Monday, June 30, 2014

India the colour of art in St Moritz Masters 2014

India - Art 


New Delhi
The colours and the diversity of Indian contemporary art will come under international arc lights at the St Moritz Art Masters 2014 in the picturesque Alpine valley of Engadine in Switzerland —  a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubunden. The highest summit in the Eastern Alps — the Piz Bernina — lies a few kilometers south of the town.     
The 9-day festival of art from August 22-31 promises diverse artistic positions from the contemporary Indian art scene — ranging from the young to established artists presenting a diverse range of art works that will include site-specific interventions to Indian classical modernism.

In addition to a high-profile program of Indian, national and international contemporary art, the St Moritz Arts Masters will host special curated shows and walks of art a well that will connect various venues from Maloja to S-Chanf. The venues are culturally eclectic touching public spaces, churches, private homes and galleries of the Engadin.

A spokesperson for the festival said the top international modern masters who will showcase their works at the festival feature names like Pablo Bartholomew, Paresh Maity, Jayasri Burman, Riddhibrata Burman, Pratul Dash, Smriti Dixit, Shilpa Gupta, Subodh Gupta,  M.F. Husain, Gigi Scaria, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Ranbir Kaleka, Nalini Malani, Manish Nai, Mithu Sen, Hema Upadhyay and Soony Tarapoorwala.     

The Indian contemporary artists will address pressing questions of the times by linking ritual, myth and everyday life in a creative expressions that will speak of the country’s traditional artistic and cultural roots. The vibrant field of contemporary Indian art reflects the nation's rapid change and contrasts, giving Indian artists a unique voice within the international art scene.

This edition of the “masters” will infuse the programme with the essence of cross cutting streams in the art and culture scene— a phenomenon that has dictated the artistic essence of the contemporary movements in post-colonial Indian art. Indian art, despite being increasing global in its practice and mediums, has retained its connection to the traditions of aesthetics that began in the caves of hunter-gatherer and travelled down the Indus Valley settlements to the temple walls and the artists’ contemporary canvas.  

A soulful portrayal of “Indian Megalopolis” is the theme that Paresh Maity explores in his installation ‘Mystic Abode’. a monumental installation of 8,000 brass bells, that signifies human desire and yearning for spiritual peace, a universal need in today's time.  Burman will be presented at the St Moritz Masters’ by the Art Alive Gallery.    

Artist Jayasri Burman (presented by Art Alive) will exhibit ‘Dharitri’, (Goddess Earth), a sculpture representing in the best sense tradition, reinterpreted, re-invented and re-imagined for India of today.  Another major highlight of this year’s festival is a photography exhibition by a young Indian fashion photographer Riddhibrata Burman, who has made a mark in a field of innovative photography.

Having worked with leading photographers like Mark Seliger and Steven Klein, his works will showcase an interesting play of objects with light and shadow. Taking from the basic realities of his surroundings, he simplifies his pictures and shoots ideas and situations, creating intriguing stories. The exhibition will showcase 18 photographs from his four ongoing series. Riddhibrata will be represented by Art Alive Gallery.

Over the years, Indian contemporary art has been finding greater space globally with exchanges, residencies, international expositions and growing international market for Indian art which is not qualitatively diverse – but relatively affordable in the international market. The arrival of concept and post-modern in the practices and thought processes in the art scene has opened the two-way doors between India and the world.

Critics and art historians say the journey of Indian contemporary art to the west and even the east  began post-Independence with the formation of the Bombay Progressive Group in 1947-1948 — a agglomeration of leading contemporary Indian artists, most of whom studied art in Mumbai and Maharashtra. These artists rejected the domination of European influences in pre-Independence Indian art and developed an indigenous Indian language drawing on folk genres and traditions. But in the process, these artists developed an universal language of their own expressionism and abstraction as founders of the movement like F.N. Souza, Tyeb Mehta, V.S.Gaitonde, S.H Raza, M.F. Husain and several others were exposed to western art on the strength of their training outside the country and their exhibitions abroad.

Indian art began to travel abroad in the decades of the 1950s- and the momentum picked up in the 1980s and thereafter. India has been participating in art fairs around the world since the 1970s –sporadically with selected gallery shows. Three years ago, the country sent its first representation to Venice Biennale with an official showcase and inaugurated its first biennale in Kochi in Kerala in 2012.

-Madhusree Chatterjee      

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