Indian works to comment on social issues in Christie’s sale

November 17th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Leading auction house Christie’s will offer an exclusive selection of works by contemporary artists like Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, T.V. Santosh and Thukral and Tagra in its autumn sale in Hong Kong Nov 30-Dec 1.Most of the works are comments or reactions to burning issues like migration, economic boom, wealth imbalance, social change, terrorism and violence that the artists have experienced near home in India.

The Indian artists will share auction space with their counterparts from China, Japan and Korea so that buyers can get a cross-cultural view of contemporary Asian art, a press statement issued from Hong Kong said Monday.

The autumn sale is a follow-up of the successful spring sale of the auction house in which Christie’s clocked the highest-ever total sale of HK$32,916,250 ($4,236,321) for Indian and Pakistani art in Hong Kong.

Subodh Gupta’s “Doot (2003)” - bearing the artist’s inscription - in Lot 510 is the highlight of the auction.

The oil painting, estimated at HK$4,000,000-HK$6,000,000 ($515,975-$773,963), portrays the colonial cliche of the Ambassador car as a comment on the social ills, political corruption and power struggles to expose the artist’s angst about the rapid pace of change taking place in his homeland.

Another untitled work by Gupta in Lot 520 signed in Hindi is estimated at HK$3,500,000-HK$5,000,000 ($448,700-$641,000). In this work, the artist uses his trademark stainless steel utensils to ask profound questions about dramatic shifts in wealth that have accompanied India’s recent economic boom and its effect on the nation’s ancient, agrarian and spiritual culture.

“An Ancient Error” by T.V. Santosh estimated at HK$1,000,000-1,500,000 ($128,200-$192,300) shows the city of Mumbai battling its darkest nights in July 2006 when a series of seven bombs ripped through suburban commuter trains during peak hours, killing hundreds of innocent citizens. As a resident of Mumbai, Santosh was deeply affected by these events.

Rendered in his signature style, he has turned a positive photographic image of the event from the media into its negative, eliminating specific details to allow the subject to take on a much grander scale. The painting addresses the universal concerns of war, terrorism and violence.

Artist Jitish Kallat’s “Frozen Footnotes”, signed work, estimated at HK$700,000-HK$900,000 ($ 89,700-$115,400) is the story of a struggle of a trussed mythic figure juxtaposed against the body of an animal armed with a coat of sharp quills that defends it from predators.

According to the artist, the theme is a carry over of the artist’s obsession with survival.

“Phantom”, an oil and acrylic on canvas in lots 1020, is a collaborative work by artists Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. Estimated at HK$280,000-HK$400,000 ($35,900-$51,300), it draws from a wide variety of stylistic devices and media including pop culture, history and street life to address urban realities.

Works by other artists include, “Face to Face” by Ashim Purkayastha estimated at HK$500,000-HK$700,000 ($64,497-$89,700) and “Re-ornamented-II” by Rashid Rana estimated at HK$250,000-350,000 ($32,100-$44,900).

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