After Kolkata-based Experimenter gallery launched the cooperative art production fund, Generator — intended to assist deserving artists to realise their projects by providing them resources — it is now part of a collaborative online platform launched in partnership between 10 galleries in India and Dubai, “In Touch” is being prompted as a platform that “enables the art community to connect with each other through organised and synergistic exhibition-making that challenges traditional formats of engaging with art and brings together a diverse range of online programmes and exhibitions.”
At a time when galleries and museums across the country have their doors closed, the showcase shares works of artists that otherwise would have perhaps remained unrevealed for now. It, both, dwells on the present and looks into the past. While collateral online programming, including virtual discussions with gallerists and artists are being planned, the inaugural showcase has each of the 10 galleries independently putting forward a selection that varies in theme and objective.
Here are glimpses into what is on display by the participating galleries from India:
Titled “Together We Survive”, the selection brings together, among others, Praneet Soi’s papier-mâché tile Piggyback, reflecting on shared burden and cooperation, with Prabhakar Pachpute’s works that tell of the plight of marginalised farmers and mining workers. While Radhika Khimji and Biraaj Dodiya “explore form and landscape through personal memory and loss to articulate their environments”, Naeem Mohaiemen’s The year 1973 created many problems for the Imperialists discusses the failure of the global radical alternative.
Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai
The gallery’s selection is focussed on the present, a time when artists are working in isolation during the lockdown. “It was interesting to approach an existing inventory that looked at that silence that artists usually work in, juxtaposed with those works that come out of the forced isolation,” reads the gallery note. On view are Anant Joshi’s Flower Clock, Curdling Milk, Porcupine and Pangolin, that refers to the origins and the structure of the crowned virus that has gone viral and Aditi Singh’s Untitled (horizon line) that tells of no end line. Among others, Varunika Saraf’s The miasma of violence documents the incidents of violence being reported from across the country, and Desmond Lazaro’s Cosmos I contemplates on our place in the universe.
Gallery Espace, Delhi
The virtual display puts together works of four contemporary women artists, from Chitra Ganesh’s vibrant imagery that draws from pop culture to the more meditative pin drawings by Manisha Gera Baswani and Shobha Broota’s wool on canvas.
Gallery Ske, Bengaluru/Delhi
The gallery begins its presentation with American poet Adrienne Rich’s What Kind of Times Are These. The collection varies from Tara Kelton’s Magic Carpet, made of roomba robot, to Sunil Padwal’s Things exactly as they are that has viewers ponder over the surroundings. If Avinash Veeraraghavan’s Spirit Chaser Belly Button has peering eyes looking out, Rajyashri Goody’s Ukadala 1 comments on the oppressive caste system.
Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi
Through the showcase titled “No Man Is an Island”, the gallery explores “inwardness through inter-relation”, bringing together Arpita Singh’s pertinent ink work No Man is An Island with Atul Dodiya’s recent landscape Surfing. Ranbir Kaleka’s Guardians of a Dystopic Garden – Version 2 tells of a fantastical universe, Sujith SN’s Prelude is a serene landscape that explores the relationship between the city and its inhabitants.
At a time when most of the world is indoors, the gallery has sifted through its archives to find “photographs that propose quietude and introspection”. The gallery note begins on an introspective note — “History will remember the lockdown of the 2020 pandemic as the least photographed crisis the world witnessed in over a century. In times of social distancing, social media, the self-appointed arbitrator and influencer of our age, is now the only way to connect with each other. How did we get here?” And goes on to share Madan Mahatta’s rather empty View of South Block, Delhi, and Pablo Bartholomew’s 1976 View from my balcony, New Delhi that seems to be telling of today. Max Kandhola’s Travelling between Phagwara in Kapurthala District and Phillaur in Jalandhar District has lush fields on a clear blue sky day and Madhuban Mitra and Manas Bhattacharya’s Untitled pigment print from the series ‘The Archaeology of Absence’, questions of presence at a time of physical absence.
Nature Morte, Delhi
The note accompanying the gallery selection describes art as a “threshold between the personal and the social”. Through the works of 12 artists, there is an attempt to “discover things that balm, cajole, perplex and titillate”. “To Balm and Cajole” features Manish Parekh’s abstracts and Ayesha Singh’s Hybrid Amalgamation that engages with architecture. While Reena Saini Kallat’s Leaking Lines (Danube) depicts tense international borders, Bharti Kher’s The distance of separate things 8 with its sperm-shaped bindis depicts complex intersections.
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