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India stamps its presence on Art Basel Hong Kong


Press Trust of India Hong Kong
Subodh Gupta is here as are the Dodiyas (Anju and Atul) and Jitish Kallat and Manjunath Kamath. With their A-list artists dominating booth walls, Indian galleries have put their best foot forward at the 'Art Basel in Hong Kong' fair that opened here today.
The sixth edition of the annual fair has nine participating galleries from India Vadehra Art Gallery, Gallery Ske, Chemould Prescott, Sakshi Gallery, Jhaveri Contemporary, Gallery Espace, Experimenter, Nature Morte and Tarq.
The works on display range from Kallat's recent Rain Study and Atul Dodiya's brand new work Camouflage to Gupta's 2015 set of three oil-on-canvas paintings and Kamath's intentionally incomplete terracotta sculptures.
Kallat, who is known for his works on the cosmos, uses impressions of rain drops to create images of galaxy clusters in Rain Study.
A fantastic use of food as a metaphor for sustenance can be seen in his lenticular photoprint work Preamble 2.
Brought to the fair by Mumbai-based Chemould Prescott, the 2013 artwork brings into play the often used parallel between the moon and the roti' (the staple Indian bread).
As one moves from one end of the work to the other, the effects of the lenticular sheet create an impression similar to the waning of the moon, symbolic of the cycle of uncertainty over daily meals in many Indian households.
Chemould Prescott is also showcasing Atul Dodiya with Camouflage done in his statement shutter style.
The artist brings in Picasso's works on war (Guernica' and the Weeping Woman'), using fragmented imagery, part abstract, part figurative, to draw the viewers' responses to the horrors of war.
Gallery owner Shireen Gandhy said she wanted to bring artists who have a resonance in Hong Kong.
A set of Atul Dodiya's works is also exhibited by Vadehra Art Gallery.
However, the Delhi-based gallery has chosen to leave behind the artist's recognisable shutters, and brought two portraits from his Egyptian Girlfriends series that was part of a show back home last year.
The works exhibited at the fair are modelled on the Fayum mummy portraits from ancient Egypt. He morphs his artist wife Anju Dodiya's face on these portraits to create a dialogue between the women across time.
Gallerist Roshni Vadehra who has exhibited Atul Dodiya before at the fair said their star artist reinvented himself with every genre of work.
This (girlfriend series) is perhaps one of his most versatile experiments with form and content. While the viewer might get glimpses of his recognizable artistic style, he completely revisits his own, she said.
Facing Anju Dodiya's morphed image on a canvas is a collection of her own works, for which she has turned to her own life, as a wife, a mother and an artist, to seek inspiration.
Delhi-based Nature Morte has internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Gupta's 2015 work (TBC), a set of three oil-on-canvas paintings.
Two years ago, gallery director Peter Nagy brought lesser known names like Faig Ahmed and Suhasini Kejriwal. This year, it is Gauri Gill. The gallery has an untitled photograph by the artist from her 2015 "Acts of Appearance" series.
We try to bring new works but we have to maintain a balance. Subodh is known but Gauri is not really known..., Nagy said.
Kolkata-based Experimenter is back with Ayesha Sultana, featuring two works from the artist's Grille series. Also on offer are photograph collections by Sohrab Hura, as well as a series of papier-mache tiles by Praneet Soi.
Kamath's intentionally incomplete terracotta sculptures are being showcased by Gallery Espace.
The artist, who uses influences from Indian and Persian miniatures, as well as Chinese, Greek and Buddhist art, believes that a sculpture can be truly enjoyed only if one can see what lies inside.
In my sculptures, you can also see the interior because I feel once you close it, all joy is gone, he said.
The barely four-year old Mumbai-based gallery Tarq has brought a dynamic set of works by Mumbai and Tokyo-based artist Vishwa Shroff.
Vishwa's fondness for different cities has transformed into multiple art series on each city Ho Chi Minh, London, Rome, Baroda and many more.
Vishwa's works in water colours and ink stand out because of the deliberate cutting of her drawings along the border and then pasting it on another surface.
I feel that architecture is such a strong motif that it needs to stand by itself. When it is part of a larger space or context, it loses its solidity, she said.
Sakshi Gallery features a project by Vivek Vilasini that addresses the issue of climate change.
With an impressive line-up like that, it seems only natural for Indian art to grab attention at the fair that opened to the public today and continues till March 31.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Mar 29 2018 | 12:20 PM IST

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