In India, we have always looked at art as a collaborative effort. Just look at the miniature paintings which were prepared in the karkhanas by numerous artists,” says Sushma K. Bahl, arts consultant and curator of Vistaar, an exhibition organized by Gallery Limited Editons (LE). The exhibition brings together well-known artists and companies dealing with a variety of media in groups of two that include painters, sculptors, product designers installation artists, ceramicists, weavers, photographers, jewellery designers, fashion designers and apparel manufacturers, among others. “The idea was to see how sparks fly when we put all these creative minds together,” says Bahl.
Alpana Gujral, jewellery designer, worked with her father and well-known painter and sculptor Satish Gujral on a pendant for about six months. “I waited for him to decide what he wanted to do and, finally, he worked on a wood and gold-leaf Ganesha,” she says. Gujral says he has always loved his daughter’s jewellery creations and was quite excited to work with her. “The image I chose was inspired by the form of Lord Ganesha shown in the act of creation oozing through its trunk,” he says in an email interview. The top of the pendant consists of navratna —the nine gemstones that are said to ward off the evil eye according to Hindu mythology—with the Ganesha sculpture in the middle, while below it is a black onyx inlaid with an emerald.
The other objects on display range from a garden umbrella with cast bronze handles, to a ceramic art piece with an Akbar Padamsee painting, from a glass installation in the form of a lotus to a Bose Krishnamachari steel chandelier which can be turned upside down, from furniture to an “erotic” steel (again by Bose) sofa in the form of a sliced apple with a tongue sticking out. The prices range from Rs1-3 lakh.
Artist Chintan Upadhyay was paired with fashion designer Arjun Khanna. Upadhyay knew Khanna had a keen interest in restoring motorcycles and cars, and both wanted to do something that would capture the myriad smells and sounds of the city of Mumbai. The final motorcycle-meets-bicycle-meets-bullock cart installation is bound to attract attention. “This hybrid structure uses doodhwala cans, bicycle wheels and pedals, and old photographs, among others,” says Upadhyay.
According to Aparajita Jain, owner of Gallery LE, a lot of thought went into pairing the different artists, after considering the kind of materials they worked with. “The artists were also a little tired of doing what they were already into, and this exhibition provided a sort of creative outlet to try out new things,” she says.
It’s the sort of opportunity that helped New Delhi-based ceramicist Vineet Kacker combine his craft with Mumbai-based painter Padamsee. When Kacker visited Padamsee’s studio in Mumbai, he showed him a watercolour, a painting and a drawing, out of which Kacker chose the watercolour for a ceramic art-piece. “I gave him full liberty to interpret the piece as a creator, and not merely reproduce it, which is an insult to any artist,” says Padamsee.
Artist Sunil Gawde, however, exercised full creative control over his glass installation, Ghost in the Bottle, and was present at the factory when it was being produced by Borosil. It consists of a number of 2ft bottles in assorted shapes, which are mirror-coated from the inside. “These shapes represent the force of suppressed thoughts that, like a ghost, are pressing to come out of the mind,” he says.
Vistaar will be exhibited in New Delhi from 12-19 September at The Stainless art gallery, Okhla Crossing, and in Mumbai from 22-27 October at Gallery Art and Soul, Worli.