Gallery Kolkata hosts Contemporary Practices, a new exhibition on today's finest Indian artists
Gallery Kolkata recently opened Phase II of its anniversary show exhibition, on the occasion of completing 15 years. The exhibition, called Contemporary Practices will showcase the works of contemporary Indian artists; from different parts of India and abroad.
While on one hand, you will find Madhu Basu’s Magma series from Paris, there is Kolkata-based artist Shipra Bhattacharya’s Gojyatra too- along with two works by Fawad Tamkanat from Hyderabad, called Café and Soldier. There are bronze sculptures by Seema Kohli from the Yogini series, along with smaller works, with acrylic on canvas.
While in Café (2015) Fawad Tamkanat tries to capture the mood of an Iranian Café, the work Soldier (2011) is a comment on the Iraq War, but not in a realistic sense. His works convey the intrusion of technology in everyday life. “I use photorealism, an international technique which helps in capturing the essence of a scene,” he says.
“For our 15th anniversary show, we wanted to showcase the works of those masters, who had contributed strongly to the Indian art practices and to the growth of the gallery in many ways. Most of these works in the first phase were Avant- garde, and some were from the Bengal movement of art, with artists like Prakash Karmakar and Bijan Choudhury,” says Meghna Agarwala, the director of Gallery Kolkata.
“For phase II, we chose artists whose works had a global language, despite retaining its Indianness. It’s either their technique or the thought behind their works, which evoke awe. The exhibition focuses on how the artists of today perceive the current times, and convey their thoughts through definitive style,” she adds.
Viveek Sharma, who grew up in Mumbai and alternates between the US and Switzerland, will showcase a work called Mystic Journey for the Royal. The artist who is primarily known for creating lifelines, uses his self portrait, adjacent to thenaga sadhus, in a recreation of Kumbh Mela, as the outsider’s gaze towards the Indian surrealism.
“I was really inspired by Dali’s self portrait in one of his works- to introduce myself in the picture. My mother’s birth place is Allahabad and I have always looked at the Kumbh Mela with a sense of wonder- which I have tried to capture in the work,” says Sharma.
Then there’s Prasanta Sahu from Santiniketan, Pratul Dash from Delhi and TV Santosh from Mumbai. You can also find Chattrapati Dutta’s untitled work from Kolkata, Birendra Pani’s Vishwa Rupam from Delhi, and Sunil Gawde’s untitled piece from Mumbai.
Kolkata based artists Chandra Bhattacharya’s Not in the Picture, Arindam Chatterjee’s The Crazed Moon and Subrata Biswas’s bronze sculptures Think Green and City Bred, will be there too, along with Amitava Das’s untitled work, with Mixed Media on Canvas, from Delhi.
“While the vessels and pots in Madhu Basu's works talk about the basic needs of everyday life; a soldier and a mother in TV Santosh’s water colours (2008-2009), explores the unrest in the world- a topic which is still relevant,” says the curator.
Shipra Bhattacharya, who is well known for her figurative works, takes a feminist approach in Gajyatra, and talks about women in the Indian context. “Her works explore the everyday Bengali women in their habitat. Their strength and sense of freedom comes across through the postures and confidence in their faces,” adds Meghna.
While Arindam Chatterjee's The Crazed Moon in charcoal and pastel on paper, in monochromatic style is sensitive and brilliantly executed, bringing out the intrinsic beauty of the night and the moon’s dull radiance to life- Chandra Bhattacharya's Not in The Picture makes a strong allegory with a girl and some barbed wires, behind her.
The barbed wire, not just depicts the boundaries of a country, but also the limits and restrictions imposed on the womankind and how they are treated in society. The artist tries to question the condition of women by indicating towards the theme in the title and avoiding explicit references in the work.
Majority of the artists in this exhibition, either depict or question the current day dilemmas in the world or their own regional contexts. Phase III of the series will open on August 5, which will showcase the leading artists from South India.
Contemporary Practices. At Gallery Kolkata. On till July 27. 11 am – 6:30 pm.