20 Nov 2014

Art News: ‘ABHISARAN’ Convergence of Artists at Heritage Site

A dialogue in contemporary and performing arts across borders for a new age India at Vijayanagara, Karnataka


A Convergence of 5 Countries, 10 Artists at a World Heritage Site

This November, ten talented artists from across the Indian subcontinent have converged at Vijayanagar Karnataka for ‘Abhisaran’, a 3-week long residency programme hosted by the JSW Foundation to create art that recognises the reality of today and the beauty of a time gone by.
Art News: ‘ABHISARAN’ Convergence of Artists at Heritage Site, Art Scene India
Abhisaran literally translates to ‘convergence’, a residency programme which acts as a focal point where artists, from similar political and cultural history of the Indian sub-continent, interact and create art works inspired by the historicity of Hampi and Vijayanagar. Amit Jain, Curator of the project adds, “Abhisaran is a dialogue in contemporary and performing arts across borders for a new age India.” The Heritage Site of Hampi, the industrial town of Vijayanagar and the arts, crafts and performance practices of Hampi are serving as an inspiration ground for these artists.

Drawing from Richard Sennett’s idea of a ‘craftsman’ being a skilled labour who engages with the questions of ‘how’ (Animal Laborans) and ‘why’ (Homo Faber) in the making of a craft (or art), this workshop hopes to empower the artists with raw material that is age old yet functional questioning both the purpose of their production and its effect on various communities. It provides an opportunity where artists can use their imagination and experience to create art works with medium of their choosing.
Art News: ‘ABHISARAN’ Convergence of Artists at Heritage Site, Art Scene India
The artists are using site-specific material like metal scrap, local pottery, local crafts and material to create works with a variety of mediums that include sculptural installations, dance, video and sound.

The artists taking part in Abhisaran are Baptist Coelho (India), Chinthaka Thenuwara (Sri Lanka), Mahbubur Rahman (Bangladesh), Mrugen Rathod (India), Muzummil Ruheel (Pakistan), Pala Pothupitiya (Sri Lanka), Preksha Tater (India), Seema Nusrat (Pakistan), Sanjeev Mahajan (Nepal) and Sheelasha Rajbhandhari (Nepal).

The residency will end on November 30, 2014.

18 Nov 2014

Art in Interiors: Painting a Wall

An entire wall painted with a mural can be the highlight of any décor scheme 

The impact of a single large artwork in interiors is well recognized as it can dominate any space and set the tone for the entire décor. There are two ways to go about it - one can either display a very large painting on a wall to cover it completely and make it a centerpiece. Or, one can treat the wall as the canvas and paint it directly. The impact of a painted wall, essentially a mural is definitely more striking. It is therefore important to choose the right wall for this purpose, for instance, it should be prominently placed so that it can easily become the highlight of the décor scheme.
Art in Interiors, Mural by artist Bharati Sagar,  Image courtesy artist, Art Scene India
Once the wall is decided, it is essential to choose the theme and the artist with care to ensure best results. There are artists who specialize in doing murals and it would be a good idea to get in touch with one. The paint materials which are used for a mural have to be selected such that they can be sustained over the years, and the painting remains fresh and undamaged. The advantage in commissioning an artist is that the residents can participate actively in the concept, design and details of the artwork.

Art in Interiors, Mural by artist Bharati Sagar, Art Scene India, Times of India-The AddressAn uncluttered wall will display a mural to its advantage, however one could even have the wall behind the television painted with a mural as most of the seating is directed towards it. On the other hand, a mural on a wall directly in front of an entrance, such as a bedroom or a children’s room will work, as long as it is conspicuously placed. Once an entire wall is painted, it is important to not clutter it with more artworks, especially paintings.

The lighting of the mural also requires care so that every detail and nuance gets accentuated effectively. More than one spotlight may be necessary to cover the entire mural. Again, lights must be chosen so that they do not harm the colours of the painting.

This article was published in The Times of India-The Address recently. 
Image courtesy artist Bharati Sagar

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11 Nov 2014

Art News: Transitions by Shraddha Rathi

A Solo Exhibition of paintings 'Transitions' by Shraddha Rathi from 

15th to 18th November 14 at The Taj West End, Bangalore


Trained as a Bharatnatyam dancer and educated as an architect, Shraddha Rathi explores an entirely new medium of expression through painting, coalescing key influences from both these creative fields. Through rhythmic forms, colours and textures Shraddha mesmerises with her thought provoking and inspiring paintings that combine Indian traditional values and modern experiences. 
Painting from series 'Transitions' by Shraddha Rathi, Bangalore, Art Scene India
"Every painting has a story to tell…. Painting to me is a language through which I express my thoughts. The three dimensions that I constantly build on, in my works are space, texture and expression. Time and my journey within, shape my thoughts which get reflected in my works. Developed over a period of time the current exhibition is a combination of three sets of works.

Shadows - My affinity to architecture resulted in the series of paintings called Shadows. I worked on themes that lend themselves to perspective and space. It is an attempt to capture the beautifully crafted and carved stonework in our historical past. I love the subject for its sheer contrast, the moment I add shadows the image starts coming alive to me. I have used visible brush strokes, unusual visual angles and light in its changing qualities in a monochromatic colour scheme.

A journey within - These set of works focus on my thoughts and ideas of Indian culture and teachings of Buddha. ‘What we think we become’, depicting Buddha in white, a colour that encompasses spirit of purity and evolution. The colourful images in this series, came forth as repetitive patterns, reflected themes from my subconscious mind, based on life and symbolic relationship between man and his thoughts. And how the ongoing process of thoughts designs our life.

Rhythm of colour - For an artist, the transition from narrative to abstract is a leap of faith…. Change is inevitable. From form to formless and monochrome to colourful. Yet another effort to convey myself, this time through basic design. I have used Line as an element in all its variations. Free flowing forms that overlap and merge into each other in many intricate sections. These works have an essence of movement in them. They refer to urbanscapes, rhythmic patterns, or may be, threads on a grid to be woven into fabric ……and allow the viewer to explore the works from a very personal perspective." Shraddha Rathi.
Exhibition 'Transitions' by Shraddha Rathi, Bangalore, Art Scene India
The exhibition is on view from 15th-18th November at The Taj West End, Bangalore

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6 Nov 2014

Interview: Renu Modi on 25th anniversary of Gallery Espace

Art Scene India interviews Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace on its 25th anniversary

In a discussion with Art Scene India, Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace reflects on her enriching journey in the world of art and reveals her plans for celebrating the gallery's 25th anniversary this year. Hosting one of the most ambitious shows ever featuring ‘Drawings’ by over hundred Indian contemporary artists spanning seven decades, the show promises to be a mega event.


1. Twenty-five years is a long time! How has the journey been?
Art Scene India interviews Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace on its 25th anniversary It’s been an enriching journey. It was on M F. Husain’s insistence that I started the gallery 25 years ago, but without any expectations, without any road map of how to go forward. I knew I had to just follow my instinct and the passion for art, inculcated in me by stalwarts like Manjit Bawa, Swaminathan, Laxma Goud, K K Nayar (art critic) and so many others. I remember sitting with them in their studios for hours just interacting with them and that gave me an immensely enriching world-view about the world of art. I have, by now, witnessed the changing dynamics in the art practice of three generations of artists, starting from Husain to Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh to the really young lot. The mantra has always been to readapt myself to changing times.

2. When you look back how difficult was it in the initial stages?

It was very difficult initially having no experience of the art market. Many people thought it would be a Art Scene India interviews Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace on its 25th anniversarypassing fancy for a corporate man’s wife but I stuck through. In fact, I remember NS Bendre telling me that it would take me three to four years to establish myself and that is what exactly happened.

3. There are so many galleries now...how does that affect you?

It doesn’t affect me at all. There is space for everyone and newer galleries bring in young energy which is very welcome.

4. When the art market crashed (and it still hasn't recovered!) what were your thoughts?

Like everyone else, it was tough for us as well. We did curb our expenses a bit and did fewer shows for a few months but that was only for a short period. As I said I have always followed my instinct and shown art which I have believed in. Monetary benefit is important but not the prime reason to hold shows.

"I feel artists bare their souls in drawings, these are like musical notes, their mental notes."

5. I remember Manjunath Kamath's show a few years ago, where he drew on the gallery walls...you do seem to have an affinity for 'drawings'...

The USP of the gallery has always been the medium based shows. The gallery has done at least five Art Scene India interviews Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace on its 25th anniversaryexhibitions based on drawings starting from Drawing '94, Lyric Line, The Paper Flute to name a few. And now we are ready to have another presentation in the form of Drawing 2014, due to open on November 9, 2014 at IGNCA. Similar has been the case for sculptures and even printmaking, with the gallery putting forward exhibitions like Sculpture '95 and Mini prints respectively. I feel artists bare their souls in drawings, these are like musical notes, their mental notes. Drawings are also the foundation of any art, any discipline. Also the approach to drawings has changed so much, they are no longer pen and ink works, or sketches on paper, For instance, in the 25th anniversary show, we have embroidered drawings by Rakhi Peswani, print-based scrolls by Paula Sengupta, very minimalistic works by Somnath Hore, video by Sonia Khurana, installation by Chintan Upadhyay, a sculptural drawing by Riyas Komu...and so much more – but all celebrating drawings.

6. What was the idea behind having an anniversary show exclusively around the concept of drawings?

I didn’t want to have a regular show and wanted to do one where I could contribute too. Since drawing has been one of my favourite mediums and Espace has consistently been doing exhibitions around this theme, it befits Espace to do this show. It was due to the boom in the market that people have forgotten works on paper and we want to showcase the evolution of drawings that has taken place in seven decades. I also wanted to bust the myth that one cannot invest in drawings.

7. On a personal level, what do you feel are the shifts, if any, in the use of line as a tool in contemporary art?

There has been a circular shift. From using classical lines to using material and technology, there has been a sea change. For instance, Mithu Sen has a light box in the show which lends such a tactile feel to her work. So the time of two-dimensionality in art is over, it’s now about functionality, materiality and performative aspects of drawings that are being looked at.
Art Scene India interviews Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace on its 25th anniversary
8. How has the perception and critical appreciation of Indian art changed - for buyers, collectors and viewers in India and abroad?

The art scene over the past 25 years in my view has undergone a 360 degrees change. From something which was unstructured, it’s becoming more structured now. Buyers’ profiles have changed, they are younger and upwardly mobile, they can explore so much over the internet, auction houses have started guiding price lines to some extent, developments in technology have also added changes. Investment in art has grown for sure, especially coming now from the NRI segment.

This interview was coordinated via e-mail.

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31 Oct 2014

Art News: Sparsha, Indian Art Exhibition at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany

Sparsha, a contemporary Indian art exhibition is set to open at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany


An exhibition exploring reflections on Hindu rituals by contemporary Indian artists previews on 2nd November at Kunstmuseum Bochum Germany. This exhibition titled Sparsha will display videos, installations, sculptures, miniatures as well as Tantric art.

Mahirwan Mamtani, an Indian artist based in Germany will be showing 21 works from his series Transmuted-Fotos as part of Sparsha. Mamtani is a painter, graphic and multimedia artist, who grew up in India and moved to Germany in 1966. He was awarded a scholarship by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) to study painting at the Kunstakademie. Since then he has been living and working in Munich.
Artist Mahirwan Mamtani's Centrovision, Art Scene India
In the 1960s, influenced by Constructivism and Tantra art Mamtani came up with the series Centrovision, which consisted of more than 3000 works in 1990. “The inspiration for Mahirwan Mamtani's conception of "Centrovision" is derived from the manifestation of tantric doctrines. Emanating from the centre toward the outside, his forms are akin to the mandala concept, the visual manifestation of which are based on the axiom of microcosm versus macrocosm,” explains Dr. L.P. Sihare.
Artist Mahirwan Mamtani's Transmuted-Fotos as part of Sparsha, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany, Art Scene India
Regarding Transmuted-Fotos, Mamtani explains, “These are the photographs of my dance performances which I have over-painted with acrylic colours.” He performed dances wearing several mandala masks, which he painted on wood. These dances were recorded in the form of photos and videos and then painted over the surface of the resulting photo sheets with acrylic colours, creating a series of new mixed-media works of art. The result is human figures with mask like faces assuming new identities, and poised as enigmatic creatures. The performative stances and theatrical settings heighten elements of mystery, drama and the absurd.

According to Günter Ebert, “Mamtani´s figures appear with a mysterious aura and gravity begins to dissolve. What is invisible in the real world is visible here. The background of his paintings consists of molecular structures floating in the atmosphere, the so-called “orbs”. This transmutes the body thus a fantastic world of thought takes shape and opens the doors into a hidden world.”

Exploring plurality of cultures, the diversity and paradoxes existing in India and its linkages with ritualistic traditions,Sparsha promises to be interesting. The other artists invited to participate in this exhibition include Desire Machine Collective, Chitra Ganesh, Sunil Gawde, Subodh Gupta, Amar Kanwar, Subodh Kerkar, Nalini Malani, Mahirwan Mamtani, Monali Meher, Prabhavathi Meppayil, Pushpamala N, Mithu Sen, Tejal Shah, Viveek Sharma, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Sudarshan Shetty, L.N. Tallur and Thukral & Tagra.

The exhibition will open on 2nd November 2014 and will continue until 1st February 2015 at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany

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