we specialise in here at Selections, we like to ask those who are best-placed to make choices on our behalf. In this special feature, we ask gallerists at the India Art Fair 2018 to choose a single artwork from their booths and share the story behind it.
IAF will be held from 9 to 12 February 2018 at NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi.
A highlight of Aicon’s presentation at this year’s India Art Fair is a selection of new works by Western Sydney based Pakistani artist Abdullah M. I. Syed, who is showing for the first time at IAF in four years. In this new body of works, Syed examines the (re)presentation of religious, political, and economic systems through his characteristic use of uncirculated printed currency, a perfect medium which embodies elements from all three systems under investigation. The transactional materiality of the note further reveals how these systems mutually construct and inform one another. The artist just won the 2017 Carstairs Prize from the National Association for the Visual Arts, Australia.
Digbijayee Khatua primarily works with Watercolour on paper and sun board. He has always been interested in cityscapes and urbanization as a subject matter. He sees the city in detail – its architecture, view, history, design, culture, and the essence of day to day life in a city. For IAF 2018 his work titled ‘Land of Apparatus’ is a kaleidoscope of bright, vibrant and joyous colours with miniature like-detailing. What is unique about his artwork is the three-dimensional effect which is ‘constructed’ with paper and a repetition of form and colour that is consciously executed to convey a sense of familiar monotony reminiscent of architectural drawings. He likes to maintain a balance between simplicity and complexity so that the viewer’s interest in the work is prolonged and they are able to easily associate with it.
Husain’s encounter with horses began in his childhood in Indore, and later these encounters came in several forms with different associations, triggering various different emotions. Being a prolific painter that he was, Husain explored all these, ranging from his dominant emotion of horse being a friendly and affectionate animal that helped poor men earn their living by working as Tonga carriers, to the iconic Duldul and the Bankura horse of West Bengal, to horses also exuding an aura of dignity, power, speed and vitality and aristocratic elegance working for royal fancy carriages for the British officers.
Having worked closely with Husain for many years, we are proud to present this serigraph of his showcasing the various different forms in which he liked his horses, needless to say that they were his constant till the end.
Where women are respected, Gods make their home.
Looking at Raza’s large body of works, one may realize that bindu is not the only recurring element in his works. Raza has largely celebrated female fertility and female entities of nature, is his works, with a variety of shapes, symbols and colours. Here, he has stacked inverted triangles one on top of other, all pushing downwards that evokes budding of life. Many cultures consider female womb as the ultimate bearer of life or seed, one of them being the tantric philosophy. Bija/seed is considered as the nucleus of all the creation of cosmos, so is Brahma. As discussed earlier, the female yoni or womb bears the bija, nourishes it, and further evokes germination.
Art & Soul Gallery
“See, here I hold one grain in my hand –
A multitude for those who are to come
To clothe the fertile deserts
With transforming pelts of gold
To be harvested by new peoples
Wading through their unplanted harvests
Singing songs in languages unborn.”
Art Centrix Space
The work ‘Pieces to Pieces’ displayed at our booth F 9 represents the displacement and destruction of constructed houses carried through a skeleton of deliberately shattered ceramic pieces that symbolise ‘homelessness’. Each piece of the installation is a beautifully painted blue white ceramic vase typical of ancient rural cultures, still seen in the earthenware of the Indian state of UP. The shards pf pottery are carefully and painstakingly modelled and fired to appear broken and yet each piece is carefully finished and smoothened. This work is a deconstruction against constructed space. It visually represents of the displacement over time of not only people but also cultures over millenia as civilizations get wiped out ansd new ones emerge over them. The installtion also reminds one of the excavations of ancient civilisations and the scene at a discovered site as old artefacts lie revealed on a freshly dug pit. It is a collective memory f a wiping out and moving on of cultures and yet has the element of hope as with each fading away comes a new later of culture.
Rajendar Tiku’s ‘Black Bag White Bag’ is a positive image, it presents hope, as the time between the then and the now, that could be held still, carried in two bags, even as the sense of ‘placeness’ grows forever irresolute.
The artist an émigré’ from Kashmir, reconciles with the incertitude of displacement in this monumental work, as he reflects upon the perpetual nearness to bags that transformed the idea of home as being a physical space. These bags are profound reflections of saudade, of a feminine space in the mind, one that eternally represents the idea of a home.
Albert Besnard (1849 – 1934) was a french painter and printmaker who travelled to India in 1910. The scene of Un Howdah apparently took place in Hyderabad and depicts an elephant with an howdah, a carriage positioned on the back of the animal.
The baudoin lebon gallery wanted to exhibit this fantastic artwork to reinforce France’s interest of India. The galery itself also maintains some precious relationships with India and of course India Art Fair, and wanted, by showing this artwork, to prove that India has been a source of inspiration for many years even on the other side of the world.
As part of its 25 year celebrations, DAG – India’s largest and best known repository of Indian modern art – has announced its participation at India Art Fair 2018 with an immersive tribute to India’s National Treasure Artists: Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Nicholas Roerich, Sailoz Mukherjee. Titled ‘NAVRATNA | NINE GEMS, India’s National Treasure Artists’ the exhibition will highlight each artist’s distinct practice and style and their varied choice of mediums, while exploring the common thread of ‘nationalism’ in their works, and be open for viewing from 9 – 12 February 2018.
Delhi Crafts Council
Delhi Crafts Council presents a specially curated collection – Sanjhi Revisited – in which the art works have been handcrafted in paper by traditional Sanjhi artisans from Mathura. The two works shown here are based on actual architectural drawings of the ghats at Mathura.
The Delhi Crafts Council team has collaborated in a year long dialogue with the artisan, Mohan Kumar Verma , on creating this collection. Mohan is a fourth generation artisan and says that he feels happy that in his own lifetime he has witnessed the transformation of sanjhi from a little known craft to a recognised art form.
Kumaresan Selvaraj’s sculptures in wood, cement, paint and paper gently erupt and wait to overflow from within its surface as a poignant calling to our inner existential conundrums. In the objects gentle unraveling of itself we are left with questions; the break isn’t one of violence, rather it is a reveal. The cold grey block reminds us of familiar geographies. Selvaraj however, defamiliarises it for the viewer. The works don’t merely facilitate a discussion about the fraught relationship of man and city. In the ‘Here’, to ‘see’ is to come undone. No conclusion is incorrect or inadequate.
I came to know Kumaresan Selvaraj’s work early 2013, during a spree of studio visits across the country. Immediately inspired by his form and command of material, it was wonderful to meet an artist whose breadth of work and vision continues to grow as he explores familiar geographies. At India Art Fair 2018 we will be showing 3 new works by Selvaraj and it gives me great pleasure to continually work with him and represent his works.
Threshold Art Gallery
From early times there was always a co-existence of text and image and both were often intrinsically intertwined in works of art .Examples are the early Christian illuminated manuscripts in the west, while in our own country many manuscripts for instance the Bhagvad Puran where the painting or illustration was supplemented by text or sometimes even the other way around.
In recent times artists have used text in their works either as independent imagery in itself or as an additional supplement to their images to reiterate and reinforce their conceptual arguments. Text is sometimes introduced in a work as a decorative motif or part of a composition.
This body of work explores how these different artists have endeavored to introduce and use text in their works to articulate and explore different facets of their reality and perception.
Kalakriti Art Gallery
Kalakriti Art Gallery is delighted to exhibit ‘Life is a deck of cards’ by artist, Avijit Dutta. This iconic piece represent cards as a symbolic quotient reflecting the ups and downs of life, and reflecting the various aspects of human life rooted in the figurative-narrative manner. Rendering in his signature palette with tempera technique and vintage themed frames one can’t resist the opportunity to revisit the bygone era.
His work bequeaths a personal and syncretic look of the aesthetic sense, which give the deeper meaning that artist collects from the ancestry of objects and that he transforms through experimentation and technique reinvention of the creative processes.
Mo J Gallery
J Young’s moment series was first presented in 2014. J Young has used bonnet of automobile as materials for his artworks since 90’s and his moment series captured the moment of bonnet being crumpled which is his own unique idea to include the moment into his artwork. Among his moment series, this artwork was produced at the zenith of his creativity and it expresses Korean beauty of restraint in a unique space J Young created.
Accurate and relevant to our time, when crypto currency is much in vogue and cash disappearance seems imminent. Highly appreciated by bankers and economists, but surprisingly also by left-wingers. It shoots to a symbol of power that transcends all cultures and countries. We take it to India, where money was originally invented. The One Million Dollar Sphere marks a step in evolution of currencies. The Controlled minting of notes tremble in front of the menace of a new world order (without conspiracy theories). It goes further than a simple artwork, it’s more of a symbol from a changing social paradigm.
Diego Alonso – Madrid. January 2017
Nepal Art Council
The triptyc ‘Three Generations’ by artist Sujan Dangol is a social commentary on the contemporary situation of Nepali Society. I personally like this work because it primarily draws the attention of the viewer with the skillful use of colour and composition and slowly imparts its very grave message with a tinge of humour.
The artist takes inspirations for the happenings around him to form creative expressions on canvas. He seeks to engage with the community, and delves into the mind of ordinary Nepalese and explores through a visual composition, the wants and needs of three generations in contemporary Nepali society. This interesting composition with symbolic objects of generational consumption and skillful use of colours and shapes, the triptych, creates a jovial mood, yet compels us to contemplate the harsh realities of life.
Richard Koh Fine Arts
When I first saw this work, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It has a decorated crown and almost robe like features that reminded me of the people I met on my trips all over.
For me it held a very universal language, the colors and weaves was just amazing, almost like I was standing in front of everyone on earth and peering into the other end of the world. I could see parts of everyone in it, through the patterns, the shapes, the objects and colors… it was just spellbinding.
This particular work is a perfect representation of the interplay of man and his moments, architectural forms and objects from his beloved hometown in Kapadvanj and socio-political incidents in the city in which he now lives in that have had a bearing on the artist.
The chaos on the canvas is patterned by bold lines that have been layered almost a hundred times along with passages that provide space for the playing out of truths that are personal to the artist. And some, we as viewers may empathize with.
“We’ve chosen globally acclaimed artist Tayeba Begum lipi’s works as it’s deeply rooted in her context in her home city Dhaka and the ideas that emerge from them address universal experiences. She reimagines everyday objects around the home, the domain of the feminine to discuss narratives of structural oppression and domestic violence against women. The nature of everyday objects that she uses such as razor blades and safety pins, and household appliances occupy the liminal space between familiar and danger. “ says Anahita Taneja & Shefali Somani, Directors, Shrine Empire.
For our second-time participation at the India Art Fair, we have chosen to showcase this untitled work by Saubiya Chasmawala because it encapsulates this young artist’s thought provoking and process-driven practice. Chasmawala’s body of work is distinctive in its experimental approach towards material, particularly paper, and its frank exploration of questions of institutionalized religion, particularly scriptures. In this artwork, the artist has sutured the textured surface of handmade paper, which she made from cotton pulp, using a surgical needle. The needle lies embedded in the piece, its sickle-shaped tip echoing the lines of Chasmawala’s gibberish script. The power of this artwork lies in the brevity which with the artist communicates complex issues and the pure textural delight of the surface.
Vadehra Art Gallery
Atul Dodiya continues his long-time thematic occupation with Gandhi in his work where the historical figure is depicted in his public avatar in a hyperrealist painting. Based on historical photographs from the 1930s and 1940s where India’s freedom struggle was gaining significant traction, the surface of the work is interrupted by chromatic patterns that hark back to Rabindranath Tagore’s characteristic doodles. The title of the work is ‘At the public meeting, Sirsi, Karnataka, February 28, 1934’ and it is an Oil on Canvas.
Magritte’s surreal painting is a comment on the distorted reality of encounters between self and the other while reflecting upon the viewer’s gaze by paradoxically revealing what is hidden behind the mirror (the woman’s naked body) into the reflection.
I have appropriated this painting while adding further signifiers from my reality. Being a moderate Muslim woman from Southeast Asia, attire holds a disconcerting part of my everyday life. What is appropriate clothing in uncharted social territories, is an unsettled dispute.
While covering the naked body with a semi covered swimsuit and a towel, this work is a comment on the confusion of attire in the socio-cultural milieu of contemporary moderate Muslim women.