5 Dec 2018

Art News: Jangarh Singh Shyam - A Conjuror’s Archive (New Delhi)

Jangarh Singh Shyam

A Conjuror’s Archive


‘Jangarh Singh Shyam, A Conjuror’s Archive’, co-curated by Dr. Jyotindra Jain and Roobina Karode is on at The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) at KNMA, Saket, New Delhi.

Jangarh Singh Shyam
ca. late 1980s
Pigment on paper
Collection and image courtesy: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore

The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a book launch, ‘Jangarh Singh Shyam, A Conjuror’s Archive,’ authored by Dr. Jyotindra Jain, who has had an extensive engagement with the works of Jangarh, having known him personally and following his practice.

KNMA has expanded its curatorial and exhibition program in the last few years. Since 2017 a special exhibition category has been introduced, to open up discourses around preceding pre-modern, traditional and indigenous art practices, and critically examine their influence and appropriations in urban contemporary art. The first of this kind was ‘Amruta Kalasha, Thanjavur and Other South Indian Paintings’. This year the exhibition on Jangarh problematizes ‘the tribal’ and ‘the contemporary’. Jangarh was born into a Pardhan Gond family in the village of Patangarh in Mandla district, of Eastern Madhya Pradesh. He is much discussed for his creation of a new style, which is named after him as ‘Jangarh Kalam’. A unique style when compared with traditional tribal art practices. Its initiation happened early when Jangarh met J. Swaminathan (who was then Director at Bharat Bhavan) during a talent scout. Swaminathan convinced Jangarh to relocate to Bhopal and work as a professional artist. Jangarh’s primary subjects were sometimes Gond deities like Thakur Dev, Bada Deo and Kalsahin Devi and at other times were applique styled portraits of animals, trees, folklore imagery and landscapes of the place where he grew up, placed next to objects and entities from urban settings, like aeroplanes.

The exposition is enriched with works brought in on loan from government and private institution collections and many private collectors. The exhibits include paintings on paper and canvas, terracotta murals, digital prints of photographs, Jangarh’s letters, and reproduction of mural images and theatre posters which incorporated Jangarh’s art work.

A substantial showing in this exhibition of Jangarh’s works has come from The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore. Works from institutions such as Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal and The Crafts Museum in New Delhi are historically important as they were places where Jangarh worked on-site projects. Some in-situ murals will be reproduced for the exhibition. The book by Dr. Jain (who is a cultural historian and museologist), offers rare insight into the life and works of Jangarh Singh Shyam.

“This exposition is a witness to Jangarh’s excitement and angst, his hope and despair, which pulled him into a vortex of uncertainty and alienation from his familiar ground. His rise to fame, through the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, at Centre Pompidou, Paris in 1989 followed by subsequent multiple commissions from different art entities, with his journey ending tragically, when Jangarh committed
suicide in Japan at the age of 39. At a cursory glance while one may think he created the universe he knew, which was being amidst the flora and fauna in natural surroundings that were associated with his imagery, there are embedded stories, fables, anecdotes and myths that are unveiled beautifully by Dr. Jain”, mentions Roobina Karode, Chief Curator and Director, KNMA.

The ethos of the exposition at certain points resonate and harmonize with the spirit of the book on Jangarh and at other times take a self-determining course to generate unique visual experiences.

“Jangarh Singh, a young Pardhan artist with an inborn genius for drawing and painting and modelling … was “discovered” when the walls of his hut were found to be covered with paintings done by him”, J. Swaminathan once stated, to what Dr. Jain points out, “The term ‘discovery’ as applied to encountering works by indigenous or vernacular artists by ethnographers, art historians and what Jangarh would call sheheri (urban) artists further stresses the hierarchised binary between the two and, concomitantly, the power relation inherent to the dynamic between the invasive ‘discoverer’ and the passive ‘discovered’, more explicitly visible in the histories of colonial voyages and geographical discoveries”.

One of his works from the late 1980s depict a serpent supporting the animate earth on its head where the stylized form is shaped out of numerous dots. Jangarh introduced this entirely new style which generated a narrative instead of portraying a singular deity. Adding layers of chronicles to his subject, Jangarh often drew from the social and cultural changes that he observed around.

His earliest commission work from 1996, is a massive exterior mural covering 6500 square feet in Vidhan Bhavan, Bhopal, in which he was assisted technically by Ashis Swamy, a theatre associate and a trained artist from Santiniketan. This mural was the first of its kind done by Jangarh. He populated the pictorial ground with his gods, the vegetation and creatures embedded in his memory to which he added a colossal aeroplane and a leaping tiger. The vast and charming painterly space of the murals both predicted and determined the large scale of the images and propelled him to add more.



Jangarh Singh Shyam
1996
Image courtesy: Jyotindra Jain


Another work depicting a young boy playing flute, done in acrylic on canvas from the mid-90s, is a rare painting. It talks of a young boy seated amongst animals under a tree playing his flute. The tree hosts birds, a beehive and a large cobra, which too appears mesmerised with the tune of the flute. The painting is unconventionally divided in diagonal spaces with in which the central protagonist, according to Jyotindra Jain could also be a possible representation of the artist himself.




Jangarh Singh Shyam
ca. mid 1990s
Acrylic on canvas
Collection and image courtesy: Mark Tully and Gillian Wright, New Delhi


Raised with powerful sensibilities that were shaped by his memories from Patangarh, a place which he left behind, Jangarh created, a huge body of artworks in over two decades. His works are inhabited by gods and demons, shamans and priests, birds and beasts and sometimes creatures that dwell in imaginations. Thus the entire realm of memories that had remained dormant in his mind came alive through his imageries, as response to the new and alluring space of the paper, canvas or the walls that ‘he turned into a vast and unique conjuror’s archive’, says Dr Jain.


Exhibition continues till 12th January 2019

Based on press release

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5 Nov 2018

Art Bengaluru 2018 - A Celebration of Contemporary Art


Art Bengaluru 2018 - Ongoing at UB City

The 2018 edition of Art Bengaluru brings together 17 Indian artists across 24 exhibits to UB City, the centrally located mall in Bangalore. This year, one can see photography, mixed media artworks, oil paintings, acrylics, pen and ink drawings, sculptures (from wood, steel and paper) and video projects, all arranged aesthetically adopting a cohesive approach, and there are some very interesting works to be seen at the mall. Since, it's a public space, anyone can walk in to view the art. The exhibition scores high in terms of accessibility, display and lighting. With several outreach programmes the footfall is expected to be high.
Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Public Art, Photograph courtesy Prestige group, Art Scene India
Saju Kunhun

Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Prestige Group, Public Art, Photographs Art Scene India
Balan Nambiar

The display has been put together exceedingly well and it begins at the foyer with Balan Nambiar's large stainless steel sculptures and continues inside the mall with his enamel works and a large painting by Gurudas Shenoy (a 20 ft multipanel work on the ground floor, which forms a stunning focal point). His natural and urban semi-abstract canvases form an extensive collection at Sublime Galleria on the 8th floor as well.

Vipta Kapadia and Kavita Jaiswal are among other artists that are displayed on the ground level and their abstracts - quiet and meditative by the former and heavily textured and layered by the latter are captivating. The large linear hillscapes in pen and ink on paper from 1986 by D Venkatapathy, the senior founder member of the Cholamandal Artist Village are intricately detailed in black and white.

Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Prestige Group, Public Art, Photographs Art Scene India
Gurudas Shenoy
Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Prestige Group, Public Art, Photographs Art Scene India
Parvathi Nayar
The centrally located exhibits of the 2nd floor showcase works by Parvathi Nayar, Romicon Revola, Ashu Gupta and Saju Kunhan. Parvathi’s graphite drawings explore water in its simultaneous ubiquity and scarcity, portrayed through the entire spectrum of perspective - from bird’s eye to microscopic. Romicon video works offer an interesting narrative, where one invites the viewer to contemplate and meditate on a single drop of water and the other engages with the phenomenon of the urban sprawl. She says, "The urban sprawl is like the mythical hydra: a creature that grows two new heads every time one of its heads is cut off."
Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Prestige Group, Public Art, Photographs Art Scene India
Romicon Revola

Bothysathavur , S Ravi Shankar & Ganesh Selvaraj play with symmetry with paper and wood, 'these exhibits are tethered by strict geometrical forms employed by the artists; from the perspective-altering curves and lines of Yuvan’s work on plywood, to Ravi Shankar’s architectural laser-cut paper sculpture that transform in different angles of light, and Ganesh’s intense assemblages of magazine paper on board'.

On the first floor, photography and photo media by Devangana Kumar and Rohaan Sulaiman are exhibited. Devangana recreates postcards from mid-nineteenth century that are based on Indian servants employed by British and which presents them as commodified subjects. The artist's large format digital recreations attempts to reinstate dignity and identity and humanise them. "Rohaan’s documentation of Naga tribes and wildlife explore themes of migration, adaptation to rapidly evolving habitats and preservation of tradition," according to Abhishek Naidu, curator.
Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Public Art, Photograph courtesy Prestige group, Art Scene India
Pallon Daruwala
Pallon’s exhibit features a selection of works from the new edition of his Vertical Horizon series, which aptly titled, capture a diverse series of subjects and settings that are as thought provoking and disorienting as they play with the 'normal' and turn around perspectives.

Curated art walk with exchange students from Garden University, Spain

With curated art walks, the festival also aims to contribute to art education among both children and adults. Art Bengaluru 2018 has partnered with several schools (Parikrma Centre of Learning, Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology and Dr. Beltran’s Animation School, to name a few) to take their students through curated walks to help them better understand and appreciate the arts.



Curated art walk with exchange students from Garden University, Spain








Ms. Uzma Irfan - Festival Director, Art Bengaluru & Director, Prestige Group

The featured artists include Balan Nambiar, Gurudas Shenoy, Kavita Jaiswal, Vipta Kapadia, Chandan Bhowmick, D Venkatapathy, Yuvan Bothysathavur, S Ravi Shankar, Devangana Kumar, Rohaan Sulaiman, Parvathi Nayar, Romicon Revola, Ashu Gupta, Ashish Dubey and Pallon Daruwala. 

Ms. Uzma Irfan is the Festival Director, Art Bengaluru & Director, Prestige Group


More details on Art Bengaluru 2018 here http://www.artbengaluru.in/

Art Bengaluru at UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, 11am onwards is on till November 18 

Edit: Updated 02 – 18 November 2018
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2 Nov 2018

Art News: Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy in Bangalore

Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy 
at Sublime Art Galleria in Bangalore

Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy at Sublime Art Galleria in Bangalore, Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City



Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy at Sublime Art Galleria in Bangalore, Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City

Gurudas Shenoy’s urban spaces recount narratives constructed around places, their architecture and history to form visual chronicles. The irregular façades of structural forms conceal stories of life and living. An array of emotions, personal and collective sagas and memories lie embedded within the walls of settlements. Archives of human existence entrenched in every brick and piece of glass, the inanimate captures the living breath within its folds.


The evolution of the current series of cityscapes can be traced to his travels across India and Europe. A significant point in his artistic journey, the European visual and cultural environment opened up entirely new vistas for him. It triggered rigorous experimentations on canvas, and an expansiveness in his imagination and thought, resulting in a fresh vocabulary. Paris, Amsterdam and Prague amongst other cities, contributed to a refined aesthetic in terms of colours, lines, form, light and textures, leading him to explore the city in its vitality, sheer energy and its resplendence. His fascination with buildings, old and new, their historicity, and their silent role as witnesses to time and its transformation, their inhabitants and their lives with all its variations, became a muse.
Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy at Sublime Art Galleria in Bangalore, Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City
Apart from the cityscapes, Shenoy’s newer works occupy a transitory space, where the structures from an urban skyline gently dissolve their linearity and are suggestive of memories of land and the surrounding environment. Undulating terrains, open skies and hints of topographical details speckle the surface and the works become calmer and unencumbered in their exploration. Perhaps, meditative too, reflecting Shenoy’s state of mind and a personal sense of serenity that he now embraces. The experimentations with colours and textures intensify, and he continues to gravitate further towards abstraction. He revisits landscapes - from places he has travelled to, and represents them as snapshots in time and space. The colours are vivid with strong and often dramatic brushstrokes that capture the essence of the memory – of land, its contours and colours, the play of light and the prevalent mood. 

Nalini S Malaviya

Art Critic, Bangalore

Excerpt from the catalog essay Recounting Memories

All images are courtesy the artist

Recounting Memories by Gurudas Shenoy at Sublime Art Galleria in Bangalore previews on 2nd Nov and continues till 28th Nov, 2018. 


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    31 Oct 2018

    Art News: ‘Art Bengaluru’ is back with its 8th Edition


    ‘Art Bengaluru 2018'– Bengaluru’s popular Art Festival is back with its 8th Edition

    At UB City from 02 – 18 November 2018
    The City of Protagonists - Saju Kunhan at Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Bangalore, image courtesy prestige constructions
    The City of Protagonists by Saju Kunhan at Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Bangalore, 
    Image courtesy Prestige Constructions
    The media preview today of Art Bengaluru’ offered glimpses into a well curated art exhibition, which brings together 17 Indian artists across 24 exhibits. With its inception in 2011, ‘Art Bengaluru’, the city’s first 10-day art festival was launched with the aim of celebrating art in its various forms. The idea behind it was to bring a multitude of artists and artforms from across India and the world under one roof, thus promoting art awareness as well as a deeper understanding of the arts. The 2014 edition featured artist Liu Bolin from China, popularly known as the 'The Invisible Man', and during the inaugural evening of Art Bengaluru, he performed and ‘disappeared’ into a bookshelf, even as the people watched (read about it here).

    Over the years, the art festival has grown from strength to strength and has gravitated towards more serious art and artists. The exhibition this year includes artists Balan Nambiar, Gurudas Shenoy, Kavita Jaiswal, Vipta Kapadia, Parvathi Nayar, Pallon Daruwala, Romicon Revola & Saju Kunhan amongst others.
    Painting by Gurudas Shenoy at Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Bangalore, image courtesy prestige constructions
    Painting by Gurudas Shenoy at Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Bangalore, Image courtesy Prestige Constructions

    Large stainless steel sculptures by Balan Nambiar at the entrance create a striking visual. The rest of the exhibits are distributed across  floors, Gurudas Shenoy's paintings are on display on the ground floor and at Sublime Galleria. Overall, the display is cohesive and  follows distinct narratives on each floor - abstracts around natural and urban landscapes, ephemeral abstractions, architectural renderings in the form of assemblages, digital recreations of mid-nineteenth century  postcards and photographs that re-orient perspectives are some of the works that you should watch out for.

    The art festival offers a great opportunity to visitors and shoppers to engage with art in a public space, and for its entire duration, anyone can walk into the premises and view  a diverse spectrum of mediums and styles, displayed with museum-class display infrastructure under one roof. 

    According to Uzma Irfan, Conceptualizer / Organiser, Art Bengaluru & Director, Prestige Group, "The language of art, as expressed through sounds, colours, shapes, lines, and images, speaks in ways that words cannot. Whether you experience the arts as a creator / artist or as an art lover, you can gain great pleasure and enjoyment from all kinds of art.”
    Ganesh Selvaraj - Doing the same expecting difference at Art Bengaluru 2018 at UB City, Bangalore, image courtesy prestige constructions
    With curated art walks, the festival also aims to contribute to art education among both children and adults. Art Bengaluru 2018 has partnered with several schools (Parikrma Centre of Learning, Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology and Dr. Beltran’s Animation School, to name a few) to take their students through curated walks to help them better understand and appreciate the arts.  Abhishek Naidu, Curator, Art Bengaluru 2018 offers, “Art Bengaluru’s aim has always been to aid in the Bangalorean front of that fight by bringing a selection of works from a diverse set of artists to UB City, thus bringing a much-needed injection of art to the city, along with a wonderfully disarming onslaught of emotion, insight, perspective and reflection that is unique to an enriching art experience.”

    Art Bengaluru 2018 will start on 2nd Nov with an evening that will also include musical performances by Aman Mahajan (Pianist), Nush Lewis (Harpist), Raman Iyer (Saxophonist), and The Flying Drummers.

    Edit: Updated 02 – 18 November 2018

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    10 Sep 2018

    Art News: KMB 2018 - Kochi-Muziris Biennale releases curatorial note and expanded list of participating artists




    Kochi-Muziris Biennale releases curatorial note and expanded list of participating artists

    · The fourth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale will be held from December 12, 2018 to March 29, 2019


    Kochi, Sept. 7: With less than 100 days to go for the opening of the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the Kochi Biennale Foundation has released the Curatorial Note and an expanded list of participating artists for the largest contemporary art event in South Asia.

    Curated by eminent contemporary artist Anita Dube, who is known for her politically-charged works, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 will focus on the theme of “Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life”. The main exhibition, along with an ancillary programme of talks, seminars, workshops, film screenings, and music, will take place across multiple venues in Kochi, over a period of 108 days, beginning December 12, 2018.

    “At the heart of my curatorial adventure lies a desire for liberation and comradeship (away from the master and slave model) where the possibilities for a non-alienated life could spill into a 'politics of friendship.' Where pleasure and pedagogy could sit together and share a drink, and where we could dance and sing and celebrate a dream together,” Dube said, in her curatorial note.

    As an artist, Dube has consistently challenged cultural norms and championed critical engagement across media. Her vision for the upcoming Biennale carries forward, at its core, a spirit of ongoing and decentralised collaboration.

    The expanded list of participating artists includes nearly 80 practitioners from Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Americas.


    Curatorial Note by Anita Dube:

    “I remember Guy Debord’s warnings of a world mediated primarily through images—a society of the spectacle—as I write this note. That such a society is fascism’s main ally, we are all discovering in different parts of the world today.

    Virtual hyper-connectivity has paradoxically alienated us from the warm solidarities of community—that place of embrace where we can enjoy our intelligence and beauty with others, where we can love—a place where we don’t need the 'other' as an enemy to feel connected.

    At the heart of my curatorial adventure lies a desire for liberation and comradeship (away from the master and slave model) where the possibilities for a non-alienated life could spill into a 'politics of friendship.' Where pleasure and pedagogy could sit together and share a drink, and where we could dance and sing and celebrate a dream together.

    In this dream, those pushed to the margins of dominant narratives will speak: not as victims, but as futurisms’ cunning and sentient sentinels.

    And before speaking, they will listen, like K P Krishnakumar’s Boy Listening—to the stone and the flowers; to older women and wise men; to the queer community; to critical voices in the mainstream; to the whispers and warnings of nature—before it is too late.

    If we desire a better life on this earth—our unique and beautiful planet—we must in all humility start to reject an existence in the service of capital. Through the potential of social action, coming together, we ask and search for questions, critical questions, in the hope of dialogue.”
    K P Krishnakumar, Boy Listening, 1985. Painted cloth, fiberglass, plaster KMB 2018
    K P Krishnakumar, Boy Listening, 1985. Painted cloth, fiberglass, plaster.

    Expanded list of Participating Artists
    Aernout Mik (Netherlands), Akram Zaatari (Lebanon), Arunkumar HG (India), Anju Dodiya (India), Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (India/US), Anoli Perera (Sri Lanka), Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (Thailand), BV Suresh (India), Bapi Das (India), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon/France), Bracha Ettinger (Israel/France), Brook Andrew (Australia), Chandan Gomes (India), Chitra Ganesh (USA/India), Chittaprosad (India), Dennis Muraguri (Kenya), Domenec (Spain), EB Itso (Denmark), Goshka Macuga (Poland/UK), Guerrilla Girls (USA), Hassan Khan (Egypt), Heri Dono (Indonesia), Ines Doujak + John Barker (Austria + UK), Jitish Kallat (India), Julie Gough (Australia), Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba (Japan/Vietnam), Juul Kraijer (Netherlands), KP Krishnakumar (India), Kausik Mukhopadhyay (India), Madhvi Parekh (India), Marlene Dumas (Netherlands), Martha Rosler (USA), Marzia Farhana (Bangladesh), Mrinalini Mukherjee (India), Mochu (India), Monica Mayer (Mexico), Nathan Coley (UK), Nilima Sheikh (India), Otolith Group (UK), PR Satheesh (India), Pangrok Sulap (Malaysia), Prabhakar Pachpute (India), Priya Ravish Mehra (India), Probir Gupta (India), Radenko Milak (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Rana Hamadeh (Netherlands/Lebanon), Rehana Zaman (Pakistan), Rina Banerjee (US/India), Rula Halawani (Palestine), Santu Mofokeng (South Africa), Shambhavi Singh (India), Shilpa Gupta (India), Shirin Neshat (Iran/USA), Shubigi Rao (Singapore), Song Dong (China), Sonia Khurana (India), Subhash Singh Vyam + Durgabai Vyam (India), Sue Williamson (South Africa), Sunil Gupta + Charan Singh (India/UK), Sunil Janah (India), Tabita Rezaire (France/French Guyana/South Africa), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Tania Candani (Mexico), Tejal Shah (India), Temsuyanger Longkumer (India/UK), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland/France), VALIE EXPORT (Austria), Veda Thozhur Kolleri (India), Vicky Roy (India), Vinu VV (India), Vipin Dhanurdharan (India), Vivian Caccuri (Brazil), Walid Raad (Lebanon/USA), William Kentridge (South Africa), Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (South Korea), Zanele Muholi (South Africa)

    (Press Release)

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