VISUAL ARTS->Presentations

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A View to Infinity | Nasreen Mohamedi

 |  | 6.00 pm | Auditorium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai

Roobina Karode will discuss the ongoing exhibition at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art showcasing Nasreen Mohamedi’s retrospective, ‘A View to Infinity’. She will be expounding on the curatorial choices she made in the shaping of the exhibition, the challenges she encountered and share her ongoing formulations on Nasreen’s distinctive art pedagogy and practice, her oeuvre and the trajectory of subliminal abstraction that she steered at a time when figural narration was predominant in India.

As her student at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda, and as her neighbour, Karode came to know the artist very closely through many interactions with the artist from 1977 to 1990. Having spent long hours at her studio-cum-home, she will be sharing the artist’s persona with the audience through personal anecdotes and rare insights registered by her into the self-evolving discipline of Nasreen, with regard to both, her art and life.


Waterscapes in Art History

 |  | 5.00 pm | G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Lakshmi Mills Compound, Off Dr. E. Moses Marg, Mumbai

Lecture I: Ecological Aesthetics in the Little Ice Age, Mathura, ca. 1614 | Sugata Ray

Along with droughts and famines of unprecedented intensity that ensued with the formation of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1550–1850), the seventeenth century saw the emergence of new forms of riparian architecture in Mathura, the primary pilgrimage center in north India where the divine Krishna is believed to have spent his youth. Emerging from the interstices of material practices, theological economies, and cataclysmic environmental transformation, the hydroaesthetics of riparian architecture in Mathura, then, presents us with an exemplary site that produces an alternative ideation of an ecological art history that brings together the natural and the architectural. In such an ideation, the act of beholding flowing water becomes the crucial link that connects localized aesthetic practices with an expanded nonhuman transterritorial arena of water scarcity and droughts that emerged across the world in the geological epoch of the Little Ice Age.

Lecture II: Developmental Aesthetics: Technocracy’s Ophthalmological Conundrums (ca. 1945-1955) | Atreyee Gupta

With the formalization of the Damodar Valley Corporation in 1948, a multipurpose hydro-engineering project on the Damodar river was set in motion. This was the first of several river valley projects that would be initiated in Nehruvian India to achieve rapid industrial, technological, agricultural, and scientific progress. This talk examines the ocular processes internal to this reconfiguration of India’s waterscape and horizon line, one that transpired in the early post-colonial years. This narrative unfolds through three interlinked vignettes. We begin with models, posters, and woodcut diagrams of the Damodar project that were circulated in the early 1940s by Meghnad Saha, the Bengali atomic scientist and hydro-engineering enthusiast. We then turn to Sunil Janah, whose camera most pithily capturedthe developmental ocularity that this talk seeks to describe. The last vignette focuses on Le Corbusier, whose mandate from Nehru included the aestheticization of the Bhakra dam through architectonic interjections. At face value, it may appear that we cannot escape the centrality of the ocular in the making of the postcolonial development-scape. But, as we will see, neither can the technocratic evade the disruptive potential of the aesthetic.

Admission free and open to all


ECOLOGICAL CONTESTATIONS: Ravi Agarwal in conversation with Ranjit Hoskote

 |  | October 27, 2015 | 18.00 pm | Visitors' Center, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai

Ecological time is mysterious. How does ecology act in a dialectical Darwinian way, over many lifetimes, before it adapts, or has that changed with the advent of man? We are said to be in the age of the sixth extinction which is caused by humans. As a collective force, we have now acquired the power to change the natural order of forces. The Anthropocene says that by the power of capital and technology, we could be riding the back of the tiger, with an illusion that we are steering it.

Our ideas of ecology are based on our histories, and how it makes us now. Nature has turned into a generic category and is ‘acted’ upon. It has to be seen, appreciated, exploited, explored, imagined or ignored, but not necessarily lived. Akin to what patriarchy does to the figure of a woman, Nature is often put on a pedestal and admired from afar. Possibly, we could be caught up in the web of language itself, and what is signified as Nature. It needs to be seen as a set of relationships rather than a boundary, and re-imagining the idea of Nature could be the key to future sustainability.

In this discussion, Ravi Agarwal and Ranjit Hoskote will converse on ideas of art, ecology and sustainability, linking them to the Agarwal’s art practice and environmental activism. The program is organized in conjunction with the artist’s ongoing exhibition, Else all will be still, at The Guild, Alibaug.

Admission free and open to all.



 |  | 4.00 pm | Main Hall, Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai

Geographies of Consumption | Bombay/Mumbai, is a public art project conceived and curated by the Mohile Parikh Center. It critically investigates the impact of consumption on natural resources in the city, and on human bodies, our ecosystems and cultures. Interspersed in the project are study groups, film screenings, public lectures, an annual symposia, and publication. The public art projects will focus on urban consumption through the lens of Land, Water & Food.

In Performance Art, the medium is the artist’s body and connotes live actions that usually consist of time, space, the body, and a relationship between the performer and spectators. As a term, it is both confusing and fascinating, and falls outside the conventional forms of theatre and other performative practices. It implies a sense of the artist’s autonomy in composition, the work’s social critique, the element of endurance, and the difficulty to repeat the action. In this presentation, Mansi Bhatt will share her journey into the world of performance, which has its roots in the experimental practices she explored as a student in the Sir J.J. School of Arts, amidst her academic training.

Amphibian’s Transit | Live Performance by Mansi Bhatt |

October 7, 8, 9, 2015 | 10.00 am – 5.00 pm | Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai |

Project - Geographies of Consumption: Bombay/Mumbai

Admission free and open to all.


FROM SHRINE TO PLINTH | The Dichotomies of the Worshipped and Collected Object

 |  | 6.30pm | Visitors' Center, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai

This paper examines the role of artistic intervention in contemporary museums in the UK. It revisits and undertakes a critical review of an interactive exhibition, 'From Shrine to Plinth', held at the Croydon Clocktower in Croydon, London in 2008. Designed and curated by Megha Rajguru, a series of artworks displayed in the museum space interrupted the museum’s institutional curatorial methods and explored the dichotomies of the worshipped and collected object.

This paper addresses the classification of religious artefacts as art and curatorial mechanisms in the museum that generate the secular act of close viewing and observation. It compares this with the temple ritual of viewing the deity. Emerging from two separate viewing traditions, the post-enlightenment inquisitive gaze in the former, and the transcendental viewing or darshan in the latter, this paper addresses the role of art in exploring intangible meanings of objects. It reflects upon visitors’ ritualistic behaviours in exhibition From Shrine to Plinth and argues that meanings of artefacts are revealed through human interactions with them. This is where the function of artistic intervention in the museum becomes most poignant, as it offers the opportunity to address untold stories and histories.This paper makes a contribution to the study of curating objects of worship, which is an ongoing debate in museum studies, and offers alternative modes of curatorial thinking that are closely aligned to art practice.

Admission free and open to all.


COLONIAL CONTESTATIONS: The Paintings and Writings Of Mahadev Vishwanath Dhurandhar

 |  | 6.30pm | Auditorium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai

The painter Mahadev Vishwanath Dhurandhar (1867–1944) was associated with the J. J. School of Art Bombay for over forty years; first as a student and then as an art educator and colonial functionary. A prolific painter who expanded his activities to writing on his contemporaries and also penned his autobiography in Marathi, Dhurandhar was a part of an intricate web of interactions that shaped the early 20th century art-world in India.Viewed often as a member of the comprador bourgeoisie, his legacy is however much more complex. The presentation will throw light on the strategies adopted by him to breach structures of colonial authority, through subtle contestations and participation in parallel publics that developed on the fringes of officially mandated art societies and institutions.

This presentation is organized in conjunction with the exhibition, Rethinking the Regional, currently showing at the NGMA, Mumbai. Curated by Manisha Patil, the exhibition is conceived by the Shlok Foundation and the NGMA, Mumbai.

In collaboration with Shlok Foundation and the NGMA, Mumbai | Admission free and open to all.



 |  | 4.00pm | Main Hall, Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai

Geographies of Consumption | Bombay Mumbai, is a public art project conceived and curated by the Mohile Parikh Center. It critically investigates the impact of consumption on natural resources in the city, and on human bodies, our ecosystems and cultures. Interspersed in the project are study groups, film screenings, public lectures, an annual symposia, and publication. The public art projects will focus on urban consumption through the lens of Land, Water and Food.

What criteria should we use to evaluate art in public spaces that are dialogic, participatory, interventionist, collaborative and communitarian in nature? Since the 1960s, there has been much discussion among artists about ‘the public’, and varied experiments in the public domain sought to circumvent traditional art venues through direct interactions with the intended public. In this presentation, Navjot Altaf will engage with the students of the art school about such practices and its place in contemporary aesthetic discourse. Her methodology ascertains the interactive aspects of collaboration, whereby the work emerges out of extended dialogues, simultaneously altering the conventional relationship between viewers and works of art.

Admission free and open to all.


InterAsian Movements Of Art Across Global Cities: The Mumbai Pavilion At The 9th Shanghai Biennale

 |  | 6.30pm | Visitors's Center, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai

The lecture investigates central aspects of the globalization of the art world: the circulation of the biennale cultural form, its appropriation in many geographical locations, and the contents and questions generated through these processes. It examines the 9th Shanghai Biennale entitled ‘Reactivation’ (2012), and within this large exhibition, focuses on the Mumbai pavilion as one of latest chapters in the brief history of the contemporary art traffic between India and China.‘Reactivation’ was held at the Power Station of Art, formerly the Pavilion of Future at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

The speaker analyzes the representation of Mumbai in Shanghai by deploying a multi-scalar framework encompassing the Shanghai Biennale’s ‘macro-biography’, and the circuits of people, objects, and imaginations inaugurated by the making of the pavilion. To understand the connections between the art works and the Biennale, the speaker draws on encounters with the pavilion artists that occurred in Mumbai, New Delhi, and virtually. The lecture aims to rethink questions of knowledge, intimacy, and place vis-à-vis accounts of the circulation of the biennale form within Asia and beyond.

Manuela Ciotti received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE). She is currently Associate Professor of Global Studies at Aarhus University, and ‘Framing the Global’ Fellow at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has an extensive fieldwork experience and has written on the topics of modernity, subaltern communities, gender and politics, and more recently, on art and society.

Admission free and open to all.


Beyond Geometry and Memory

 |  | 6.30 pm | Visitor's Center, CSMVS, Mumbai

Yashwant Deshmukh, now in his early fifties, looks back at and beyond the evolution of his practice that spans over 25 years. Deshmukh’s canvases reverberate what his innumerable drawings silently observe. A brief interaction with his work exhibited so far might lead to traces of 'style' - muted colours that subdue layers of texture and almost geometric shapes marked with bold outlines. These impressions do last, as Deshmukh maintains a steady pace. During the two and half decades, a gradual process of arriving at an accomplishment in form and style, sensing a comfort zone and then a departure, can be sensed in his oeuvre.

The first departure the artist made was from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, where he was trained. He took to drawing with a resolve to unlearn. The solitude ended after many months, and so did the artist's search for subject. His drawings and the imminent paintings had revealed to him that the subject is within. He became a narrator of his own visual experiences. His technique facilitated aggregation of the personal. The artist took geometry to a literally impossible task- to evoke feelings. The presentation and conversation is aimed at mapping the points of departure in Deshmukh’s work. It is a journey to the expanses of Vidarbha region, to a distant village in Vasai, to Mumbai where he lives and works and to the cities and countries he visited while his work grew beyond cultural codes.

Admission free and open to all | The program will be in Marathi and English.



 |  | 6.30 pm | Studio X, Mumbai

Parvathi Nayar’s uniquely hybrid work examines the narratives of spatial relationships: both the internal spaces within our bodies, and the external in which we live, and often through the prism of science and technology. By treating her artworks as sites of dialogue where different elements – the scientific and the intuitive, the historical and the contemporary – meet and converse, she encourages viewers to re-experience once-familiar perspectives.

Prajakta Potnis’s work dwells between the intimate world of an individual and the world outside, which is separated sometimes only by a wall. She refers to the wall as a witness to history that has traces of inhabitance embedded within. She tries to contextualize the wall as a membrane through which imperceptible elements pass and affect the psyche of individuals, addressing private and social anxieties.

In Fluid Conversations, the artists will present selected works to introduce their practice, and specifically focus on their exciting site-specific installations at the Kochi Biennale 2014-15. Exploring the linkages between inner and outer spaces, the conversation will trace multiple trajectories in their practice that find a resonance in their projects at the Biennale.

Admission free and open to all.

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