Wednesday, August 28, 2013

EDITORIAL - Take On the Art of Residencies, news and more...

Take on the Art of Residencies 
(Bhavna Kakar)
What is the right place to read an art magazine? I find metro coaches are the best. May be I am a devoted metro traveler. If you prefer to read it in a car or in your study or in your washroom, you may do so. What is important is concentration. I get full concentration in crowded metro coaches as each person standing or sitting generally minds his or her business. Most of them are either listening to music or doing some introspection camouflaged as sleep. Now, how do you read an art magazine? I prefer to read it from back to front as I find most of the art magazines carry heavy articles in the beginning and lighter ones towards the end. One good thing about reading from back to front is that by the time you reach the front you will be prepared to take anything said in the name of art. 
That’s how recently I finished reading the latest issue of Take on Art magazine. Published from Delhi and edited by Bhavna Kakar, this quarterly magazine within a short period of four years and eleven issues has achieved a key position in the art magazine publication in India. In each edition it covers one particular issue pertaining to art; I should add art in the international scenario today. Unlike the other magazines, including the Art and Deal that I edit, Take on Art functions as an international art magazine published from India rather than an art magazine that publishes Indian art from within India or from elsewhere. Today, it has pushed the so far unrivaled Art India Magazine to a lower position in popularity and acceptance. But I am of the opinion that the more the merrier. We need more art magazines and more writers.
( The latest Take on Art magazine on Residency)
The latest issue of Take on Art that I read from back to front in the metro, deals with the topic of ‘Residency’, a latest fad in the international art circuit. Had it been camp hopping in the boom years, during the current years of hopelessly prolonged recession it is residency hopping. Artists travel from one residency to the other, gaining short term experiences and long term artistic exposure. By the time I finished an interview with art collector Amrita Jhaveri, a piece on the art collector Anju Poddar, the column of the Phantom Lady aka N.Pushapamala (or vice versa) and a few reviews and a cleverly assorted collection of photographs on Kochi-Muziris Biennale by Manisha Gera Baswani (one cannot forget the snap of Bose Krishnamachari drinking water), I was prepared to read anything. Pushpamala surprised me with her high decibel critique on her fellow artists who turned her call down to boycott an Israeli museum show. I hope the critique also will not be turned down by them. 
(Artist N Pushpamala as Phantom Lady)
This is a book review masquerading as an Editorial or the other way round so I do not want to go into too many details of the content. However, what I gathered from a few writings written by the artists who have already hopped a number of residencies, is their ultimate struggle to prove that their sojourns were useful despite the visa as well as language problems. Emily Crane’s article sheds light on the politics of network formations through residency economics. Suddenly you realise that Khoj too was not a spontaneous idea of a group of artists in Delhi. If residency comes, shall economic strategies of international networking be far behind?
‘A Residency, What For?’, an article written by Franck Barthelemy is sincere in its approach as he does not make any effort to justify residencies or to disclaim them. He simply wonders, after delineating a few sample residencies in India, what could be the final outcome if philanthropy is the only motive behind setting up residency programs. The international residency scenario as scribed by reputed curators from the respective countries, like Cecilia Canziani (Italy), Bisi Silva (Nigeria), Stefanie Hessler (Brazil), Robert Kluijver (Cyprus) and so on tell a reader like me about their realities. When I read Hessler’s optimism in the present Brazilian economic boom, I just think of the optimism we all Indians had a few years back.
(Artist Chintan Upadhyay)
Shreya Ray writes about Sandarbh, an art residency at Partapur, Rajasthan, initiated by artist Chintan Upadhyaya. Article starts with one of the myths that Chintan wants to get registered in the contemporary art folklore. Rest is history. But Sandarbh is not mentioned in the ‘recommended/pick’ Take on Art list of residencies, painstakingly put together by the editorial board. Absence is a form of presence.
The first few pages of the magazine are filled with conversations about residencies, only pros and no cons. So I skimmed through them as each curator in the conversation trying to put their local facts as universal truths. But one cannot be too cynical about it. Only thing I get cynical is when everyone speaks of residency outcome as ‘process’ than works of art ready to be shown for larger engagements.
Can a writer publish his study notes for a novel instead of a novel and get an award for a novel? Or even called a novelist only if he has visited writers’ workshops all over the world? If not why only artists are called artists when they do only ‘processes’ in residencies? 
Anyway, it was good reading Take on Art Magazine with the first quarter with full of international blah blah and the three fourth with readable materials. 


In praise of Krishna
(Work of Kishore Roy on display at the show)
Aalankritha Art Gallery, Hyderabad, presents a group show titled ‘Krishnastuti’ displaying works by a number of artists as an ode to the beloved God, Krishna on the occasion of the 
Krishna Janmashthami  festival celebrations.

The participating artists are Ananda Das, Ashoke Ganguly, Bhushayya K., Bipin Martha, Dhiren Sasmal, Jeevan Gosika, Kishore Roy, Rajib Sur Roy, Sadaanandan PK, Saraswathi L and Subrata Das.

The show is on view till the 6th of September 2013.

The Transformation show
(a work on display)
Bordering on simplicity of strokes and colour palette, the solo show titled,’ Transformation’ by artist Sumanto Chowdhury makes a mark at the Shrishti Art Gallery, Hyderabad.

The works on display vary in themes ranging from landscapes and rural and urban life to religious deities rendered in oil and acrylic on canvas.

The works will be on display till the 2nd of September 2013.

An Open Studio and a Studio Opening

1Shanthi Road, Bangalore presents ‘Open studio and a studio opening - Soundscapes and Installations’ featuring Swiss musician and sound artist Barblina Meierhans  in collaboration with Suresh Jayaram for a sound installation. The artists create a soundscape by using multiple spaces across 1.Shanthi Road. 
Barblina Meierhans, born in Saint Gall, studies violin compositions in transdisciplinary creations as sound installation and lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland.

This event is supported by Pro Helvetia.

The show opens on 31st August 2013 at 7 pm and is on till 9 pm on 1st September 2013 

Artistic Creations
(a work on display)
Gallery Third Eye, Bangalore presents a group show titled ‘ Artistic Creations’ that focuses on the vibrancy, sensitivity, richness and the depth of Indian art. 

The paintings highlight the creative nuances of artists with their varied styles, mediums and imagination. In our fast paced world where life is full of stress and high on commercialism, a good piece of art can provide solace, peace and joy to the viewer. It rejuvenates the mind and body. 

For further details call on : +91 9845585235

The show is on view till 31st August 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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