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They let the pictures do the talking

Mumbai's art-savvy crowd is in for a bit of a shock. A group of artists who call themselves Suspects,have a rather unusual show to offer at the Kala Ghoda Café— at a space behind it which is not in use. The show is hosted by Chatterjee and Lal.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Mumbai | Published: March 28, 2009 12:22:51 am

A show where artists question the art of buying art

Mumbai’s art-savvy crowd is in for a bit of a shock. A group of artists who call themselves Suspects,have a rather unusual show to offer at the Kala Ghoda Café— at a space behind it which is not in use. The show is hosted by Chatterjee and Lal.

Titled Mint Condition,the art works are random,lost negatives,junked prints and moldy videos that the Suspects have collected over the years. In an attempt to shed their identities,Suspects thrive on the notion of anonymity. “We want to dissolve the name of the artist,the location of the images or how much do they cost,” says one of the Suspects,who questions established art market and young artists who sell their works at exorbitant prices.

The group comprises filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia,photographers Dale Cannedy Azim,Farhad Bomanjee and artist Shumona Goel. Their show,which is on until March 29,celebrates the ordinary and “challenges established ideas of beauty”.

The show works because human beings can form long-lasting relationships with images. It may be a poster of the pop idol or a painting of an unknown woman from a distant land rendered by one of the Impressionists. It may even be a relationship with a random photograph of a stranger,as is the case with Suspects.

Ahluwalia is known for experimental films. His acclaimed John & Jane is a docu-fiction of six seemingly unrelated characters. Here he becomes an anonymous contributor to Suspects,as does Goel,a filmmaker and an artist,who recently treated Mumbai’s art lovers with an unconventional installation titled Family Tree. Both Dale Cannedy Azim and Farhad Bomanjee are lensmen whose focus is on the contemporary landscape,culling out very ordinary,not traditionally beautiful images.

“Our group also interests itself in identifying what may be transformed and reconciled—a juxtaposing of the old decayed with something contemporary,” says a member. “The group is open and we hope to draw in people who will bring things to show. We will hold more exhibitions at homes,street sides and godowns. We want to make people think about what they are buying and why,” ends the anonymous voice.

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