Home with a View

Jose Abad bounds up the stairs to show me dancer Anusha Lall’s interactive video installation in one of the bedrooms on the first floor.

Written by Anushree Majumdar | Published: February 8, 2009 1:55 am

There is a new art space in the Capital and it is Spanish photographer Jose Abad’s house

Jose Abad bounds up the stairs to show me dancer Anusha Lall’s interactive video installation in one of the bedrooms on the first floor. “There’s a camera that transmits your reactions to the wall on the landing outside. You become part of the installation as well,” says Abad,delighting in my surprised face. There is a new space in town for artists,photographers,videographers and audio storytellers — and it is not a gallery. It’s a two-storey building in Vasant Vihar that is home to the Spaniard Abad,the Brit Billy Stewart and their indie collective,Abadi Art. The name has been taken from the Hindi and Urdu word “abadi” which means people,and the organisation aims to bring together artists and audiences to explore social and environmental issues.

Abad and Stewart started Abadi Art in November 2008 with “Picturing the Body”,an ongoing exhibition that explores the encounters and experiences of the body in a narrative representation. Abad came up with the concept in the summer of 2008 and researched artists from across India and beyond who would be interested to participate. The response has been nothing short of fantastic,he says. “Artists from India and abroad have sent powerful works for the exhibition,” says Abad.

So there’s Sunil Gupta sharing wall space with Diana Valarezo from Ecuador and Aron Johnston from the United States,while the staircase to the second floor is devoted to Delhi-based artist Pratibha Singh’s thread-on-canvas works titled Letters from my Future Son. “The idea of exhibiting works at home came out of the idea of experiencing art in a personalised setting. It’s a lived-in house and it changes every single day,so does the experience of viewing these works within this house,” says Abad,whose own work,Life Bricolage or Making Do are three panels of photographs on the living-room wall. Based on Chinese calligraphy,the photos explore movement and energy in mundane tasks such as eating a banana. “Different parts come together to make a single character. The panels are in a particular order,the sum of all makes the whole,” says Abad. While the TV room on the lower level is inhabited by a video installation by Sonali Gulati and photographs by Tejal Shah,Johnston and Valarezo; the second floor holds much promise with The Great Wall of Vagina,a wall-full of representations of the vagina as drawn by people involved in health and HIV prevention. “The drawings are from all over,including China,India,Kenya,Nepal,Sri Lanka and even Burkina Faso,” says Abad.

The surprise is FLTR,Sumit Baudh’s sound sculpture with light frame,which is located in the bathroom. “In such a private space,Baudh talks to the listener about what they might like to hear about themselves and their bodies,” smiles Abad.

It’s not a gallery,but Abadi Art is still a commercial venture,with prices ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The future is bright with Stewart and Abad filling their calendars with more work with socially engaged artists and organisations. “We want to bring more international art to India and in different but accessible locations,such as our home and other venues as well,” says Abad. If charity begins at home,why not exhibitions?

The exhibition is on till February 28 at 42 Paschimi Marg,Vasant Vihar Daily from noon to 6 pm.
By appointment only
Contact 46016737 or log on to http://www.abadiart.com

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