Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach

the discussion by hema upadhyay

Hema Upadhyay

The Discussion, 2013

preamble by jitish kallat

Jitish Kallat

Preamble, 2013

untitled (the hour of the day of the month of the season) by jitish kallat

Jitish Kallat

Untitled (the hour of the day of the month of the season), 2013

systems of support by gigi scaria

Gigi Scaria

Systems of support, 2013

jeudi 5 décembre 2013dimanche 8 décembre 2013


Mumbai, Maharashtra India

GIGI SCARIA | JITISH KALLAT | SHILPA GUPTA | RASHID RANA | HEMA UPADHYAY | REENA SAINI KALLAT

The focus of previous works by Gigi Scaria was the interrogation of the aggressive force of urban development and the dislocation, overpopulation, and social changes related to it. In dramatic contrast his recent series of photographs presents us with the spare images of the salt desert in Kutch. Kutch is a district in the western state of Gujarat (India) near the Pakistani border. The photographs reflect upon the solitude the individual experiences when confronted with the uninhabited vastness of space. The overwhelming power of nature, its silence, and the eternity of the horizon allows for revelation and contemplation. The few human traces left on the unchartered terrain are reminiscent of a civilization that is environmentally exploitative and ruled by a logic of devastation.

In a series of works in various media, light box, photography, and video Jitish Kallat explores the formal and semantic analogies of planetary forms and food. He places platter of food on an x-ray bed and converts it into a photograph whose black background is reminiscent of the night sky onto which planetary bodies are inscribed like stellar remnants traveling through the cosmic field. Or the artist uses the ‘roti’, the Indian bread and a staple diet, to represent the waxing and waning of the moon. In both cases food serves as a metaphor of sustenance, there one day and vanishing the next, much like the cycle of the moon that oscillates between abundance and dearth.

Hema Upadhyay has declared Bombay, ‘a true metropolis and hub of dream, capital and violence’ the main focus of her artistic practice. The mechanics of the city and its anonymous crowd that grows daily due to an incessant wave of migration have their own inexorable logic and ask for permanent negotiation. In her most recent work ‘The Discussion’ the artist explores the human interior of the city by looking at it through gestures like speech, body movements and gaze.

The way people act in the urban space is reenacted in the artist’s studio. The artist performs with her own hands which shows as a cluster of moving limbs arranged in symmetrical expressing a variety of gestures, ranging from social interaction, despair, anger, passiveness to solitude. The morphology and color of the limbs allude to corals whose growth stand for the ideal of a salubrious environment that isn’t impacted by the voracious forces of urban development and allows the body to move and prosper at an unhurried pace.

The work titled, Notions of Narrations II is a continuation of Rashid Rana’s most recent “Transliteration Series‟. In this series of works, Rana selects a random image from one time and place in history, cuts it into pieces and reassembles it together, forming another image from another time and place, by doing so, he creates an unusual relationship between both – a method which he refers to as ‘visual transliteration’.

In Notions of Narrations II, a famous painting by Rubens, Rape of the Daughter of Leucippus has been digitally sliced and its micro fragments scrambled in mixed order. The macro image is not easily recognizable as a known image in this case; however, the emblematic figurative objects within it hint towards a bold narrative involving the entanglement of both violent and carnal acts. Although the original image Rana uses is from an older period in time, it is not dissimilar to modern notions of the same. The process of pixilation aids in transcending the immediate/local link, thus, a relationship is established between both the composite image and constituent fragments.

A common thread in Shilpa Gupta’s work is the formation of identity. The highly diverse mosaic of ethnic communities, religions, castes and languages in India shed a complex light on identity. Religious and cultural differences have been threatening the peaceful coexistence of communities in the artist’s home town Bombay and India’s post-independence history in large. On a global level the blurring of boundaries and the wave of migration interrogates the notion of identity and citizenship.

A part from the political and social implications the work I Look At Things With Eyes Different From Yours relates to the innate difference from the Other and the primordial question ‘Who I’m’. Alluding to a theater stage the velvet curtains arouse the viewer’s expectations when closed. When opened the mirroring of the viewer invites to introspection and reveals the truth that difference from the Other and identification with it is crucial for identity formation.

In several works by Reena Kallat an officially recorded statistic or a fragment of information registered as history becomes the starting point. This could be in the form of officially recorded names of people, objects and monuments that are lost or have disappeared, only to get listed as unspecified statistics; at other times it can be dates or units of measurement that are pointers to historical events.

In ‘Measurement from evaporating oceans’ a tool used for measurement in the physical world attempts to calculate the intangible. An over-sized hand estimates the evidence spiraling out of a static center with seemingly random dates that in actuality mark the commencement and closure of what are ironically called “freedom wars”. The desire to render these dates in salt as units of time in history can be seen as mediations on fragility where a broken line of trust, prejudiced perceptions introduce a disruptive element.