Following a brief lull during the summer, art galleries are back with a reinvigorated programming
From recreating the artist’s studio within the white cube space to showcasing projects in abandoned houses, the upcoming exhibitions explore diverse formats and themes
TREES AS A METAPHOR—OJAS ART GALLERY DELHI
Gond art has always drawn on myths and legends steeped in nature. And now a group of artists featuring Bhajju Shyam and Subash Vyam is exploring the theme of trees as sacred beings in the exhibition A Message From The Trees, at Delhi’s Ojas Art Gallery. “Even though the artists are drawing on folklore, the theme is very contemporary, especially with the considerable felling of trees in the Capital due to increased construction," says Anubhav Nath of Ojas Art. The works use trees as a metaphor for nature and highlight the issue of human interference leading to an ecological imbalance.
On view till 1 September. Priced at ₹20,000 to ₹4 lakh
Benitha Perciyal’s sculptures build on the qualities of her material. And for her first solo show in Mumbai, Aggregate, she will exhibit a new body of work featuring materials such as reused Burma teak, tree resin and African tulip seeds. “Benitha has also developed a meticulous way of applying seeds layer by layer on to the cavities of her sculptures," says gallerist Ranjana Steinruecke. Especially striking are four wide-mouthed containers cast from a different fibre. “The third room in the gallery will serve as an archive of the materials she works with. For instance, she is bringing a bird’s nest. Benitha mimics the style of its construction in her sculptures," she says.
On view from 8 August-15 October. Priced at ₹8-21 lakh
TANTRA ART: A STATE OF MIND— JHAVERI CONTEMPORARY, MUMBAI
Two artists, separated by time and space, come together in an exhibition at Jhaveri Contemporary to explore Tantra in contemporary art. Titled At Home In The Universe, the show juxtaposes works by Mahirwan Mamtani, born in Sindh in 1935 and currently living in Munich, with those by Harminder Judge, a contemporary London-based artist. In an essay for the exhibition, UK-based curator Rebecca Heald elaborates on the styles of the two artists: “Mamtani’s work remains closely visually aligned to the schematics of Mandalas; Judge’s work is more open with swathes of unadorned space, it is less directive."
On view till 31 August. Priced at ₹1.2-7.5 lakh
GOING BEYOND THE WHITE CUBE— EXPERIMENTER, KOLKATA
“We like to think of ourselves as an octopus with one head and many arms," says Priyanka Raja, talking about Experimenter’s multifaceted programming to mark its first decade. One of the highlights is the new solo, dui, by Naeem Mohaiemen in the Hindustan Road space in Kolkata (on till 5 November). The two-part photo project delves into the archives of images taken by the artist’s father in the 1950s, and his own engagement with the political and cultural history of Bangladesh. One can also tune into the recently launched Experimenter Radio on Spotify, which curates a selection of the music that the artists the gallery works with listen to. Then, there is the newly minted Experimenter Outpost—Priyanka and Prateek Raja’s long-standing dream of showing works in abandoned unused spaces around the world. The first of these is likely to take place in a property owned by the Thapar family of the KCT Group. “We are presenting two projects there. One is a solo exhibition of Soumya Sankar Bose’s critically acclaimed portraits of Jatra artists, titled Let’s Sing An Old Song. And downstairs, we will have a lecture demonstration by (Carnatic music vocalist) T.M. Krishna, titled Manordharma, curated by Mumbai-based First Edition Arts," says Priyanka.
The 10th-year programme will be held from 23-25 August. Prices on request
GETTING UNDER THE SKIN — GALLERY THRESHOLD, DELHI
One of the most striking works at Gallery Threshold, Delhi, is Mithu Sen’s Conjoined Life Separately—a sculpture with two bronze braids of hair. An extension of the human body, and a marker of youth, hair helps Sen raise questions about the fragility and ephemeral nature of life.
This is on view as part of Skin: The Finer Nuance, an exhibition which features the works of eight artists, including Sen, Achia Anzi, Shivani Aggarwal and Prajakta Potnis. Works in diverse formats have referenced aspects of skin, ranging from the personal and erotic to the sociopolitical. —Anandi Mishra
On view till 20 August. Priced at ₹30,000 to ₹5 lakh
A PEEK INTO THE ARTIST’S STUDIO— CHEMOULD PRESCOTT ROAD, MUMBAI
A new show at Chemould Prescott Road offers a rare glimpse into the workings of an artist’s studio. Titled Modus Operandi II In Situ: An Artist Studio, this is the second edition of the exhibition series, with 25 artists such as Atul and Anju Dodiya, Bijoy Jain, Jitish Kallat, Shakuntala Kulkarni and Varunika Saraf creating a section of their studio within the gallery space. “When you visit an artist’s studio, you come away with memories of the space, and the materials that inhabit it. So the exhibition is designed to give you that sense of the artistic process," says Shireen Gandhy of Chemould.
Saraf’s moodboard, for instance, features postcards, clippings and sketches that could activate a train of thought, accompanied by a wooden shelf with glass bottles filled with pigments. “These objects and materials have been collected by artists with care over the years. They are parting with something really special to them, and it shows their generosity and trust," says Gandhy. While Saraf’s moodboard is of a new work, Kulkarni is showing older working drawings, precursors to her cane-armour works. Kallat’s showcase, on the other hand, is more abstract, in the form of a vitrine of his studio notations from 2011-13, which Gandhy calls an “assembly of intuitions."