Raqs Media Collective, artists

Proving that Indian art is alive and travelling
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First Published: Thu, Dec 27 2012. 06 26 PM IST
(from left) 

Sengupta, Bagchi and Narula at their 


Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, office.
 
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
(from left) Sengupta, Bagchi and Narula at their Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, office. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Updated: Thu, Dec 27 2012. 10 36 PM IST
Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective, founded in 1992 by three mass communication graduates, makes films, edits books, curates exhibitions and stages theatre performances, alongside other artistic projects too complex to explain in a short space. One of its highlights this year was The Great Bare Mat & Constellation. On display till 7 January at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, US, the exhibition consists of a carpet woven with a computer-generated pattern that, according to collective member Shuddhabrata Sengupta, 45, gave an opportunity to “think concretely with objects and conversations and how time makes itself present in our life”.
Art and artists from India travelled far and wide in 2012. Sheela Gowda was among seven artists to be nominated for the prestigious Artes Mundi 5 prize; Bharti Kher had a solo at Parasol unit in London; and video art by Amar Kanwar, Tejal Shah and Nalini Malani was shown at dOCUMENTA 13 at Kassel in Germany. Raqs did especially well for itself. Apart from the Boston installation, its other news-making enterprise is the ongoing Sarai Reader 09 exhibition in Gurgaon, which has more than a hundred artists showcasing their works-in-process. The final series of the exhibition opens in February.
In 2013, the collective will continue to command attention on the global art scene with new assignments. It will host a solo show, comprising two video works, at The Baltimore Museum of Art, from 27 February-16 June. The trio will also spend a month in that city’s Johns Hopkins University. “We will teach graduate students in the university’s arts, media and anthropology departments,” says Monica Narula, 43, the second member of the collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, 47, completes the trinity).
Other plans include a project in Delhi concerning “the transformation of a house” in an upscale neighbourhood, a symposium performance on the “idea of an ocean” in the west African country Benin and a solo show—a response to the time the trio spent this spring in Shanghai.
Perhaps the group’s most ambitious project will be the one in South Korea. “We have been invited along with seven others by Gwangju Folly II,” says Narula, referring to a part of the art biennial in the South Korean city Gwangju that invites architects, artists, collectives to experiment with public spaces. “We will work on a subway train, wrapping the coaches in a certain kind of image-making, aided by tools that include audio and video interplays,” Narula says. “The purpose is to change the experience of being in a train.”
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First Published: Thu, Dec 27 2012. 06 26 PM IST
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