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SPECIAL

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THAT


Feature MAKE UP A WELL-ROUNDED ART
FAIR AND HOW HAVE YOU TRIED
TO INCORPORATE THEM IN THE
INDIA ART FAIR (IAF) TO MAKE THE
EXPERIENCE MORE HOLISTIC?
It’s important to create the right
experience for visitors. There needs
to be high quality and diverse art
supported by the right kind of physical
infrastructure to make an environment
conducive to viewing and buying art. In
2018, we made some small changes to

INDIA ART FAIR


the IAF that made a lot of difference —
the fair this time around saw broader
aisles, an increased wall height and
more glass in the structures to let in
light. This refreshed and improved
design enabled easier navigation and JAGDIP JAGPAL
A V A N T- G A R D E was appreciated by our gallerists and

Aesthetes
visitors alike. I’ve also been wanting Building A Sustainable Ecosystem
to develop the fair’s curatorial focus.
Going forward, we will encourage our HAVING SPENT THE BETTER HALF decorative and conceptual works —
galleries to showcase works by artists OF YOUR LIFE IN LONDON, WHAT and I have a preference for the latter.
who have never exhibited at the fair WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST At the fair itself, you’ll find plenty
before. This is both a way of promoting DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR AS FAR of contemporary artists addressing
newer names and building a sustainable AS THE ART SCENE IS CONCERNED some of the most pressing issues of
ecosystem while also encouraging IN INDIA VERSUS THE UK? our times. Some examples from this
that sense of something new and There are far greater opportunities year include Rithika Merchant’s new
discovery. We will also be reimagining to make new discoveries in India. and beautiful drawings that capture
our collateral events programme to The artists have a background in the very essence of migration; a film
encourage our visitors to discover multiple disciplines and are constantly by Hetain Patel, where he makes
standout exhibitions and events taking developing their practice. I see them clever use of thrilling costumes and
place in New Delhi around the fair in supporting and mentoring each other, sensational soundtracks to question
January 2019. The next edition of the often pushing the next generation to existing notions of gender, race and
As genres are getting redefined, the Indian art scene is being restructured using IAF opens on January 31 and will be on have the same opportunities that they identity; and the large and seductive
exciting new forms and cultural codes. Speaking about the latest developments until February 3, 2019. did. There is a sense of community architectural paintings by Tanya Goel
here, and this can only be good for that make a strong statement on
in two contrasting, yet correlative, experiences, Jagdip Jagpal, director and THIS YEAR, THE IAF INTRODUCED the sector as a whole. The galleries urbanisation. Personally, I really enjoy
re-inventor of the India Art Fair, and Tarini Sethi and Anant Ahuja, founders of ‘I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST and collectors are also demonstrating and appreciate performance art.
SUMMER’, A SECTION THAT GAVE greater curiosity and encouraging new
The Irregulars Art Fair, each curate a list of innovative multidisciplinary artists THE PUBLIC THE OPPORTUNITY talent in different ways. HOW IS THE ART SCENE EVOLVING
TO VIEW ART MADE BY INDIAN AS THE INTERNET INCREASINGLY
AND SOUTH ASIAN ARTISTS ART HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN PROVIDES A PLATFORM FOR
ABROAD. WHAT DRAWS YOU USED AS A MEDIUM TO REPRESENT INDIVIDUALS TO SO EASILY
TOWARDS INDIAN AND SOUTH AND CONVEY THE SOCIO- DISSEMINATE THEIR ARTWORK?
ASIAN ART? POLITICAL CLIMATE OF THE The internet has vastly transformed
Prior to joining the fair, I was lucky MOMENT. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES the art world and some consider it as
enough to have had the opportunity THAT YOU FIND YOUNG INDIAN significant a technological medium as
to interact with some leading artists ARTISTS FOCUSSING ON? IN the camera was for the last century.
TEXT AND INTERVIEWS BY TINA DASTUR AND PREKSHA SHARMA and arts professionals from South TODAY’S DAY AND AGE, DO YOU The young generation is experimenting
Asia. I was impressed by the amount THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ART a lot with the medium to produce really
of activity taking place. As a person TO SAY SOMETHING RATHER THAN high quality, interactive digital works.
of Indian heritage, I feel so proud of JUST BE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL Of course, there are many others who
the quality of art and ambassadorship TO LOOK AT — OR DOES THAT do not only work with the internet but
demonstrated by our artists. I am keen INTERFERE WITH THE VISCERAL instead, use it to find inspiration or
that local audiences get the chance to EXPERIENCE OF VIEWING ART? share glimpses of their practice. Many
engage with some of the works that As a viewer, I tend to instinctively of them are being discovered online by
they are exhibiting across the world. differentiate between purely galleries, dealers and collectors.

118 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 119


“In my work, I constantly seek to as well as the law. “A lot of the material
draw correlations between myth, that I collect is press coverage from
religion, history, facts and the internet. the internet, footage, site mock-ups,
This also forms the premise for my news investigations, rumours, fake
current body of work. I am really news, viral videos and WhatsApp
interested in the politics of terror, forwards. Ground Zero follows the
the metaphor of the bomb and its identification of potential ‘suspects.’
position in the dichotomy of pleasure What makes somebody look like a
and fear,” says Goa-based artist Sahil suspect? Is there an iconography?
Naik, who became interested in the Why do most misidentified suspects
idea of the bomb after a temple in have similar social, ethnic, physical and
his neighbourhood was subjected to religious characteristics? Why is it so
threats and hoaxes. easy to cast suspicion on the coloured
In 2017, Naik exhibited Ground Zero body? Most of these are temporary
at Kolkata gallery Experimenter; this narratives drawn out of situational
SAHIL project, he says, was born out of a evidence. The misidentification may

NAIK, 26 constant reference to sites of trauma.


Shedding light on it, Naik details, “The
be momentary, but its impact is not
— there is a recurring rehearsal of
conceptual premise of this show looks trauma, fear and dehumanisation.
VIVIAN SARKY FOR EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA

at architecture from two positions: Once this passes — and if it does


as evidence and as witness — both — the misidentified is a victim who
as a physical form and as a live entity will forever be tied to the site.
with embedded histories. The work The law does very little to protect
identifies potential ‘suspects’ based individuals from media trials and
on certain iconographies formed by there are fewer forms of recuperation
social, political, ethnic and religious for the misidentified. How do you
characteristics.” For the exhibition, compensate trauma? How do you
he created replications of familiar undo humiliation?” he questions.
locations and subjected them to This year, Naik, who is currently in
explosions, looking mainly towards the residence at Aomori Contemporary
CURATOR-SPEAK vulnerability of our everyday spaces Art Centre (ACAC), Japan, is working
and how we always think of terror as on a larger project that looks at the
“He is a sculptor, but not in the being at a distance from us — the ‘this violence of the nation-building project
traditional sense. I really appreciate can never happen to me’ mindset. in South Asia; he will be showing an
his attention to detail when creating a What’s more, Ground Zero looks at early fragment of this project in a

IMAGES COURTESY: VIVIAN SARKY FOR EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA


narrative around spaces.” the role of the press and the internet group show at the ACAC.
IMAGE COURTESY: THE ARTIST, KHOJ INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS ASSOCIATION
AND EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA

FACING PAGE: DETAIL, PORTRAITS OF HOME/


EXIT WOUNDS, 2018
THIS PAGE, TOP: INSTALLATION DETAIL, LAZARETTO,
GROUND ZERO, 2017, EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA
BOTTOM: INSTALLATION VIEW, LAZARETTO, GROUND
ZERO, 2017, EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA

120 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 121


“I’m a British artist born of immigrant simple idea and then committing to it
parents. I grew up in a town where at an audacious level. ‘I wonder what
it felt as if we were the only brown it’d be like to have a moustache like my
people. That informs the core of a lot dad’s’, ‘I wonder what it’d be like to be
of my artworks. I went to art school in that kung fu film’, ‘I wonder what my “I had a dream once in which Momus, Rahal says that he’s interested
at Nottingham Trent University, from car would look like if it could transform the pagan god of art criticism, came in “figuring out new ways of telling
where I graduated in 2003, and I into a robot’. Because the initial idea and told me, ‘A lie creates another this massive tale of absurd objects
have been working as an artist ever is always identity-related, the result is world, one in which it is true’. I kind of entering our world”. And so, he
since — first in Nottingham and now funny. The feeling from the viewer is took that to heart a bit too strongly, doesn’t really stick to one medium
in London,” says Hetain Patel, who is often, ‘Why would someone do this?’ I think,” quips Sahej Rahal, whose for too long, but instead experiments
represented by Mumbai-based gallery And to leave that question out there is art is inspired by the mythological with various mediums — these include
Chatterjee & Lal. what’s important for me.” SAHEJ and the bizarre. “I make things and drawings, sculpture, performances
HETAIN Patel’s art is all about making Patel dabbles in photography,
RAHAL, 29
pretend that they belong to ancient and moving images. “Right now, I’m

REECE STRAW AT PRIMARY NOTTINGHAM, 2017


connections — between cultures, video, sculpture and live performance, civilisations or have travelled back working on the second episode of a
PATEL, 37 genders and generations. Since his but admits he doesn’t have a favourite to our time from the future…and video game that is populated with my
process is largely collaborative and medium. “They are all different ways sometimes, people believe me,” the sculptures and with levels designed
across different art mediums, he to explore the representations of the artist states. with objects that were 3D-scanned in
says that it enables him to practise body and to expand the ways in which Mumbai-born Rahal graduated from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
what he preaches, and that involves bodies are read. I’m interested in the city’s Rachana Sansad Academy of Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. I trained as
“developing and fostering connections freedom…and for the body to be free, Fine Art; and his hometown no doubt a painter in art school and I’ve been
with people across a broad spectrum it needs to exist in multiple formats.” inspires a large chunk of his works. getting back into making paintings
of backgrounds that are often different That said, Patel says that he’s keen on “For me, Mumbai has always been a again recently,” he says.
from my own. Collaboration between working with film for moving image city that comes together like a massive As for what’s in the pipeline,
art and life is key to the possibilities of works in the future. “I’d love to make bricolage of the past, present and the Rahal reveals, “I’ve just come back to
what we can be as humans”. film works with 35mm film,” he reveals. future that is constantly reassembling Mumbai after a fairly long time. And
The UK-based artist’s work explores This year, Patel, who is a New itself. For example, you see Victorian I’m slowly getting back to working on
the themes of identity, freedom and Wave Associate at Sadler’s Wells CURATOR-SPEAK architecture juxtaposed with art ideas that I’d put on the back-burner
CURATOR-SPEAK human connection; and while they Theatre, London, is collaborating on deco structures — and when viewed for a while. I’m also prepping for
are often political in nature, he also performances with dancers, actors, “Not unsurprisingly, his clay and together, it resembles a postmodern my next solo show, which opens at
“From American Boy (2014), Jump employs humour and popular culture musicians and amateur choirs. This will ceramic sculptures were the most mishmash of glass and chrome. This Chatterjee & Lal in January next year.
(2015) and American Man (2016) to as “passports for the work to travel be research for a project he’s planning attractive and popular amongst the art non-linear experience of time is Following that, I’ll be taking off to
Don’t Look At The Finger (2017), I have beyond the rarefied world of politics”. for 2020 — it will incorporate film, crowd as well as the general public at something that I think echoes in my Canada, where I’ll be participating in
seen all his films and have always been His humour, also used as a tool for sculpture and live performance for the Liverpool Biennale 2016.” work,” he elaborates. the Vancouver Biennale.”
amazed by his ability to transform social commentary, makes his works galleries. “I’m also doing research for
himself into a range of characters. more accessible and relatable on a my first feature film, a development of
And what’s more impressive is that he personal level. Expanding on this, he my most recent short film, Don’t Look
stitches his own costumes!” says, “I employ humour by taking a at the Finger (2017),” he concludes.

IMAGES COURTESY: THE ARTIST AND CHATTERJEE & LAL, MUMBAI


PHOTOGRAPHY: REECE STRAW
DRY SALVAGES, 2017, FOUND
OBJECTS, POLYURETHANE,
ACRYLIC PAINT, PRIMARY
NOTTINGHAM, UK

DON’T LOOK AT THE FINGER,


2017, SINGLE CHANNEL FILM

122 JULY-AUGUST 2018


SAJAN
MANI, 35
Growing up in Kannur, Kerala, in a As a postcolonial Dalit who uses
family of rubber tappers, Sajan Mani his body to move into varied public
never imagined going to art school spaces and portray the struggles
even though he would frequently of the marginalised body, the artist
sketch as a youngster. Armed explains, “I am interested in the body

IMAGE COURTESY: THE DHAKA ART SUMMIT AND ARTIST


with degrees in fine arts, English and the concepts of time and space
literature and journalism, Mani — the body and its limits, endurance
worked as a migrant labourer for and a black Dalit body’s existence.
MORVARID K

two years in the Gulf. After a period I’m trying to create new languages
of extensive travel, he decided to to address the idea of possible

PHOTOGRAPHY: NOOR PHOTOFACE


participate in the very first edition collective futures. My body is a site
of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which for the powerless, the untouchable.
CURATOR-SPEAK is where he moulded and honed his My performances attempt to evoke
artistic practice. Speaking about his pain, shame, power and fear.”
“I first saw Sajan perform at experience at the Biennale, Mani Currently, Mani is pursuing a
Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, and later, states, “The 2012 biennale was like master’s degree in ‘art in the public
at the Dhaka Art Summit. I admire the a university for me, where Bose space’ at the Weissensee Academy
simplicity and bravery with which he is Krishnamachari mentored me and of Art, Berlin, where he is busy
able to make strong social statements Nikhil Chopra guided me in the researching subjects like spatial
about modern India.” nuances of performance art.” justice and spatiality.
IMAGE COURTESY: VANCOUVER BIENNALE AND ARTIST

IMAGE COURTESY: THE ARTIST AND HAUS DER KUNST


PHOTOGRAPHY: ROAMING-THE-PLANET

PHOTOGRAPHY: MARION VOGEL


CITIZEN SHIP BURN IT DOWN!, LIVE TOP: #MAKEININDIA, LIVE PERFORMANCE, DURATION 8 HOURS, 4 HOURS
PERFORMANCE, VANCOUVER, CANADA, EACH DAY, DHAKA ART SUMMIT 2016, DHAKA, BANGLADESH
VANCOUVER BIENNALE, 2014 BOTTOM: ‘CASTE-PITAL’, DURATIONAL PERFORMANCE 9.30 HOURS,
“SPECTERS OF COMMUNISM. A FESTIVAL ON THE REVOLUTIONARY
CENTURY”, HAUS DER KUNST, MUNICH, GERMANY, 2018

124 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 125


He was surrounded by art as a exhibition was an attempt to explore
child. His father’s grandfather was that trauma through various materials
a Dutch impressionist, and so his and historical objects. The exhibition,
home was always full of oil paintings, more broadly, attempted to measure
pastoral scenes and portraits. “I the various forms of separation that
began scribbling quite early on in we all feel. The separation from loved
my childhood and, in some way, that ones, the separation of labour from
process never really stopped. I’ve profit, the separation of the self in
always been a very quiet person, but time and the separation of nations
art has provided me with a platform from each other — something we’re
through which I could explore those seeing too much of these days.
particular moments in life which Through The Weight of Separation,
I found extremely challenging to I wanted the materials to express
articulate through mere words,” says their own forms of trauma, whether
Andrew Ananda Voogel. of threads being pulled apart or of a
A recurrent theme in Voogel’s paper sculpture succumbing to the
works is the idea of the ‘weight of weight of its own gravity. Regardless of
memory’ — this was inspired by a visit the medium, the focus of each piece is
in 2007 to his mother’s home in former the influence of time,” he explains.
British Guyana, where the population Voogel’s works leave themselves

IMAGES COURTESY: ANDREW ANANDA VOOGEL/PRAKASH RAO/PROJECT 88


is split between the descendants of open to interpretation, but that
West Africans and Indians who were doesn’t mean that they don’t have
brought to work in the sugarcane an underlying meaning. “There is
plantations of the former British definitely a specific meaning to each
Empire. “On that particular visit, I of my works. I tend to work on the
ANDREW ANANDA was deeply affected by the weight
of memory and history. I began
premise of what I call the ‘expanded
moment’. In this way, the viewer
VOOGEL, 34 researching the colonial archives in completes the piece and not the other
Guyana and started making sense of way around. It’s important for me
my family’s own history for the very as an artist to create spaces for the
first time. Since then, the themes negotiation of meaning and not to fully
of sea crossing, exile, memory and define or control the interpretation of
ANDREW ANANDA VOOGEL

historical trauma have had a major the work. Visually, I hope to cultivate
influence on my art practice,” details a curiosity, but also nurture a sense of
the artist. the unknown, which allows the viewer
One particular exhibit of Voogel’s a certain sense of exploration,” he
that explored this theme in great frankly states.
detail was The Weight of Separation Voogel, who divides his time
(2017), which he began working on between Northern California and
at Khoj in 2016. However, the story Taipei City, recently participated in
CURATOR-SPEAK behind the work began in the early an exhibition titled New Traditions:
ABOVE (LEFT TO RIGHT): WEIGHT III, FOUND OBJECT, 2016;
1900s when his grandfather’s mother Influences and Inspirations in Indian DIAGRAM II, INK ON PAPER, 2017
“I was immediately drawn to his was forcibly separated from her Textiles, 1947-2017 at the Jawahar Kala
work, which was exhibited at the family in Uttar Pradesh and brought Kendra, Jaipur, curated by Mayank
Khirkee Festival organised by Khoj in to the Caribbean via Kolkata. “There’s Mansingh Kaul. Presently, he is working
New Delhi last year, and have been so much immeasurable trauma that on a solo exhibition that will open in
following his career since.” history enacts upon all of us. This Vienna in 2019.

126 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 127


Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, her forms and explore the dialectic of
interest in art was sparked by her tension as language. Patterns of a
father. As Yasmin Jahan Nupur puts it, Tactile Score is based mainly on my
“I learned how to draw even before I childhood memories of my mother
knew how to spell.” After completing embroidering. A translucent cotton
her master’s in drawing and painting cloth from Bengal, muslin embellished
from the University of Chittagong with jamdani has been celebrated for
in 2004, she moved to Dhaka two its mesmerising allure and feather-light
years later to start her career as an texture. Growing up in Bangladesh, I
independent artist. And, since 2009, knew the history behind how it was
she has been a member of the Britto celebrated, but at the same time, I
Art Trust in Dhaka. was deeply affected by the legacies
Nupur’s performative practice and impact of British colonialism.
is known to tackle and challenge a Generations of Bengalis have grown
number of political issues, paying up with stories of how the British cut
close attention to their impact on off the thumbs of weavers so they
humanity. “My work is situated within could no longer produce muslin and
socio-political, cultural and ecological were forced to buy British goods.
conditions, and I produce objects and This history haunts me. I use muslin/
installations and prepare activities that jamdani as a medium to locate and
take on wide-ranging themes such as express the individual and collective
feminism, country-wide identification, memories across time and place.

IMAGE COURTESY: EXHIBIT 320


climate change, war and the economic The act of weaving is meditative and
YASMIN JAHAN crisis. I am also constantly thinking emotional. The entire body of the
about boundaries — not just in terms
NUPUR, 39 of a ‘physical’ boundary but also those
weaver is invested into its formation
and the fineness of muslin forms a
within the mental space of individuals,” second skin, connecting our bodies
she explains. and spirit with the woven structures of
Detailing why the themes of the universe,” she elaborates.
migration and human relations are so Nupur, who is presently working
personal to her, the Dhaka-based artist on ideas around mapping, war and
says, “My work Crossing the Border, migrant workers, says that she’d like
Being Together (2013) invites people to do a performance pertaining to
to cross the border to be together.
INDU ANTONY

the politics of food security. “Dhaka’s


Bangladesh, India and Pakistan once brouhaha over contaminated fruit
formed a single population, but now speaks about a growing chasm
it is difficult for the citizens of these between the urban and the rural. As
countries to cross these borders. we become more removed from the
CURATOR-SPEAK Nationalism unites people into a traditional modes of food production,
coherent whole, a nation. But this the agricultural hinterland is being
“Yasmin is a formidable performance nation can be the product of a more treated as nothing more than the food
artist. Her research, process and quality or less arbitrary carve-up. Born in source for a hungry city. The practice
of performances engender empathy for a country whose borders are both of spraying fruit with chemicals is one
the plight of the marginalised and set recent and sources of extremely problem, but more worrying is the
her apart from the others.” complex and tense relations between possibility that the entire food chain

PHOTOGRAPHY: DHEER KAKU


neighbouring countries, I understand is being compromised and the soil
the degree to which borders solidify itself is contaminated by toxins that
the will of those in power.” are almost impossible to eradicate,”
Her performances aside, Nupur she expands. She is also working on
also creates installations that work a project that focuses on her father’s
with fabrics and hand embroidery. land, which was recently acquired by
One of her standout projects is the government. “At some point, we
Patterns of a Tactile Score (2018), are also going to be landless. So, I’m
where she has employed the ancient building a body of work that looks at TOP: PATTERNS OF A TACTILE SCORE
BOTTOM: OUR OWN PRIVATE ANTHOLOGY,
weaving technique of jamdani. “I used the land and landscape — how land PERFORMANCE, 39 HOURS, SERENDIPITY 2016,
woven textile forms and drawings that is losing its sense of ancestral history ONGOING
were inspired by the weaver’s array and how it is making way for cities and
of floral and geometric motifs. They factories…and hence, what impact that
reflect my interest in pliable sculptural will have on humanity,” she concludes.

128 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 129


Born in New Delhi, the artist am intrigued by how geometry, which
graduated with a bachelor of fine is static in nature, is juxtaposed and
arts from The Maharaja Sayajirao imposed with and upon a ground
University of Baroda and then that is constantly shifting.” Having
proceeded to attain her post- lived in three major metropolises
baccalaureate certificate in studio over the course of her career (New
(PBS) from the School of the Art Delhi, New York and Chicago), her
Institute of Chicago (SAIC), topping experiences and observations — and
it off with a master’s in fine arts from particularly the concept of the grid —
the Yale University School of Art, plays an important role in her creative
Connecticut. After living in Chicago process. “Living in different cities,
and New York, Tanya Goel returned what I became most sensitive to was
TANYA home to New Delhi, only to find
dramatic shifts in the use of industrial
the presence and, more importantly,
the absence of a grid: the abstract
GOEL, 32 materials for construction, with glass geometric system of right-angled
and steel replacing iron and brick. streets that completely disregards
Through her works, Goel attempts what is on the ground. The grid of a
VAIBHAV RAJ SHAH ©TANYA GOEL

to make a material record of a swiftly city is envisioned by urban planners


disappearing period; and so, her and city cultures are defined by
paintings see her create her own their plans. Los Angeles is made
pigments from an array of materials up of subdivisions, Paris has broad
ranging from charcoal, glass, soil and boulevards and Vienna is known for
aluminium to graphite, concrete, foil the Ringstrasse. While New York is a
and mica, all of which are sourced rectangular grid, Chicago’s grid system
from sites of deconstruction. Talking is more rectilinear and rigid, and Delhi,
about why the construction and a circle of sorts, has a more organic
deconstruction of cities interests her, and patchy presence of right angles,”
CURATOR-SPEAK she states, “How we shape and build elaborates the New Delhi-based artist.
what we live in is becoming more Goel’s work is up at a show called
“We were lucky to have one of her and more intriguing. But what’s most Waste Land, curated by Birgid Uccia,
beautiful neel pigment wall drawings fascinating is the constant flux.” at Tarq, Mumbai, on till the first week
called Index as a solo project at the Goel’s works are known for their of August. Later this year, she will be
last edition of the India Art Fair — this geometrical compositions. Explaining showing her work at the Gwangju
was a standout work.” her affinity for symmetry, she says, “I Biennale, South Korea.

ALL IMAGE COURTESY: ARJUN MAHATTA ©TANYA GOEL


TANYA GOEL, INDEX II, 2018, NEEL
PIGMENT ON WALL,
244 X 122 CM / 96 X 48 IN EACH
PANEL (TRIPTYCH)

TANYA GOEL, INTERSECTION (RED,


BLUE, ORANGE) II, 2017, OIL ON CANVAS,
56 CM X 46 CM / 22 IN X 18 IN

130 JULY-AUGUST 2018 VERVEMAGAZINE.IN 131


“I have been a fan of science these make possible. In the age of
fiction and fantasy ever since my the Anthropocene, Capitalocene,
school days…and when I was in my Chthulucene, is there still room for
second year at the College of Art wonder? I believe there is. I believe
in the capital, I joined the Amateur it is essential that we not only make
Astronomers Association of Delhi at room for it, but actively nurture and
the Nehru Planetarium with the idea cultivate it — because wonder walks
that it might be the closest thing to a a fine line between beauty and the
science fiction club or convention in uncanny, both of which are central to
the city. For the next four years, I was my practice.”
an active member, polishing mirrors Devasher, who shuttles between
for telescopes, going to Haqdarpur Noida and New Delhi, has recently
(in Haryana) in the cold, to a very wet completed a residency at The
field, to see the Leonid meteor shower Owner’s Cabin on board The High
in 2000 and learning a lot more about Trust, an oil tanker that travelled from
navigating Delhi’s night sky, both in the Fiji to Singapore, via Pago Pago in
planetarium dome and on field during American Samoa, across the Pacific
our monthly ‘star parties’,” says artist Ocean. “It’s impossible to describe
Rohini Devasher, whose work uses how significant this experience has
metaphor and projection as tools that been. It isn’t just because of the
ROHINI link art and astronomy.
After studying painting at the
horizon-to-horizon skies, the endlessly
changeable ocean, the uncountable
DEVASHER, 39 College of Art, New Delhi, Devasher
completed her master’s in printmaking
shades of blue, the near-perfect
conditions for astrophotography and
from the Winchester School of Art, cloud-watching — things that I know
after which she returned to Delhi to will be material for years of work.
work at Khoj International Artists’ With limited to no access to internet,
Association from 2005 to 2011. Her it made for an intense period of
MANISHA GERA BASWANI

artistic style, she affirms, looks at observation, recording and reflection,


“speculations on the relationships one that I think, unfortunately, may
between the human and the non- be impossible to recreate on land,”
human”. Expanding on the central explains the artist, adding, “What it
themes she explores in her work, did make me realise was just how full
Devasher states, “More and more, it of wonder this planet of ours is...how
seems as if the interconnectedness much there is to see and explore, both
CURATOR-SPEAK of our relationship to the planet within and without.”

IMAGES COURTESY: DR. BHAU DAJI LAD MUSEUM, MUMBAI


will be essential to our imagination Currently, Devasher is working on
“I am a science fiction buff and so, her of our future. Science and art both some new large print- and drawing-
subject matter has always fascinated interrogate this condition and based works, which will be will be
me. I can’t wait to see some new works what it entails. I like working within exhibited in Europe in autumn. A solo
following her expedition and residency different frameworks of science, art, show at Project 88, Mumbai will open
at sea with The Owner’s Cabin.” fiction and speculation and what at the tail end of the year.

ALL IMAGES BY: ANIL RANE


FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, ALL: SPHERES,
SINGLE CHANNEL VIDEO WITH SOUND,
DRY PASTEL, CHARCOAL, PENCIL, LEAD,
GOLD PEN AND GILT CREAM ON WALL,
22 FT X 16 FT (VIDEO DURATION 22 MINS)

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“My work is not directly inspired by work is experimental and process
Sufism or any of its particularities. led…and so, it is meant to evoke
While I thoroughly enjoy Sufi poetry, experience. I’ve never been compelled
I am afraid that specifying any prose to over explain it or highlight any
or piece of literature as inspiration conceptual parameters.” Having
would minimise the meaning of my previously used ink pens for his
work,” says the artist whose practice printmaking work, the artist believes
took off after a bachelor’s in fine arts that his affinity for this medium comes
from the National College of Arts, from the level of control it affords
Lahore, where he studied Mughal-style him, but states that of late, he’s been
miniature painting and printmaking. inclined towards the possibilities of
WAQAS Waqas Khan’s work, quite undeniably,
amply proves the saying ‘it’s all in the
extending his narrative in sculpture.
Last year, Khan’s neon series
KHAN, 35 details’. His massive monochromatic that spelled the word khushamdeed
prints that resemble intricate webs (meaning ‘welcome’) in Urdu found
and vast celestial bodies are the result pride of place at the entrances of
of the intermingling of thousands of three Manchester art spaces — the
miniscule dots and dashes, inked with Manchester Museum, the Manchester
red, blue, black or white ink. Asked Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art
how his experience with miniature Gallery. The purpose of this project
painting influences his work, Khan was to invite all kinds of people and
clarifies, “Miniature painting is an offer them a judgment-free area to
entirely different practice, with view art. Currently, the Lahore-based
entirely different ethics. The smaller artist is working on his solo project
applications of my pen strokes are at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, which
very tiny — and I suppose this is the will open on September 7th this year,
CURATOR-SPEAK only similarity between my practice with another project due to open at
and miniature work.” the Asia Pacific Triennial in November
“I was fortunate enough to see his Even though his large-scale works this year. He will also be exhibiting at
solo exhibition at the Manchester Art draw viewers in rather hypnoyically Frieze, London, the FIAC International
Gallery last year. There is so much to — in the manner an optical illusion Contemporary Art Fair, Paris and Art
appreciate in his large-scale minimalist would — Khan insists that he does not Basel, Miami Beach later this year.

ALL IMAGES COURTESY: THE ARTIST AND SABRINA AMRANI GALLERY (MADRID)
drawings — so intricate and impactful.” explore set themes in his works. “My - TINA DASTUR

FACING PAGE, LEFT AND RIGHT: WAQAS KHAN, DETAIL


OF DOORS, 2017, ARCHIVAL INK ON WASLI PAPER
(DIPTYCH), 70 CM X 102 CM
THIS PAGE, BOTH: WAQAS KHAN, ORACLE II, 2018,
ARCHIVAL INK ON WASLI PAPER, 244 CM X 132 CM

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