Monday, July 1, 2013

EDITORIAL - Seeing NGMA in 'Better light', Somnath Hore retrospective and more..


Getting ‘Better Light’ for the NGMA, New Delhi

With the July 1st issue of The Art Daily (TAD) we are at the threshold of the third month. When we started it on 1st May 2013 our resources were limited and aspirations were high. Today, we are proud to announce that more people have come forward to support us in many different ways. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being earnest readers and critics of TAD during the last two months. While we expect the same in coming days, I make an earnest plea here: Please do send your articles, links and other interesting materials for publishing in TAD.

( National Gallery of Modern Art - NGMA)
Today I went to the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi for seeing a retrospective of Jamini Roy (1887-1972), mounted as a part of the late master’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations. Curated by the veteran art researcher and writer, Ella Dutta, this exhibition showcases the works of Jamini Roy from the NGMA Collection as well as a few sourced from some reputed private collections. Spread out in the sprawling galleries of the new wing of the NGMA, this exhibition is a treat to the art lovers. I will be writing about this exhibition in detail soon. What I could say is this much: we need more and more such exhibitions, not only in Delhi but also in other cities in India including the metros like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Kochi.
Am I becoming a slave of habit too? When I recounted the names of cities I did not speak of Patna, Ranchi, Lucknow, Khairagarh, Nagpur, Pune, Guwahati, Bhuvaneshwar, Chandigarh or Panaji. What about these cities that also have a vibrant cultural scene or claimed to have a rich cultural heritage? Why do we wish away these cities or places whenever a major retrospective is centrally planned? Do we lack in resources or workforce? Or is it a pre-requisite to have private facilitators in these respective cities in order to make exhibitions travel? It is high time that we think of centre-periphery cultural exchanges. Or do we think that culture should end up in economically and politically powerful cities only?
I was very happy to see a long queue in front of the ticket counter at the NGMA; a rare sight. Things are slowly changing. But the demographic complexion of the queue was a bit depressing. Most of the people who had come to see the Jamini Roy exhibition belonged to the Bengali community. Obviously, NGMA cannot do anything towards it. But it could do something towards transcending the parochial implications a show could possibly have. Starting from newspaper advertisements to connecting with tour operators, from news channel special programs to FM Radio highlights, an exhibition of this scale could promoted through various mediums.
(A painting by Jamini Roy)
Lighting at the new galleries in NGMA, New Delhi is of abysmally poor quality. While the NGMA claims to have all the state of the art facilities, especially in its new wings, the authorities seem to have paid no attention to the lighting aspect. To see a Jamini Roy work one has to stand in an angle to get proper light on the work of art. It has happened with most of the important shows held in this new wing. Though art journalists have been pointing it out for a long time the authorities do not mind having shows in ‘poor light’. 
When Public-Private participations happen at the NGMA galleries, surprisingly, lighting gets better and galleries are spruced up for cutting edge works of art. If private money could do wonders as in the case of Skoda Prize show this year, I would suggest that the NGMA should go for collaborations with the private sector whenever it mounts important shows. It would ensure better catalogue productions (as we saw in the case of Ram Kinker Baij retrospective), better production of shows, better lighting and better publicity. When done alone, the NGMA Delhi has once again proved that it can show the best of gems in the ‘worst light.’



Of Spoken Memory

(Speak, Memory show)
Gallery Five Forty Five , Bangalore, presents a solo show of recent paintings by artist Madhvi Reddi, titled, ‘Speak, Memory’. The show highlights in a unique autobiographical style of painting, and the bold and unapologetic way the artist chooses to depict the thoughts.

Madhvi is a self taught painter, and a product designer from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi, she moved to painting full time in her studio in Bangalore. 

The paintings may appear disconcerting because of their unapologetic and unguarded content. She presents her life and experiences, and illustrates them using herself as the main figurative element. The works have an almost confessional note to them.

The show is on view from the 5th of July to the 31st of July 2013.

Limited Edition Prints by Somnath Hore
(A Somnath Hore print)
The Chemould Art Gallery, Kolkata, presents a retrospective of eminent print maker, Somnath Hore. On show, are limited prints of 21 works by the legendary artist. Most of Somnath Hore’s works can be seen as a response to historical crises and events of 20th century Bengal, including the famine of 1943.

The sculptures, murals, sketches and prints were a reaction which convey a quiet heroism in the face of suffering beyond measure. With influences and inspiration form some of the German printmakers like Kathe Kollwitz and Austrian expressionist Oskar Kokoschka, he learnt and developed various innovative  methods of printmaking in India. He died at the ripe age of 85 in 2006.

the retrospective will be on view from the 1st of July to the 10th of July 2013.

Merging Metaphors through Art

(ICCR invite)
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations, (ICCR) New Delhi, presents a painting exhibition of a group of artists titled, ‘Merging Metaphors’. The show is curated by eminent curator, Sushma K Bahl and the works on display are the artworks done by the artists from the India-ASEAN Residency held at Darjeeling in 2012.

The show is being held at the Azad Bhavan Art Gallery, and is on view till the 3rd of July 2013.

The show is an ongoing part of the ‘ Under Horizon Series’ and event to promote solidarity and bonding between various communities of India. 

An Unhurried Moment

(A painting by Naresh Das)
Icon Art Gallery, Hyderabad, presents a solo show of paintings by artist, Naresh Das. Naresh has a Bachelor’s degree in Painting from the Utkal University Orissa, and his work on display can be classified as expressionistic style.  He has explored the world of animation Film making and uses both these strains to create his new series.

The show is titled, ‘ A Moment Paused’ and displays a collection of paintings where the artist has tried to capture an irreversible line of fleeting moments. The fraction of a second when time is paused, is what the paintings seem to depict through the artist’s fertile imagination. A flurry of activities, movements frozen in an instant. The delicate merging and blending of forms depicted in canvas in full vibrancy of colour makes the collection mystical and inspiring. The artist captures the still and the dynamic all in one colourful array of works.

The show is on view till the11th of July 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)


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