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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Elvis & the Beatles

A GLOBAL FIRST AS GRACELAND AND THE BEATLES STORY COME TOGETHER FOR ‘ELVIS AND US’ EXHIBITION Graceland is coming to Liverpool for a unique UK exhibition that unites the world’s biggest musical icons. Major new exhibition opens in Liverpool, England on 5th October 2011 running for two years MEMPHIS, TN – Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE), the parent company of Graceland in Memphis, along with The Beatles Story in Liverpool, England, have announced a transatlantic partnership to develop an exclusive, jointly curated exhibition that will explore how The Fab Four were influenced by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The exhibition - entitled Elvis and Us – will include rare and exclusive artefacts from both the Beatles Story and Graceland archives, many of which have never before been exhibited publicly. The exhibition, Elvis and Us - which will open to the public October 5th, 2011, at The Beatles Story in Liverpool, England - will be a multimedia, interactive experience filled with music, video and artefacts of both Elvis and The Beatles. This unique first-of-its-kind exhibition will allow visitors to experience the power of both Elvis and The Beatles along with their explosive impact on music and popular culture. From hit albums that still top the charts to movies, books, and plays, both Elvis and The Beatles are celebrated around the world. Both even have Cirque du Soleil® shows in Las Vegas: Viva ELVIS™ at ARIA Resort and Casino and The Beatles’™ LOVE™ at The Mirage. One of the key elements explored in the Elvis and Us exhibition will be the evening Elvis and The Beatles met in person on August 27, 1965, at his home in Bel Air, California. Kevin Kern, Director of Public Relations for Elvis Presley, Enterprises, Inc. comments on this unique exhibit: “This is truly an exciting partnership between Graceland and The Beatles Story that will chronicle not only the iconic meeting between Elvis and The Beatles, but their individual stories as they exist in pop culture history.” Jerry Goldman, Managing Director of Beatles Story comments: “This is a huge cultural moment for music fans the world over. Beatles Story and Elvis Presley Enterprises have been working together for many months now to create a unique exhibition that will fully explore the relationship between The Beatles and Elvis. This will take in the influence Elvis had on the young Beatles right through to their fateful meeting in Bel Air in 1965. “Beatles Story are excited to be working with Elvis Presley Enterprises on this amazing project and both parties are at this very moment digging through the extensive archives to find unique and unseen artefacts that will explore the fascinating connections between the world’s two greatest music icons.” Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Joe Anderson, said: “Elvis and Us is a huge coup for the city and Liverpool’s world-renowned musical heritage once again comes to the fore. “This unique and exclusive exhibition will focus on two legendary acts who have helped shape today’s music scene. And it’s even more special considering that this is the first exhibition Graceland has embarked on in the UK in over twenty years. “There can be no doubt that Liverpool is the only location this exhibition should be showcased and I’m sure thousands of music-lovers will come to the city to learn more about the legacy left by Elvis and The Beatles and get up close to some artefacts which have never been seen by the public before.” James Berresford, Chief Executive, VisitEngland comments: “We welcome the announcement of the new exhibition Elvis and Us to be hosted by the Beatles Story in Liverpool from September. England and especially Liverpool has an incredibly rich relationship with music, which is a great driver for tourism in this country. A recent survey valued music tourism at £1.4billion which proves how important celebrations of our musical heritage are to potential visitors both at home and overseas.” One of the centrepieces of the Elvis and Us exhibition will be the white Fender bass guitar played by Elvis and The Beatles at their meeting. A true piece of pop culture history it has never been on public display before. Other artefacts being brought to the UK for the first time include the Jailhouse Rock shirt worn by Elvis in the film of the same name, a 1st album acetate, telegrams from The Colonel and Elvis to Ed Sullivan, rare video footage from the earliest days of Elvis’s career and a ticket to the legendary ‘68 Comeback special. www.elvisandus.com www.facebook.com/elvisandus www.twitter.com/elvisandus Ends For further information on Elvis and Us and The Beatles Story please contact Reem Khokhar at reem@beatlesstory.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Padmini Chettur solo exhibition

Untitled Exhibition # 1 Padmini Chettur Saturday, 10 September 2011, 2pm–9pm FREE +919820213816 G5A Laxmi Mills Compound, off Dr. E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400011 Coming from Worli Naka by car, take the lane that turns left just after Famous Studios. Station: Mahalaxmi Station, Western Line (slow train). Walk from Mahalaxmi Station towards Worli Naka and take the first right. Laxmi Mills is at the end of the lane. Saturday, 10 September 2011, 3pm–9pm. Performances will start at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. See www.clarkhouseinitiative.org This one-day exhibition presents the work of Padmini Chettur. The dancer introduces material from her recent choreography beautiful thing 2 in which the body, in its precise movement through time, defines and displaces vacant shapes creating a four-dimensional space. Structured around three different movement studies and two intervening discussions, the exhibition takes place in a warehouse by a functioning mill. The conversations will move between the contextual and the formal to ask the question ‘What is this object that appears?’ 3:00 - 3:30 pm Performance 1 3:30 – 5:00 pm Conversation 1 5:00 - 5:30 pm Performance 2 5:30 – 7:00 pm Conversation 2 7:00 - 7:30 pm Performance 3 Padmini Chettur (b. 1970) is a contemporary dancer whose training began in the traditional Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam. Between the years 1991 and 2001 she worked with the legendary choreographer Chandralekha, performing in the productions Lilavati, Prana,Angika, Sri, Bhinna Pravaha, Yantra, Mahakaal and Sharira. In 1994 she began her own artistic research. Her choreographic productions include Fragility (2001), 3 Solos (2003),Paper Doll (2005), Pushed (2006) and beautiful thing 1 (2009). Chettur departs from the classical repertoire of gestures, posturing and mythical tales, to shape an alternative, no less strict, condensed movement. Looking for complete detachment from her classical formative years, she abstains from the temptation to seduce, choosing instead, to convince. At the core of Chettur's practice is resistance. Her work unveils a taut vision that takes the contemporary dance of India, from what it is and how it should look, to radical dimensions.beautiful thing 2 premiered at the Singapore Arts Festival in June 2011. Address: G5A Laxmi Mills Compound, off Dr. E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400011 Venue Partner: Mohile Parikh Center - The Contemporary Directions: Coming from Worli Naka by car, take the lane that turns left just after Famous Studios. Coming from Mahalaxmi Station, Western Line (slow train), walk towards Worli Naka and take the first right. Laxmi Mills is on the left at the end of the lane. A Clark House Initiative +919820213816 | info@clarkhouseinitiative.org | clarkhouseinitiative.org Clark House Initiative is a collaborative practice about a place, which in sharing a junction with two museums and a cinema, mirrors the fiction of what these spaces could be. It is also an old shipping office of the Thakur Shipping Company that had links to countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe the ex-Soviet Union and Japan. Run by two brothers, Madanmohan and Chaturbhuj Sharma, it participated in an internationalism based on the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement. It served as a pharmaceutical research base, and housed one of India’s first IBM processors. The introduction of the Macademia nut in India came through its doors. Though based in Bombay, it has strong links to Bihar and Kerala. To date, it continues to serve as the office to this family owned business engaged in the cultivation of tea, pharmaceuticals and trade. Curatorial interventions in the space hope to continue, differently, this history of internationalism, experiment and research. Four people are part of this collaborative, Zasha Colah, Nida Ghouse, Zubin Pastakia and Sumesh Sharma. Unsubscribe

Right to Dissent exhibition in Pune

Right to Dissent Pune Exhibition 16-18 September 2011 Free and Open to All 'Fight State Terror in the North East' Graffiti showing the political dissident Irom Sharmila Litter bin, Marine Drive, Bombay, 2011. Photo Zasha Colah Artists: Sachin Bonde, Vinod Chavan, Deepali Patkar, Nikhil Raunak, Pooja Panchal, Prabhakar Pachpute, Rupali Patil, Swapnil Kshirsagar Curators: Sumesh Sharma and Tushar Joag Assistant Curator: Nikhil Raunak A Clark House Initiative The movement for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen a political prisoner in Tihar jail, turned into a movement for the repeal of the sedition laws current in India. Justice on Trial was held in the Romain Rolland Gallerie of the Alliance Francaise in Delhi. The artist Tushar Joag sent a call to artists for an exhibition with the Clark House Initiative called Right to Dissent. Carrying forward the response of previous artists, this new exhibition, Right to Dissent Pune travels through educational venues and the Lokayat Hall in Pune. Emerging artists from Pune, Nasik, Bombay and Baroda, join together to reflect on the issues surrounding the incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen, and to assert their right to dissent in democratic India. The newly commissioned art works take the format of a print portfolio and installations. Links: http://www.petitiononline.com/sen2010/petition.html A Note on the Exhibition by Sumesh Sharma Published in Dissent is a commissioned portfolio of prints curated by Sumesh Sharma, discussing the political history of the use of printmaking by students of the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay. Sachin Bonde | sachinbonde85@gmail.com The Spanish brought to extinction numerous tribes in Central and South America, for their want of gold. In the scramble for Africa, the Belgian colonial government under King Leopold severed the hands of all those who were a hindrance to the search for diamonds. The war fought in Iraq in the name of democracy stinks of oil politics that determine the price of energy. Depicting the stuffed busts of reindeer alongside the world map, Sachin, discusses the scramble for resources by developed nations and growing economies such as India and China, in numerous nations of the developing world. He draws comparisons with the colonial sport of hunting enjoyed by the rulers and their agents of rule - titular princes, in the case of India. By installing kleptocratic dictatorships that further their cause, or in the guise of world trade and investment, world super-powers continue their colonialist expansion. In the case of India, in states like Chattisgarh and Orissa, state governments act as agents of large mining corporations, extinguishing dissent with brutal force. The loss of traditional ancestral lands of tribes to mining corporations such as the Dongria Kondh tribals of Orissa is part of the ongoing genocide of India’s indigenous people. Vinod Chavan | vinodchavan02@hotmail.com Aesop’s fable of the stork who takes revenge on the fox by serving him dinner in a vase, as the stork had been unable to eat when invited by the fox who served the stork in a plate, takes centre stage in this print. Metaphors and images that symbolise power in Indian society, are used to discuss a crippled and corrupt democratic system. He who occupies the chair, wields the power. In this work, the 500 Rupee note discusses the use of money to influence votes. The zeal of politicians to occupy the chair comes from the wish to give themselves the keys to benefit from the state’s resources. The shift in symbols of power from Nehru’s red rose, that signified a pacifist nation aligned to a neutral developing world, to that of a horse’s head, illustrating the trade in votes in our parliament, show the shift in ideas, from one kind of internationalism to an inward looking nation scrambling for resources. Deepali Patkar | deepalipatkar@gmail.com Dr. Binayak Sen’s photograph depicting him unshaven behind the grills of a police van, reminds one of the image of Christ bearing the burden of the cross. On a digital print of the photograph, Deepali has etched busts of anonymous corrupt politicians, civil servants and businessmen who conspired together to incarcerate Dr. Sen. Calling out to ‘Save the saviour’ Deepali through the use of grey in her work appeals to us to see the hidden truth unseen behind the the trappings of the law. Nikhil Raunak | nikhil_raunak@hotmail.com To popularise the Cultural Revolution the People’s Liberation Army printed and distributed posters depicting Mao Zedong throughout the length and breath of China, but also to diaspora Chinese communities outside the state. Mao Zedong was to replace existent cultural and religious icons such as Buddha and Confucius. The rapid destruction of China’s cultural heritage through violence and the want to replace it with a new proletariat culture was made possible through popular prints of Mao that could be reproduced easily with speed. The western world came to recognise Mao as an icon after his screen printed portrait in fluorescent colour by Andy Warhol. Nikhil reflects on the same image, and through his print discusses the rise of Maoism, specially in his native state of Bihar, creeping through geographies and populations where the state is seen to have failed. Printmaking as a genre has been most responsive to revolutionary activity and political propaganda and is often used as the clearest tool of communication in such activity. New Installations by artists in conversation with Tushar Joag, reacting to the incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen under the archaic sedition laws of India. Pooja Panchal |pooja.panchal909@gmail.com Using an acrylic mirror that distorts the shape of the viewer in her work titled Tall Claims, Pooja uses visual satire to rubbish failed promises often seen throughout the political scape of India. These claims originate from the want to satiate genuine concerns of the people but more often come from populist electoral promises to lure in votes. The state fails its citizens on many counts: from its duty to guarantee basic fundamental rights, to larger questions of cultural sovereignty, and equitable growth. The work references the failures of the state which often give rise to conflicts it then suppresses through excesses of violence and torture. Prabhakar Pachpute | ppachpute@gmail.com Buridan’s Ass, the paradoxical illustration coined by the French philosopher Jean Buridan, describes a donkey as an animal devoid of any free will or rational thought. If a donkey is placed between a pale of water and hay it would choose the one in closer proximity and would die for the lack of the other - either thirst or starvation. Considered a beast of burden, Prabhakar uses the donkey to illustrate the Indian citizen carrying the weight of the archaic justice system, that relies on torture of those who dissent against it. India, though a republic, relies on judicial chicanery to enforce its identity as a state, failing to protect the common citizen. Using the darkened shadow of the goddess of justice, Prabhakar comments on the prevalence of torture by our state agencies in proximity of a blinded judiciary. Rupali Patil | creative.rupalipatil@gmail.com Not far from Pune, in the rural hinterlands of Maharashtra, we hear of farmer suicides as a daily occurrence. Institutional corruption that hinders equitable trade for Indian farmers in an increasingly global market and the removal of subsidies and feudalistic co-operatives and money-lenders who find patronage with politicians, have made agriculture unviable in a nation where ⅔ of its inhabitants subside on agriculture. The deaths caused by aggrieved bankrupt farmers competes with those caused by ethnic violence or terrorism in India. The media remains insensitive to this as terrorism and cricket create greater flutter in revenues. Politicians, who find patronage in money-lenders and feudal-lords who control agricultural co-operatives, chug along with failed electoral promises of agricultural reform. In her video, Rupali, compares the farmer to honey bees that lose the right to their creation - the hive to honey tappers. Images of shop shutters being pulled down, is perhaps a reflection of politicians who wish to silence the discussion of farmer’s suicides. The honeybees are absent, presented only through their irritating buzzing, reflective of the muted resistance that farmers effect through their suicides. Swapnil Kshirsagar | swapnilkshirsagar77@gmail.com The garrote is an execution device invented by the Spanish and was used by the Spaniards during the Inquisition, the Napoleonic Wars and during the Spanish Civil War to execute freemasons. Its use spread through the Ottoman Empire and to colonies ruled by the Spanish in Latin America and the Philippines. Usually made as a strangulation device with a chair, other versions include the use of a sharpened blade. Swapnil in his installation uses a motorised blade that chops up cucumbers and tomatoes.Perhaps the use of vegetables is a commentary on the stifling inflation faced by Indian citizens. This work may reflect the archaic laws present in India which strangulate, like a garrote, freedom by framing the innocent. Schedule of Parallel Programs: Friday 16 September | 10am-5pm Venue: Allana Institute of Management Sciences, Azam Campus. This institution hosts 30 colleges and schools, where 25000 students study. Directions: Azam Campus: Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society, 2390-B, KB Hidayatullah Road, New Modikhana, Azam Campus, Camp, Pune 411001. T +91-020-26452040 | 26452288 - 10am | Exhibition opens - Film Screening Saturday 17 September | 10am-2pm Venue: Allana Institute of Management Sciences, Azam Campus. - 10am Exhibition opens Visited by Dr. Ilina Sen - 10.30am Felicitation of Dr. Binayak Sen and Dr. Ilina Sen by PA Inamdar, Chairperson of Azam Campus and Neeraj Jain. - 11am Talk by Dr. Binayak Sen - 12 noon Storytelling performance of Dastaan e Sedition by the Delhi-based group Dastaangoi - 1pm Press Conference over lunch - 2pm Exhibition closes Sunday 18 September | 10am-8.30pm Venue: Lokayat Hall: opposite Synidcate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, 2 kms from Deccan. - 10am Exhibition opens - 5pm Exhibition closes. Print Portfolio travels to next venue. Venue: Kale Hall, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics - 5.30pm Panel of Speakers: Neeraj Jain, Dr. Ilina Sen, Dr. Binayak Sen - 7.30pm Performance of storytelling Dastan e Sedition For further information about the Art Exhibition please contact: Sumesh Sharma, Clark House Initiative: 09820213816 For further information about the Programs and Venues please contact: Neeraj Jain: 094222 20311 / Landline: 020-25231251

Artists in residence , Talk

Invitation to a Talk Material Response | Artists in Residence at CSMVS and Norwich Castle Museums Speakers: Bill Seaman, assistant head of museums based in Norfolk | Niranjan Jonnalagadda, an artist based in Chennai | Liz Ballard, an artist based in Norwich Date: Friday, 16 September, 11.30am-1pm Venue: Seminar Room, 1st Floor of the museum As part of a desire to extend internationalism within a cultural framework, a unique program called Stories of the World was developed to coincide with the next sports olympics to be held in London in 2012. In this cultural olympiad museums and art institutions in the UK find counterpart institutions in the world. A strand of this is a project called Material Response, where organisations in the East of England nave created links and exchanges with India, Pakistan, China and The Bahamas. This project is between an artist from India, and one from Norwich. Niranjan Jonnalagadda, who was in residence at the Norwich Castle Museum primarily focussed his research on a large 15th century Indian kalamkari hand painting in their textile collection. Liz Ballard is a visiting artist to the CSMVS from September to the first week of November this year, with an interest in water preservation and natural dyes, whose works take the form of watercolours, drawings, and spoken word performance, or within landscapes - dying pollutants flourescent with natural dyes in streams, or freezing dyes in water. For this residency, she has made traditional rain catchers in the garden, which will tie in with her research on the waterways in and beneath the museum and its disused fountain within the building. The layout of the garden is brought into dialogue with the gardens painted in natural dyes in the miniature paintings in the museum's collections, and the stylised floral borders of the folios. Liz is also in conversation with some of the migrant gardeners, originally from the caravan community of Banjaras, who work in the museum's garden, in spaces around the city and nearby areas. Bill Seaman will be talking about the role contemporary artists play within the museums in which he works, and some of the stories and histories shared between Norwich and India. Niranjan Jonnalagadda, will describe the findings of his residency, and his work within Paramparik Karigar. Liz Ballard will present her research process and her project at the CSMVS. The Lecture is Free and Open to All. Please extend this invitation to anyone you think may be interested. For more information contact Bilwa Kulkarni on 022 22844484; or write to zasha@jnaf.org Prince of Wales Museum | Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya 159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road Bombay 400023 t +91 22 22029613 | csmvsmumbai@gmail.com | themuseummumbai@gmail.com Unsubscribe

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hacienda Art Gallery Agape collection-Sculptures

Jasmine Shah Varma Curator & Writer on Art www.indiancolours.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Balaji Ponna, Solo art exhibition, Guild Art Gallery, Colaba Mumbai

Balaji Ponna Looking is not Seeing THE GUILD MUMBAI September 8 – October 3, 2011 Preview: Thursday, September 8, 7 pm – 9:30 pm The Guild Art Gallery is pleased to present Looking is not Seeing a solo exhibition of recent works of Balaji Ponna, previewing on Thursday, the September 8, 2011. “Responding to the socio-political and cultural realities of the time is one of the modes in which artists engage thematically through work. Within this engagement there are several trajectories of expressions that had emerged corroborating the subjective experiences of the artist in relation to the objective existence in society…. Balaji’s works comprise a crucial relation between the painted text-phrases and the images. In fact this text, composed in two phrases, frames the meanings and the subtext of the visual images. Written in a simple typography, this text does not intervene in the picture format but stays on the surface, by virtue of its flat, two-dimensional nature. In one sense this text is equal to the status of parergon, as theorised by Derrida – Parergon is “neither work (ergon) nor outside the work, neither inside or outside, neither above nor below, it disconcerts any opposition but does not remain indeterminate and it gives rise to the work” (Truth in Painting, 1978). The textual phrase belongs to the work (painting) as well as stays unrelated pictorially to the painting. When a viewer approaches these paintings, the sight is drawn towards deftly manoeuvred images, but quickly, the verbal text catches the eye, as if intervening between the pictorial image and the sight of the onlooker. This moment of rupture is also the moment of introduction of specific meanings to the work. The phenomenological and aesthetic experience of the viewer, in this context, is guided by the text-phrase, written in English. And in this moment of quick shifts between the textual phrase and the image, signification gets complicated and acquires a double signification which correlates each other – the text and the image. At one level the text-phrase puts forward a literal or direct meaning of it. When the signified or the meaning interacts with the image, this signified becomes empty and acquires a second level signification, whose signified belongs to the social and political realms.” (Excerpt from an essay by Santosh Kumar Sakhinala) Born in 1980, Balaji Ponna received his B.F.A in Graphics from Andhra University with Gold medal and M.F.A in Graphics from Visva - Bharati University, Santiniketan. He has been recipient of H.R.D. National Scholarship for young Artists (2004–05). His recent solo exhibitions include Monuments at India Art Summit 2011 with The Guild, Mumbai; The Things I Say, at Studio La Citta, Verona and Black Smoke, at Bose Pacia, Kolkata, in collaboration with The Guild. Ponna has participated in various group shows over the last couple of years including Art Celebrates 2010: Sports and the City, an Exhibition of Indian Contemporary Art curated by Rupika Chawla; Contemporary Exoticism curated by Marco Meneguzzo at Studio La Citta, Verona; Art Basel by Studio la Citta, 2009; A New Vanguard: Trends in Contemporary Indian Art, Saffronart, New York and The Guild, New York; The July Show at The Guild and Are We Like This Only? Curated by Vidya Shivadas at Vadehra Art Gallery , Delhi . His works were also exhibited at the France Print Biennial in 2009.
“Looking is not Seeing” – a critical note Responding to the socio-political and cultural realities of the time is one of the modes in which artists engage thematically through work. Within this engagement there are several trajectories of expressions that had emerged corroborating the subjective experiences of the artist in relation to the objective existence in society. Balaji’s pictorial expressions and the kind of rhetoric that he constructs on the surface of the picture is one of these responses but the language through which this response is articulated involves certain syntactic complexity. At the same time these responses are not some politically neutral and visually “interesting” objects of aesthetic desire but implied with a sharp political consciousness that is critical to the established cultural and social imaginations/ambiguities in the society. Balaji’s works comprise a crucial relation between the painted text-phrases and the images. In fact this text, composed in two phrases, frames the meanings and the subtext of the visual images. Written in a simple typography, this text does not intervene in the picture format but stays on the surface, by virtue of its flat, two-dimensional nature. In one sense this text is equal to the status of parergon, as theorised by Derrida – Parergon is “neither work (ergon) nor outside the work, neither inside or outside, neither above nor below, it disconcerts any opposition but does not remain indeterminate and it gives rise to the work” (Truth in Painting, 1978). The textual phrase belongs to the work (painting) as well as stays unrelated pictorially to the painting. When a viewer approaches these paintings, the sight is drawn towards deftly manoeuvred images, but quickly, the verbal text catches the eye, as if intervening between the pictorial image and the sight of the onlooker. This moment of rupture is also the moment of introduction of specific meanings to the work. The phenomenological and aesthetic experience of the viewer, in this context, is guided by the text-phrase, written in English. And in this moment of quick shifts between the textual phrase and the image, signification gets complicated and acquires a double signification which correlates each other – the text and the image. At one level the text-phrase puts forward a literal or direct meaning of it. When the signified or the meaning interacts with the image, this signified becomes empty and acquires a second level signification, whose signified belongs to the social and political realms. One can say that two tendencies of pictorial representations – modern and postmodern – interweave into a syntactic network that produces an easy communication of the meaning of the work at the first level. But at another level this communicated meaning gets re-projected onto the image that is developed by rendering certain pictorial density which engages the experiential realms of the viewer by virtue of its deferment of the signification. So the interesting dimension to the structure and the process of Balaji’s work is this apparent oscillation of the meaning/signification between its straightforward communication through text/words, and its deferment through pictorial rendering. The pictorial surface of these works follows the procedure of image making and abstraction of the form that develops the visual density and opens a space for aesthetic engagement in time at length, which works with the logic of deferment. Most of the times, Balaji’s image sources and references belong to the mundane and popular categories like posters, photographs – old and new, illustrations, popular prints etc. And he consciously maintains their discursive/visual character as if quoting from the popular visual culture and juxtaposes these, with an arbitrarily rendered picture surface. These visual quotes become pronounced through their easy recognisability and draw the eye of the viewer to navigate the entire surface of the painting that correlates and rearticulates the idea represented. Balaji formulates his own phrases sometimes; or he picks up some popular phrases that are re-structured in a sarcastic form or in an incomplete form. These text-phrases introduce a chiastic reversal of their primary or first level meaning when they interact with the painted image. For example “the favourite drink of our farmers” when the viewer relates with the image, and the history of farmers committing suicides in the recent past in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, India, the primary meaning of the phrase gets reversed and certain moral contradictions get interjected. Sometimes Balaji uses double or two parallel phrases that involve this chiastic relation in between them as well as with the image. Apart from painting Balaji also experiments with sculptural language. The choice of material and the corresponding form that he evolves through, follows the same tendency of chiastic relation between the form and material that is popularly used and, the idea that is represented. For example in the work “New designs for our country’s pavements” he modelled the upper surface of the tiles used for pavements with human figures. These figures are represented in sleeping gestures and postures along with a bag or a small property, a site that we witness on the pavements in Indian cities; migrant people, labourers or the citizens of the “unplanned city” dwell on these pavements. Balaji chose the tiles that are presently used at large for the pavements and sculpted these figures in relief on them. Suggesting that these tiles to be used for pavements involve a parody, he in fact pointed out a double reality about the status of Indian pavements – as elements of modern city plan as well as its haunting underside that is attached so close to it, the alienated and unaccounted poor at the heart of the city. In another work “...is weaver weaving for himself” Balaji reflects at the contemporary reality attached with the weavers in rural India. Here too the irony is framed sharply by using the real looking loom that weaves a hanging rope, a signifier immediately invokes suicide. It is this reversal of the logic and purpose of the form articulates the contradictions that exist prominently and sometimes inherently in the society. His works at the outset look simple and straightforward comments on the contemporary events and realities that are popularly known and are circulated through various means of media in general. They display the irony that persists within the forms of human relations and conditions of socio-economic existence. For example, those works that deal with the images of construction labour, farmer suicides, and certain established notions and expressions of patriotism etc. There is nothing pedagogical and serious about the way Balaji constructs the narrative of these acute political expressions. In fact, as the artist himself believes that the humoristic mode of expression develops a sharp impact, a shock to the viewer that shakes and destabilises the metaphysics of moral and ethical codes. But in retrospect Balaji’s works do not involve an effort to subvert those moral and ethical codes; rather they are in consonance with certain popular consciousness and the relative subtexts that are specific to the artist’s observations. Now, when Balaji says “looking is not Seeing” the emphasis is not just on what is seen through eyes but to engage at different discursive levels with the social, political, cultural and economic issues of the present time. Santhosh Kumar Sakhinala, 2011 Santhosh Kumar Sakhinala is an art historian, critic based in Hyderabad, India. He is presently associated with department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad, as a guest faculty. Sakhinala completed M Phil from EFL University, Hyderabad; MVA from Fine Arts Faculty, MSU Baroda; BFA from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan. Apart from the mainstream Art, his interests include popular visual culture. His M Phil thesis is related to the public statues and the politics of representation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Maya Kovskaya curated an exhibition currently on at Sakshi Gallery, Colaba, Mumbai

Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture Sakshi Gallery is proud to present 'Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture,' an exhibition of photography curated by renowned art critic, curator, writer and scholar, Maya Kóvskaya. The show, which will run from September 2 to 25, 2011, will present work by Ravi Agarwal, Sheba Chhachhi, Gauri Gill, Samar Jodha, Tejal Shah, Waswo X Waswo, Malekeh Nayiny, Han Bing and O Zhang. Recognizing that power inheres in the gaze, and the gaze constructs as much as it captures, Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture, turns on a number of questions: What does it mean to represent; to represent; to make present again that which is no longer before us? Whose gaze counts? Whose gaze structures whom? Who has the right to “represent” whom, and how does who is doing the representing change what gets represented? Who has the right to look? Who has the capacity to see? The exhibition features works of artists from India, China and Iran, who have made it a part of their practice to question, problematize and blur the artificial binary between the “staged” and the “documentary,” selfconsciously investigating the power relations implicit in the pretension of “representation.” Some have sought to create conditions for powersharing between subject and artist, sometimes grounded in ethnographic participation in the lives of their subjects, and rooted in dialogue with the subject about how the self is to be performed before the lens. Others utilize photographic practices that de-center the position of the artist; foreground the constructed nature of the image; or highlight the role of the artist in transforming found images, such as old family portraits, to highlight the character of a historical moment before politico-religious rupture. Set into a visual dialogue with one another, the works invite the viewer to consider how images contain the power to constitute selves. United by the common thread of self-conscious artistic practice and a focus on subjects who are photographed at the intersection of the staged and the documentary, as they perform the roles of themselves, the works in the exhibition offer an exploration of the necessary incompleteness of “representation,” and the implications of asymmetrical power relations, inherent in the processes of “documenting” lives, creating “representations,” or “staging” the “performance” of an “Other” as a Self. Delhi- & Beijing-based Maya Kóvskaya (PhD, UC Berkeley, 2009) has in her extensive experience as a curator and critic, worked on numerous exhibitions in India, USA and China. She has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the Renmin University of China, in Beijing, and Beijing Capital Normal University. In 2010, she became the recipient of the inaugural Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art, and was later selected for the 2011 Young Curators Hub convening in Calcutta. Maya was also the 2010 Critic in Residence at the Khoj International Artists Association 'In Context: Public. Art. Ecology' program. She has authored 'China Under Construction: Contemporary Art from the People's Republic' in 2007 and is currently researching a comparative book on art and the public sphere in China and India. About Maya Kóvskaya: 02.09.2011 to 25.09.2011 For further information, contact: Sanyogita Deo E: office@sakshigallery.com T: 022 6610 3424

Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 TED prize winner, Street artist JR -stunning work

2011 TED Prize Winner Street Artist 'JR' The TED Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, One Wish to Change the World. Designed to leverage the TED community's exceptional array of talent and resources, the Prize leads to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact. The 2011 winner is photographer and street artist JR who's work can be seen in the world's biggest art gallery, the streets. Below is a small collection of his pervasive art and the questions it raises. Be sure to check out his site for more incredible work. Congratulations on winning 2011's TED Prize JR!!!