Prateek and Priyanka Raja of Experimenter feel the pandemic has opened doors for collaborations across the world

Founder and Co-Directors of Experimenter- Prateek & Priyanka Raja took to digital platforms during the pandemic to keep the balls rolling

author_img Raima Ganguly Published :  24th December 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  24th December 2021 12:00 AM
Prateek & Priyanka Raja (Image Courtesy: Experimenter, Kolkata)

Prateek & Priyanka Raja (Image Courtesy: Experimenter, Kolkata)

Multidisciplinary art-house Experimenter, Kolkata is an incubator of challenging contemporary artforms. Spread across two outlets at Hindustan Road and Ballygunge Place, the gallery collaborated with gb agency, Paris for a digital project with Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong named Waiting for Hilsa. The collaboration took to performative spaces over the virtual space where Phinthong’s long-term project on the routes of Hilsa was brought to life. Indulge spoke to the Founder and Co-Directors of Experimenter- Prateek Raja & Priyanka Raja.

What would you term as one of the most prominent changes the art world has had to go through over the past two years?

I cannot single out one particular thing as we have all been through a variety of changes. Over the past fourteen years, our ways of reaching out to the world of curators and artists have always been hybrid. To mark some prominent changes, it is noteworthy how you see an exhibition has evolved. The digital space has helped define exhibitory rooms in a more user-friendly way. This phase of complete containment has made us realise how we value time as an idea. We have come to terms with the fact that being able to showcase this pièces-de-résistance physically is a gift.

What were some of the significant modes of functioning adapted during this phase?

Collaborations saw a remarkable rise as various galleries across the world came together. Experimenter devised a digital exhibition platform named In-touch where Indian and Middle-Eastern galleries connected to challenge traditional forms of art engagement. In another instance, 21 contemporary galleries from around the world came together in a collaboration named Galleries Curate. Prateek went on to become an organising committee member of the International Gallery Alliance which saw whopping participation of over 400 galleries globally.

What are some of your thoughts that contribute to art curation over the virtual world?

We have been rooted in art as a practice as much as possible. We were on the lookout for what experimentations can be made online and what adaptation is required for the same.

Last year in a conversation with Indulge you mentioned that digital spaces are opening up opportunities for art globalisation. A year down the line, do you think the digital has hindered the consumer’s perception of art?

It has not pulled us back in terms of commercial aspects, but digital spaces are certainly bringing in boredom aesthetically. Physical spaces cannot be replaced by the virtual world as the joy gained from the experience is compromised. On the commercial part, the support from long-term collectors has been a boon.

What can we expect from Experimenter in 2022?

Experimenter, Hindustan Road is hosting Varun Desai’s first solo exhibition named Spectre up till January 8. The project explores human perception through sonic experiences and spatial installations.  The early half of 2022 will see solos by Kanishka Raja and Sunil Janah at the Ballygunge Place and Hindustan Road galleries respectively.