Akshay Raj Singh Rathore’s series of watercolours titled “Introspection: A Perspective into Fooling”, which features caricature-like self portraits, is stationed outside the white cube-like space of Saffronart housed at Delhi’s Hotel Claridges. In one of those portraits, he is seen with green cactus instead of hair on his head, while in another cactus stems are replaced by an axe head, just as a third one features an African head. Presented by Gallery Espace, these are among almost 100 contemporary works by 50 artists, which have been brought together by six art galleries as a part of Delhi Contemporary Art Weekend.
The display has brought the collections of Exhibit 320, Gallery Espace, Nature Morte, Shrine Empire, Latitude 28 and Vadehra Art Gallery under one roof, and includes specially commissioned and recent artwork. Bhavna Kakar, Director of Latitude 28, Anahita Taneja of Shrine Empire gallery and Roshini Vadehra, director of Vadehra Art Gallery, started off with the idea of showing and presenting contemporary art. “Somebody asked me to do something on the lines of the art fair, which I refused. But then I thought that this was a good opportunity to promote contemporary artists because modern masters are usually promoted on their own. The strict focus of this whole show is on the contemporary lot,” says Bhavna Kakar.
Gallery Espace has brought together miniatures of American photographer Waswo X Waswo and Rajasthani artist R Vijay, including their series “Page from a Burning Storybook”, where an American tourist armed with a monocular is seen looking into a vast green landscape replete with flowers. Riyas Komu’s untitled oil on canvas features an ever smiling black and white portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, brought together by Vadehra Art Gallery. One of Shrine Empire’s most prominent displays, Bangladeshi artist Tayeba Begum Lipi’s The Stolen Dream displays a pram made using sparkling razor blades. Then there are window shopping views of a purse and a pair of heels created with the same sharp-edged material.
Latitude 28 has put Nepalese artist Hit Man Gurung’s artwork titled Sold on display. In this work, the artist has commented on the plight of human trafficking. Featuring currencies of different countries, the faces of adolescent girls have been drawn using stamp ink with the word “sold” written in bold. Nature Morte is exhibiting the new works of architect Martand Khosla. One of them is Peaks of the Megapolis, 2017, where he has rested one of his favourite mediums — brick dust — on paper to recreate the image of what appears like a dumping ground filled with debris. There is also Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat’s Rain Studies (the hour of the day of the month of the season), made using graphite on Arches paper, where black planetary circles lie dotted with white droplets to create a galaxy view, a result of him putting drawing paper out in the open during rain and letting descending raindrops settle on the paper.
With little footfall marking the first day of the fair, perhaps owing to onslaught of pouring rains on Thursday, the next three days shall be a test of time on how far the fair has succeeded in bringing awareness on the contemporaries.