Art Basel | Hong Kong 2015

March 09 - March 17, 2015 | 

Booth No 1D03

Atul Dodiya | Jitish Kallat | Reena Saini Kallat | Shilpa Gupta


Atul Dodiya

The cabinet enclosed in this exhibition was part of the Bhau Daji Lad Museum’s curatorial series, ‘Engaging Traditions’, which encourages contemporary artists to engage with the Museum’s history and collection. Through the series, artists are invited respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives, addressing issues that speak directly to the traditions and issues that underlie the founding of the Museum, yet evoke the present by challenging orthodoxies and questioning assumptions. This sculptural assemblage from the exhibition 7000 Museums: A Project For The Republic Of India, the cabinet (a format/ medium that is often used by Dodiya) evokes a layered dialogue with varied conceptual frameworks from the Museum’s collection, as they reference defining moments of history, art history as well as the semantics of museums and museum displays.

Atul addresses the complexity of various simultaneous happenings in history- of politics, art and culture, through playful interventions in his works. The oil painting reference historical photographs of events from the freedom struggle in the city of Mumbai in the 30s and 40s which are interrupted through abstractions from, markings, gashes from the works of Rabindranath Tagore - poet and painter, working in Bengal at the very time that Gandhi was making his mark in the western provinces.


Jitish Kallat

This painting of Jitish Kallat evoke a vast terrain forged of people, their heads flourishing – quite literally – with the bustle of daily life. Haircuts, composed of bicycles and livestock, dump-trucks and schoolhouses, pedestrians and merchants, sprout like cornucopias of ambition and imagination, binding all together, sustaining the skyline of Mumbai. It’s a celebration of community, a kind of hippie mural or album cover design, tripping on the vibe of grass roots righteousness and psychedelic utopia. Each and every figure is a real person, faithfully rendered from photos taken outside a train station, their transientvexistence validated and monumentalized, nameless heroes of a cyclical (r)evolution.

Jitish Kallat’s social realism encapsulates the very spirit of locality, its history and aspirations, with unnerving accuracy. There’s no coincidence that Jitish Kallat approaches painting as erasure. His colours bleed and dapple, assert ghostly form, play tricks of light; concocted from watery elixirs, applied and scraped off, misted with corrosive liquids, each layer melting seamlessly into the next in biological and alchemical continuity.


Reena Saini Kallat

Reena Saini Kallat’s Ruled Paper, (red, blue, white) is from her recent body of works, Porous Passages that advance poetic and provocative inquiries into ideas of unison and estrangement, on confluence and conflict. A recurring motif, as well as primary medium in the making of these works is the electrical cable.

This suite of drawings titled Ruled Paper, (red, blue, white) wires appear as empty sheets of paper awaiting inscription, but as if they were placed under a magnifying glass they begin to reveal or unravel a rather unsettling form of the barbed wire.


Shilpa Gupta

Gupta recounts the story of a world that is constantly in search of identity and in constant transformation.

The artist gathered stories of people who, for various reasons, be it fear of political persecution, social prejudice, personal aspiration or embarrassment, decided, at a certain point in their lives, to change their surname. Initially, the search was limited to her circle of relatives and friends, but over time it was also extended to areas not known to the artist, until more than one hundred stories of changed surnames emerged. Formalised as a kind of archive, these fragments of stories cover a trajectory running from the personal to the collective sphere. “When you fill in a form, the first thing that you are asked for is your surname” explains Gupta.

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