Art Konsult Gallery and conceptual partner Engendered organise the exhibition, ‘Contrabanned: Provocations of Our Times’ from 03 to 10 September 2017 at Art Konsult, New Delhi. Exploring the power of visual provocations in the public environment, 20 artists showcase new and specially created works for this survey exhibition, spanning multiple mediums– from painting, photography and sculpture to new media, sound and video installations. The exhibition is curated by Myna Mukherjee.
Anindita Bhattachrya, Ahmer Khan, Aditi Angiras and Murari Jha, Balbir Krishan, Baran Ijlal, Chintan Upadhyay, Gargi Chandola, Gopa Trivedi, Jimmy Chishi, Mujtaba Syed, Puneet Kaushik, Raghava K K, Sharmila Samant, Samit Das, Shashwatsound Collective, Sumontro Sengupto, Valay Gada and Veer Munshi
“Art needs to speak to the times to be truly relevant in the contemporary . We at Art Konsult are proud to bring together these diverse and cutting-edge voices, from established, mid-career and the emerging artists,” says Siddharth Tagore, director of Art Konsult.
“The exhibition invites a dialogue at the locus of both real and imagined licentiousness in these times of expurgated histories and repeated attempts to censor, sanitize and sequester culture. Exploring the power of visual provocations in the public environment, this showcase of multidisciplinary art pushes the boundaries of our relationship and intimacies to belief systems and political ecologies. It questions contested terrains, where notions of the quotidian have been radicalized,” says the curator Myna Mukherjee.
The exhibition takes a bold step in showing artist Chintan Upadhyay’s work, for the first time after his incarceration. This body of work draws heavily on Manga but localizes issues around censorship and expressions of desire in his inimitable style.
Three artists from Kashmir balance narratives from the valley, both from the inside and the outside. Ahmer Khan and Mujtaba Syed look at issues of nationhood, centrality and development. While Khan’s triptych of photographs juxtaposes issues prevalent in militarized Kashmir, Mujtaba Syed’s paintings explores the center and the margins through the lens of an insider. Veer Munshi’s photo-collages on the other hand, address issues of an insider-outsider who lives as a Kashmiri displaced from the motherland.
Continuing the discourse on the margins and its relationship to the center, North-Eastern artist Jimmy Chishi explores the flip side of assimilation by raising the issue of consumerist appropriation of indigenous tribal culture.
Women artists explore the political and the personal. Anindita Bhattacharya’s neo-miniatures both iconizes yet obliterates the very miniature and mythological heritage that they reference. Baaran Ijlal’s travelling bioscope interrogates gender and body through the lens of adolescence in young girls. Gopa Trivedi’s larger than life photographs transport her to the confines of a refrigerator. The photomontages pose questions of why women need to be preserved as pure and virtuous.
Traversing the spectrum of Gender and Sexuality Aditi Angiras and Murari Jha, bring to the fore contemporary histories that are written on the bodies of others with violence, censure and death. The bodies are not read as social and sexual beings but are de-politicized and de-humanized. Balbir Krishan’s lyrical paintings, All the red flowers expresses the meanderings of alternate desire. Raghava K K’s works delineate body dysmorphia and the politics of untouchable bodies.
Given how sacrosanct the cow is in current times, Gargi Chandola and Yaman Navalakha, create work that speaks of the metaphor of milking and the industry behind it. Shashwatsound Collective presents a sound piece of anonymous people reminiscing about the heritage of food, while examining larger issues around the meat industry.
Valay Gada’s sculptures in copper and brass are metaphors on censure and freedom of speech. Sharmila Samant’s glass gavel poetically highlights issues of a fragile and fractured judiciary. Puneet Kaushik’s video-performance uses traditional masks to explore polarities of calm and agitation.
Samit Das mixed-media works examine the obfuscation of facts during the creation of history and its mythicization. Sumantra Sengupta’s work addresses a similar issue by contextualizing archival material related to Indian participation in the Great World War on the one hand and the production of muslin, a traditional Indian fabric, on the other. It examines the bearing of the past on the future.
‘Art Konsult’ was established about two decades ago with a view to promote Indian Contemporary Art.
Date: 03-10 September 2017
Venue: Art Konsult, 3 Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, India 110016