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Glass House Effect

When the Religare Gallery at Connaught Place shut down,director Mukesh Panikar had planned a new space.

Written by Georgina Maddox |
June 30, 2011 3:24:13 am

The new Religare Gallery in Saket exudes the spit-and-polish look of a corporate office. It could do with the bohemian whiff of the former gallery in Connaught Place

The opulent glass-and-steel structure of Religare at Saket (behind Select Citywalk mall) has the cold glare of a corporate office. When the Religare Gallery at Connaught Place shut down,director Mukesh Panikar had planned a new space. He’d envisioned a large area with a sculpture park,as well as all the trappings that made Religare Gallery an artists’ haunt — a bohemian terrace cafe,a lifestyle store and a display space. The new gallery,spread over a section of the ground floor,is disappointingly small.

As one enters the premises,saluted by the guards,one discovers that the new ‘gallery’ is re-modelled from the pre-existing Religare corporate office. At present,parts of the old office space are being torn down and new structures are emerging as the gallery gets readied for the formal opening in September.

Bohemian it may not be,unconventional it certainly is. Ask the eight artists from various parts of the world who are attending the residency programme titled “The Why Not Place”,hosted by US-based artist Sumakshi Singh. Baroda-based artist Manali Shroff says that the surroundings are,“Corporate but the gallery is very lavish and we are having fun. There is a wow factor to the experience.” Spanish artist Cristina Saez is of the opinion that the “unusual and so-not-typical space will pose a wonderful challenge to work in.”

Religare Arts I,the organisation that runs the gallery,will have an uphill task cultivating an arts space amid the corporate and formal surroundings. As Panikar tries to recreate the vibes of the old Religare Gallery,he can look for inspiration from his neighbours — Kiran Nadar’s KNMA and Khoj are present in the same locality.

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