Six highlights from India Art Fair’s ‘Art Projects’

A specially curated section at India Art Fair 2015 showcases seminal artists’ works.

The India Art Fair (IAF) 2015 features a special section of curated artworks throughout the fair, including site-specific and multimedia installations, interventions and commissioned pieces by some seminal artists from the Asian region and beyond. Art Radar selected 6 works from among the 23 to be showcased.

Francesco Clemente, 'Taking Refuge', 2012-2013, tempera on cotton, embroidery, hand stitching, bamboo poles, wood finials, ropes, iron weights, 600 x 400 x 300 cm. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Francesco Clemente, ‘Taking Refuge’, 2012-2013, tempera on cotton, embroidery, hand stitching, bamboo poles, wood finials, ropes, iron weights, 600 x 400 x 300 cm. Supported by Volte Art Projects. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

The seventh edition of the India Art Fair (29 January – 1 February 2015) features a rich and diverse range of events and projects throughout its duration. Art Projects (PDF download) is a specially designed and curated programme, spanning indoor and outdoor spaces of the fair, and featuring large-scale and multimedia installations, site-specific sculptures and interventions as well as works specifically commissioned for the event. The Art Projects section includes 23 among the most stimulating and innovative artists working in the Indian art scene and internationally.

Curated by IAF’s Artistic Director Girish Shahane, Art Projects is integrated in conjunction with IAF’s renowned Speakers’ Forum, which brings some of the most influential and high-profile industry speakers to the fair. Shahane’s decision to integrate the two programmes stems from a desire “to maximise the synergy between talks and artworks,” as IAF told Art Radar:

Seeing the artworks will encourage visitors to stay on to hear the artists speak, or make a return visit. Equally, hearing the artists or seeing the programme will encourage visitors to seek out the special projects. Thus, a productive feedback loop will be created between viewing and listening.

Rahul Kumar, ‘Circle uncircled', an installation in ceramic, supported by Gallery Alternatives and India  Foundation for the Arts. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Rahul Kumar, ‘Circle Uncircled: an installation in ceramic’, supported by Gallery Alternatives and India Foundation for the Arts. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

In addition to the six artworks and artists profiled below, Art Projects will also feature the following:

  • Sanjay Theodore, Artificial Participation, supported by Chatterjee & Lal
  • Chitra Ganesh and Dhruvi Acharya, Untitled, supported by Gallery Espace and Gallery Chemould Prescott Road
  • Faig Ahmed, Shapeless,
 supported by Nature Morte
  • Priyanka Choudhary, The Art of Papilio Demoleus (or how to become The Lemon Butterfly), supported by Gallery Maskara
  • Manuel João Vieira, Counter Plan,
 supported by Perve Galeria
  • Jayashree Chakravarty, Roots, supported by Akar Prakar
  • Nandita Kumar, eMotiVesOuNDs of the eLEctRicwRiTEr, supported by Lakeeren Gallery
  • T.V. Santhosh, The Threshold into a Dream, supported by The Guild
  • Dayanita Singh, Museum of Chance – Book Objects
  • Noni Lazaga, To Dream or Not to Dream, supported by Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi
  • Sudarshan Shetty, I Know Nothing of the End, supported by GallerySKE
  • Hetain Patel, Heaven & Earth, supported by Chatterjee & Lal and Arts Council, England, commissioned by Darbar
  • Smriti Dixit, Memory of Red, supported by Art Musings
  • Daniel Buren, Untitled, supported by Galleria Continua & Institut Français en Inde
  • Daku, Untitled, supported by St. Art
  • Veer Munshi, 
Untitled, supported by Popular Prakashan and Art District XIII
  • Vishal K Dar, PRAJAPATI, supported by vis à vis India Pvt. Ltd
Muhammad Zeeshan, 'On Indefinitness', (2008), installation, gouache on wasli with glass box and ink on water, 70 x 55 cm. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Muhammad Zeeshan, ‘On Indefiniteness’, 2008, installation, gouache on wasli with glass box and ink on water, 70 x 55 cm. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Muhammad Zeeshan, On Indefiniteness | supported by Latitude 28

Pakistani neo-miniaturist Muhammad Zeeshan (b. 1980, Mirpurkhas) incorporates the rich miniature tradition with surrealist subjects and dark themes. At IAF, his project On Indefiniteness continues with some of his previous works’ thematic of the brutal reality of art being finite. Some of his previous miniature paintings seem unfinished: a large part of the artwork is laser scored in black outlines, while only a fragment or detail is painted in colour, leaving one wondering what lies beneath the white wasli paper.

On Indefiniteness, through tackling the same theory of the finite nature of art, aims to allow audiences to appreciate the moment here and now and, by extension, to focus on the importance of time. Black ink gradually alters the painting at IAF, changing the perception of the artwork and how it is viewed. Zeeshan says:

While international art fairs aim to promote art and enrich it as an industry, I present not just my work, but its slow and imminent ruin, thereby juxtaposing commoditised markets, collection and subsequent ownership, with the intrinsic value that art truly holds.

Rahul Kumar, ‘Circle uncircled', an installation in ceramic, supported by Gallery Alternatives and India  Foundation for the Arts. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Rahul Kumar, ‘Circle Uncircled: an installation in ceramic’ (detail), supported by Gallery Alternatives and India Foundation for the Arts. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Rahul Kumar, Circle Uncircled: an installation in ceramic | supported by Gallery Alternatives and India Foundation for the Arts 

Indian ceramic artist Rahul Kumar’s Circle Uncircled: an installation in ceramic is a “psychedelic constellation” comprising 101 colourful glazed platters of varying sizes. As Kumar told Hindustan Times,

The platters form one united whole when seen in totality, but there is a lot of surface detailing that I have given to each individual platter. Each piece is unique and there is much that goes on at the individual level. The surfaces are also reflective, so depending on the light and shadow, the work speaks to you differently.

Hand-contoured, the discs or plates retain an element of deformity or chance, suggesting “the primacy of the earth and the smell of land and water, and of unrestrained skies.” The arrangement seems random but is actually carefully thought out, and reflects the artist’s interest in the dichotomies inherent in life and the universe – individual and society, the seemingly chaotic nature of the ordered cosmos, the ephemerality of balance and the ever-changing dynamics between objects, things and people.

Francesco Clemente, 'Taking Refuge', 2012-2013, tempera on cotton, embroidery, hand stitching, bamboo poles, wood finials, ropes, iron weights, 600 x 400 x 300 cm. Supported by Volte Arts Project. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Francesco Clemente, ‘Taking Refuge’, 2012-2013, (interior detail), tempera on cotton, embroidery, hand stitching, bamboo poles, wood finials, ropes, iron weights, 600 x 400 x 300 cm. Supported by Volte Art Projects. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Francesco Clemente, Taking Refuge | supported by Volte Art Projects 

Francesco Clemente (b. 1952, Naples) is a renowned Italian artist whose artistic practice has entertained a long-standing relationship with India, where he has lived and worked extensively. Much of his work shows influences and inspiration from the Subcontinent, both philosophically and visually.

Taking Refuge (2013) stems from Clemente’s collaboration with tent makers in Jodhpur, and is part of a series of tents that integrate myriad cultural and art historical references, while engaging with the long history of tents as shelters. The dark interior space of the tent at IAF features paintings of Buddhas in blue and grey lining the surface of the tent. Animal heads are painted on the Buddhas, engaging with questions about the cycles of life and death, demise and return. The exterior features the usual fragmented appliqué of Clemente’s tents, with lines of gold embroidery. Upon the surface, the Vajrayana vow of ‘taking refuge’ is printed in expansive blocks of text.

Krystian Truth Czaplicki, 'Untitled (Fungus)', supported by Polish Institute, India. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Krystian Truth Czaplicki, ‘Untitled (Fungus)’, supported by Polish Institute, India. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Krystian Truth Czaplicki, Untitled (Fungus) | supported by Polish Institute, India

Polish artist Krystian Truth Czaplicki (b. 1984, Wrocław) is, as he defines himself, “an urban artist”. He says:

I neither like nor use the term street art. […] From my perspective, the beauty of creating in the public space lies in the fact that your works can be very personal, have strong intellectual undercurrents, and yet still look like a natural part of the local environment. Of all the art I encounter on the streets each day, I think I like letter-based graffiti the most.

His work at IAF gained popularity while he was still a student. A “poetic project”, Untitled (Fungus) consists of duplicated forms annexed to urban architecture and has appeared on the streets of Warsaw, London, Manchester, Bordeaux, Rome and Moscow, among others. His visceral creation is viewed in dialectical relationship with Daniel Buren’s minimalist work and will materialise as a site-specific installation on the wall of one of the largest permanent structures in the fair’s premises.

Paresh Maity, 'Procession', motorbike parts, lights and wood, dimensions variable. Supported by Art Alive Gallery. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Paresh Maity, ‘Procession’, motorbike parts, lights and wood, dimensions variable. Supported by Art Alive Gallery. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Paresh Maity, Procession | supported by Art Alive Gallery

Indian painter and sculptor Paresh Maity (b. 1965, Tamluk) comes from a land of great tradition in terracotta sculpture, which Maity has reinterpreted in a contemporary way, developing work in a variety of media. Maity often explores the relationship between nature and life through meditative works that evoke the multitude of facets of the universe. His work at IAF, Procession, was previously exhibited at Art Stage Singapore in 2011.

Comprising fifty ants made of discarded motorcycle parts, lights and wood, the installation pays tribute to the resilience and humble achievements of ants. These insects rely on community and their strength lies in their union, reaching “farther and deeper than most other beings”. The large-scale sculptures bring to the fore the “exemplary standards and the undying spirit of these common ants.”

Anoli Perera, 'Second Skin: Elastic Dress II', supported by Shrine Empire. Photo by Aaron Burton. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Anoli Perera, ‘Second Skin: Elastic Dress II’, supported by Shrine Empire Gallery. Photo by Aaron Burton. Image courtesy India Art Fair.

Anoli Perera, Second Skin: Elastic Dress II | supported by Shrine Empire Gallery

Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera (b. 1962, Colombo) is a pioneer in her native country for having introduced feminism and craft in art practice. Her work engages with women’s issues, among others, as is evident in her work at IAF. Second Skin: Elastic Dress II is a scarlet installation that represents the changes and fluctuations in the artist’s “state of being”.

Through this, Perera explores the cyclical transformations of her own body that overwhelm her. Impregnated by nature, her body releases “the scarlet fluid” – waters that cleanse the body, preparing it for another cycle of “anticipation and pain”. As a result of the physical changes, the mind also remains in a constant state of fluctuation, never really prepared to embrace the next cyclical change. The “shroud of being” she weaves with elastic bands stands as a monument to “the monumentality of change and its anxieties”.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: Indian artists, Pakistani artists, Sri Lankan artists, European artists, installation, site-specific, curatorial practice, art fairs, events in New Delhi

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