Category

international

Colomboscope

By international
Venue:

Rio Complex, Colombo

Colomboscope

The Gujral Foundation was pleased to support the sixth edition of interdisciplinary arts festival COLOMBOSCOPE, curated by Natasha Ginwala, which was held at different historical venues and cultural spaces in Colombo from 24th until 31st January 2019. Over thirty intergenerational local and international visual artists, filmmakers, musicians and scientific experts participated in SEA CHANGE; evoking stories of maritime history, delving into oceanic ecology and shipping infrastructure.

Kochi Biennale

By international
Venue:

Fort Kochi, India

Kochi Biennale

The Gujral Foundation has supported the pioneering Kochi-Muziris Biennale from its inception as a venue patron for the historic Aspinwall House houses the main exhibition, and Cabral Yard. The fourth edition of the Biennale ran from 12 December, 2018 until 29 March, 2019. Feroze Gujral is a co-founder and Trustee of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

State of Indigo

By international
Venue:

Somerset House, London

State of Indigo

STATE OF INDIGO ILLUMINATED THE DARK HISTORY OF INDIGO FARMING, A PROCESS THAT WAS EMOTIONALLY ENTWINED WITH BOTH THE COUNTRY’S PRESENT AND THE TYRANNY OF ITS COLONIAL PAST.

The Indian pavilion explored the emotional charge of indigo, a natural colour created from the indigofera plant, which has become synonymous with India’s identity. “This rare and refulgent pigment was used to dye fabric, repel insects, treat ailments, disinfect, ward off spirits and even to decorate an entire city,” said curator Priya Khanchandani. But it also became inextricably linked with colonial trade and slavery. “It was once said that no indigo box dispatched to England was without a smear of blood,” she added. The use of indigo has hence become a symbol of India’s emotional plight, representing “a process of catharsis for a nation whose invisible histories are being unravelled”.

The installation took visitors to the labour intensive setting of the indigo farms where workers are forced to make natural indigo dye. A set of projected images virtually placed visitors in the trough where indigo leaves were crushed during the process of creating dye. Contemporary objects imbued with indigo’s sensuality extended its visual presence. Sounds amplified the questions of labour and mechanisation, and the diffused smell of indigo – earthy and pungent – enhanced the visceral earthiness of the space. “Witnessing the farmers’ rhythmic, mechanical movements, immersed in a cacophony of indigo, will make visitors complicit in their plight,” said Feroz Gujral, Artistic Director of the Gujral Foundation.

Although it took its cue from the past, the Indian pavilion reached out to the present. Indigo has been democratised in the everyday, from its use in denim to the glow of television blue. “Indigo is the powerful and poignant pigment,” said Gujral “that has woven its way into the conscious relevance of India’s emotions, design, craft, consumption and national identity.”

Hello World

By international
Venue:

Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin

Hello World

Hello World. Revising a Collection

28.04.2018 to 26.08.2018
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

‘Hello World. Revising a Collection’ was a critical inquiry into the collection of the Nationalgalerie and its predominantly Western focus: What could the collection look like today, had an understanding characterised its concept of art, and consequently also its genesis, that was more open to the world? How might the canon and the art historical narratives themselves have changed through a widening and multiplication of perspectives? With these questions as starting points, the exhibition unfolded in 13 thematic chapters as a many-voiced collaboration of internal and external curators, encompassed the whole exhibition space of the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.

Arrival, Incision Indian Modernism as Peripatetic Itinerary

Curated by Natasha Ginwala

This exhibition chapter retraced the emergence of Indian modernity in the early and mid-twentieth century, through placing works from the collection of the National – galerie and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst centre stage. As India obtained its independence from British Rule in 1947 and in the wake of partition, many artists shuttled between the newly independent subcontinent, Europe and North America. As did the painter, poet and intellectual Rabindranath Tagore. The works Tagore contributed to the collection of the Nationalgalerie were removed by the Nazis as part of their “degenerate art” policy, but an attempt is made here to reconstruct this episode to some extent on the basis of the influence Tagore exerted on the Berlin art scene in the 1920s and early 1930s. Arrival, Incision offered exercises in decanonising the Western art-historical tradition and dealed with reciprocity, both real and imagined, by juxtaposing the political caricatures of George Grosz with those of Gaganendranath Tagore and through charting a nonlinear itinerary of works by artists from the 1950s to the present day, including Avinash Chandra, Satish Gujral, Somnath Hore and Anish Kapoor. The recurrence of specific narratives are revealed as key characteristics of Indian art, including the spiritual and cosmic lexicon of tantra, use of vernacular techniques and modes of collective production. Alongside artistic works and rare documentation, cinema operated as a window into artistic biographies and India’s asynchronous industrial modernity.

Imagined Biennales

By international
Venue:

Venue: Open Forum at Tate Exchange, London

Imagined Biennales

Imagined Biennales – Open Forum at Tate Exchange

13 May 2018
Tate Modern

The proliferation of biennales and other perennial art events around the world reveal huge energy, creativity and social engagement within the sphere of contemporary art. Whether operating at hyper-local, local, national or international levels, these events are always more than the art they represent. They are about people, places, histories, social enterprise and the political aesthetic. But equally, they can be homogenizing forces and complacent about the ‘value’ of art. What do we want from our biennales and how do we get it?

Imagined Communities invited as wide a range of voices as possible to share in current practice and to pitch new ideas. What does a biennale look like and what do want it to look like? Echoing the format of TED talks, noted for short, but well-informed talks, we welcomed presentations in person, short films or online streamed presentations as part of an afternoon at Tate Exchange. The best ideas and presentations were invited for inclusion in a publication How to Biennale: A manual for staging perennial art events.

Contour Biennale

By international
Venue:

Mechelen, Belgium

Contour Biennale 8

The Contour Biennale 8 brought together over 20 international and local artists as well as art collectives who worked in lens-based media, sound, performance, drawing, installation, and publishing. Newly commissioned works were spread across historic venues of the city of Mechelen in Belgium such as the city’s first town hall and historic seat of the Great Council, the Schepenhuis, and contemporary sites. The Gujral Foundation was pleased to support the work of South Asian artists PALLAVI PAUL and BASIR MAHMOOD.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale | 2016

By international
Venue:

Fort Kochi, Kochi

“The Gujral Foundation as the founder patron, has facilitated the lease of ‘Aspinwall” and ‘Cabral Yard’ as prime locations of Kochi Muziris Biennale since 2012.

Aspinwall House is a large sea-facing heritage property in Fort Kochi on the way to Mattancherry. The property was originally the business premises of Aspinwall & Company Ltd. established in 1867 by English trader John H Aspinwall. The large compound contains office buildings, a residential bungalow and a number of warehouses and smaller outer-lying structures. Aspinwall House is the primary venue of the Biennale, hosting numerous artist led projects and events spaces.

11th Shanghai Biennale – Marut: Storm Dieties

By international
Artist:

Vishal K Dar

Venue:

Shanghai, China

Pursuing the objective of creating and facilitating opportunities for leading artists on the international art scene, The Gujral Foundation’s project Storm Deities (Maruts) was a site-specific and immersive light installation by Indian artist Vishal K Dar. The work was installed in the iconic chimney of the Power Station of Art at the 11th Shanghai Biennale, from 11 November 2016 till 12 March 2017.

In the belly of a 165 metre tall industrial chimney of an old defunct thermal power station in Shanghai, Dar re-imagined Maruts, the storm deities as seven oscillating beams of light set to varying metronomic meters created a hallucinatory zone, each beam of light an object with a distinct time-code. The base of the chimney was transformed into a reflective pool. The notion of presence, of being in the midst of the work, was central to the experience of Maruts.

Krishna in the Garden of Assam | 2016

By international
Artist Duo:

Desire Machine Collective

Venue:

The British Museum, London

Krishna in the Garden of Assam – The Cultural context of an Indian Textile

By Desire Machine Collective
The British Museum, London (21 January – 15 August, 2016)

This exhibition explored the impressive cultural history of Assam, the important element of re-enactment of scenes from the Life of Krishna, through textiles and objects. The largest surviving example of such a woven silk cloth, or Vrindavani Vastra, was the centrepiece of this exhibition at the British Museum. The lampas technique of weaving was used to produce the Vrindavani Vastra and this example would have been woven on a wooden draw-loom using two sets of warp and weft threads. Contemporary commissions from Majuli (dance masks) and from the artist duo, Mriganka Madhukalya and Sonal Jain of Desire Machine Collective, were on display as well. The work by DMC was a commissioned film, responding to the conceptual and historical significance of the textile piece. The film titled “Invocation” was a celebration in silence of the vitalism of the psychical world through observations which dissolve the physical, mental and emotional “individual self” into larger and more potent entities.

My East Is Your West

By international
Artists:

Shilpa Gupta, Rashid Rana

Venue:

Venice, Italy

A Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale

My East is Your West, was presented as a Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by The Gujral Foundation, this landmark exhibition united for the first time at the Biennale the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan in a shared exhibition by artists from both countries. Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai) and Rashid Rana (Lahore) each presented a new series of works at the Palazzo Benzon, situated in the centre of Venice on the Grand Canal. As neither India nor Pakistan had a permanent national pavilion in Venice, this presentation provided a unique platform for artists from South Asia to enter into a dialogue through the arts, representing the Indian subcontinent as one region.

Titled after a light installation by Shilpa Gupta, My East is Your West was born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between South Asia’s nation-states and presented the region as a shared cultural cartography. Shilpa Gupta’s series of works brought together over four years of ongoing research in the India-Bangladesh borderlands and the world’s longest security barrier between two nation-states currently in construction. She exhibited works ranging from installation, video, photography, drawings, text-based pieces and performance, which took place throughout the opening week and at intervals throughout the Biennale. Rashid Rana presented an immersive setting across five rooms surveying the conception of presence, temporality and location as collective experience, across digital printmaking, video and installation. In a livestream video work, produced in collaboration with the Lahore Biennale Foundation, viewers were transported from Venice to Lahore and vice versa.

Reflecting each distinctive practice, both artists explored and examined the integral essence of a people divided, a history which spans antiquity, colonial modernity and a cosmopolitan present entangled inconflict. With works that brought to the foreground entangled realities of the Indian subcontinent, Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana developed a material aesthetic that surveyed the potential of a common region, separate from the state and its model.

Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana and Naeem Mohaiemen, also exhibited at the Venice Biennale, participated in an artist talk, Imagined Cartographies, focusing on their practice and contemporary art in South Asia.