British collector showcasing works of 13 young Indian artists

March 10th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by admin  


London, March 10 (IANS) British art collector Frank Cohen will open a show titled “Passage to India” March 15 at his gallery Initial Access in Wolverhampton, featuring young Indian artists who are enjoying early fame. Works by Krishnaraj Chonat, Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher, Riyas Komu, L.N. Tallur, Jagannath Panda, Ravinder Reddy, T.V. Santhosh, Sudarshan Shetty, Thukral and Tagra will be displayed in the show that will run till July 15.

Atul Dodiya’s 2006 work “Fallen Leaves - A Stroll” is made of oil on dried leaf, powder coated mild steel and auto body solder and red oxide. But this piece pales in comparison to his works of the past.

Particularly arresting is Tallur’s sculpture “Saving Face” made of wood and silver.

“My work is about the absurdities in our daily life. Mankind has developed a skill to conveniently conceptualise these absurdities as if they are an inevitable part of out existence,” said Tallur.

Another sculpture by Tallur is stupendous. The carved blackened form of a baby elephant in Tallur’s sculpture “Oesophageal Reflex” refers to the passage down which food moves from the throat to stomach. A tiny patch of defecation, cast in silver, lies on the floor.

The symbol of the elephant goes back to ancient Indian mythology, to the gods and demons. The elephant is considered absolutely precious, something to be preserved and protected. Tallur shows the elephant at a moment of vulnerability nevertheless revealing the precious substance of its being.

The second elephant in the show comes from Bharti. “The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own”, a 2006 work, is a brilliant exposition of a host of bindis on fibreglass.

Bharti’s second work is a panel of works, again with bindis. Her intellectual affinity into translating everyday reality was introduced as a series of works that transformed traditional brightly coloured bindis, part of a traditional feminine iconography, into highly decorative images of masculinity.

Of great intrigue is Kallat’s sculpture of mixed media. The 2007 sculpture of a wrecked car “Colidonthus” is typical of Kallat’s concern with the dynamic pandemonium of urban life in India’s chaotic and crowded cities. A full size version of a car, it grins and leers at the audience. It is like a ghost ship thrown up on the crazy shores of a decimated metropolis.

Another intriguing work is Chonat’s “Private Sky”. Made of fibreglass, fake fur and plastic, this work stops you in your tracks and arrests your attention. Highly critical of rapid development in cities like Bangalore, this is a satirical statement on the economic boom.

“Ridiculous concepts, horrendous ideas and ecologically unsound projects are being undertaken on an unimaginable scale and my current work references some of these,” said Krishnaraj.

Eerie and almost surreal in a ghostly manner is Santosh’s “Counting Down” - an installation that consists of the figures of 30 stainless steel dogs, each one mounted with a digital timer on its back. These are the dogs of war that Santhosh has described as a “reference to the Nazi dogs who would come before the soldiers themselves”. The timer on each dog counts down towards the end of the world.

“Counting Down” is apocalyptic in its vision. It associates aggressive imagery with the idea of totalitarianism and fascism, and a vision of ultimate disaster.

Cohen is impressed with the global instincts of the Indian artists. He feels that although these artists are influenced by global developments in contemporary art and exposure to the international art world, they maintain a relationship with Western art that is based on an identity rooted in the sub-continent.

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