Featuring Sakti Burman, Ayesha Durrani, Vidya Kamat, Damon Kowarsky, Bose Krishnamachari, Rajan Krishnan, Ram Kumar, Baiju Parthan, Raghu Rai, Nausheen Saeed, Anjali Srinivasan, Adeela Suleman and more.
Press Preview & V.I.P. Reception: Thursday, December 1, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Aicon Gallery is pleased to present Reprise 2011, a group exhibition showcasing an inspiring array of the very best modern and contemporary South Asian artists we have worked with over the past year. Throughout 2011, we have been privileged to host some of the most exciting exhibitions of Aicon’s history, including important solo showings of contemporary artists Rajan Krishnan, Baiju Parthan and Adeela Suleman, as well as career-spanning retrospectives of renowned master painter Ram Kumar and Magnum photographer Raghu Rai. In May, Aicon New York’s group exhibition Palimpsest brought some of the most challenging cutting-edge art from India and Pakistan to New York for the first time, including show-stopping new works by artists Vidya Kamat and Nausheen Saeed. We are thrilled to look back on such an exciting year through this survey exhibition and hope you’ll be able to join us.
Among 2011’s solo exhibitions, Aicon London’s comprehensive retrospectives of Ram Kumar and Raghu Rai were perhaps the most critically notable. Both highly anticipated exhibitions brought together iconic works spanning the artists’ decades-long careers with new works exhibited for the first time anywhere. Ram Kumar’s now historic journey from his early highly-sought after figurative paintings to the well known abstract landscapes for which he is now known, has set his work apart from the more simplistic narratives that have developed around modern Indian art. By coming to focus on the abstract, Kumar demands a private, contemplative viewing experience uncharacteristic of his contemporaries. His works are often less about transcendence, and more about the visual encounter between the viewer and the painting in front of them.
Raghu Rai, India’s pre-eminent photographer for nearly half a century, has focused on candid snapshots of the whole of India that masterfully capture the country’s ever-evolving regional, cultural and political transformations. Nominated to Magnum Photos by the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, his work challenges viewers to confront a country where temporalities merge and people, animals, and buildings come together in a majestic visual symphony representative of the complex and often chaotic tableaux of modern Indian life.
On the contemporary front, 2011 saw Pakistani sculptress Adeela Suleman’s critically lauded first London solo exhibition, launched in conjunction with her site-specific installation for Manchester Cathedral as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011. Her stunning politically-charged stainless steel sculptures assembled from everyday household items have been featured in Artforum and the New York Times and included in the Asia Society New York’s groundbreaking 2009 exhibition, Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan.
Following on the heels of his successful New York solo exhibition, Baiju Parthan presented the much-anticipated second installment of his Milljunction cycle of works at Aicon London this summer. The monumentally scaled canvases and lenticular prints present a world of dizzying multiplicity, which Parthan sees as mirroring contemporary Mumbai’s “floating population” of immigrants from across the country, in which each community and individual is left to piece together his own reality and recollections of the teeming cosmopolitan city. Rajan Krishan’s first solo exhibition with Aicon, Ancestry, touched on similar themes of elusive memory. The series, based on Krishnan’s recent return to his birthplace of Kerala, presents a panoramic scene of a landscape and society stranded somewhere between memory and actuality; between the imagined perceptions of our past and the tangible, yet continually shifting, realities of our present and future.
Aicon New York was also privileged to present the group exhibition Palimpsest, which saw nine contemporary South Asian artists exploring complex notions of personal and cultural identity via the cyclical actions of making, remaking, and erasing. Work addressing conflicting notions of femininity and subjugation past and present were standouts. Vidya Kamat’s haunting photographs posit the artist’s body as a site of cultural landscape, visually embroidered with traditional Indian patterns and embellishments suggestive of the historical passivity of the feminine body as subject to masculine subjugation and ideals. Similarly, Nausheen Saeed’s disquieting sculptural works blend the female form with that of traveling luggage, synthesizing the vessel and body as a singular entity. By presenting women as solid, permanent beings – contradicting their traditionally marginalized role in Pakistani society – while simultaneously recasting the female body in purely utilitarian, functional forms, the work evokes a paradox of thoughts, attitudes and behaviors surrounding conflicting notions of femininity.
We hope you are able to join us for this intriguing look-back on where we’ve been and a taste of where we’ll be going in the New Year.