Art Plural Gallery is pleased to announce Thukral & Tagra: Windows of Opportunity, a solo exhibition featuring the latest works of Indian artist duo Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. The exhibition will run from 22 March to 25 May 2013.
Thukral and Tagra, alias “T&T”, have been collaborating since 2004 and are now widely recognized in the international contemporary art scene. Influenced by contemporary life in all its diversity, T&T boast a rich body of work in painting, sculpture, installation and product design. Their art appeals to a global audience addressing universal themes of identity, consumerism and change.
Thukral and Tagra’s humorous yet provocative works address the harsh realities of Indian society today while mirroring its fantasies and aspirations. The prolific duo combines graphic design with high art references and fuses international popular culture with cliches of the rising Indian Middle Class. They most famously created the fictitious brand “BoseDK”, in fact a rude word in Punjabi, and various pseudo-commercial products under its name. Socially conscious, the artists’ “Put it On” series raised awareness of HIV and safe sex practices for the upwardly-mobile urban Indian youth. Thukral and Tagra’s fantastic universe is a dreamscape based in the everyday world, where man’s heroes and vices collide. Playful paintings in their signature saccharine colors tease our ideas of reality and desire in today’s technological context. Rife with meaningful paradoxes, the art of Thukral and Tagra pulls the issues of our time out from under the carpet and throws them into the open, creating an experience that is both aesthetic and reflective, both tongue-in-cheek and brazenly seductive.
For this exhibition, Windows of Opportunity, a new series of paintings and wall reliefs will explore the socio-political issues behind the Punjabi diaspora, a subject of which the artists know first-hand as many of their own peers have migrated out of India in recent years. As in the past, the youth of India today desire to escape their nation and live out their fantasies in America, Europe or Australia, fantasies perpetuated by the mass media. The ‘windows of opportunity’ they seek are referenced in portraits of young individuals framed in airplane windows, waiting patiently for escape. Another witty choice of imagery hints that a difficult reality belies this dream: these portraits look to be encased in pinball machines, likening the process of getting a visa or living abroad to a never-ending game where one is thrown back and forth, jostled between reality and fantasy.
“Most of our works address the issues, cultural shifts, problems and beliefs of people living in India today. We grew up with the general acknowledgement that most Indians dream of leaving India and moving abroad,” say Thukral and Tagra, “albeit a dream that is laced with anxiety and insecurity.”
For an added element of fun characteristic of Thukral and Tagra, a site-specific installation of a running track will meander through the first storey of the gallery. Not only will it tease viewers’ experience of the gallery space but will expand on the idea of “gaming” to also include the act of viewing contemporary art.
“We are very pleased to be presenting Thukral and Tagra,” comments Frédéric de Senarclens, CEO of Art Plural Gallery, “for their art is not only relevant to India, but strikes a chord with all who are living in modern society and moving between cultures.”
Jiten Thukral was born in 1976 in the city of Jalandhar in the state of the Punjab, Sumir Tagra in 1979 in the capital city of New Delhi. They both attended the Delhi College of Art in the 1990s, a decade of radical change as India experienced an influx of new ideas, products, images and media. Their initial foray into the fields of graphic and product design, advertising, and commercial interior design not only influences their art, but is at the core of it. As Thukral and Tagra affirm, “the field of graphics and design teaches one how to present an idea. It’s an essential part of our work; it’s a blur between a solution and an artistic expression.” Rooted in the new, the flashy, and the ever-changing, this aesthetic embodies many of the issues that India is facing today as it becomes more involved with an international discourse.
Thukral and Tagra have shot to fame in the international art scene in the past ten years and exhibited extensively. In 2011, their works were included in the exhibition “Indian Highway IV” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France (which travelled to the MAXXI Museum in Rome) as well as “Paris-Delhi-Bombay…” at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. They have created installations specifically for the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2010); the Asia Pacific Triennale at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009); and the Art Statements section of Art Basel (2007). Their works have been included in a number of large survey of exhibitions of contemporary art from India at institutions such as the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark (2012), the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2008), and the Essl Museum, Vienna (2009). Solo shows of their work have been presented at the galleries Nature Morte (both in New Delhi and Berlin), Bose Pacia (New York), Hilger Contemporary (Vienna), Arario (Seoul), Barry Keldoulis (Sydney), Tokyo Gallery (Tokyo) and Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai). They are currently working on projects with the German porcelain manufacturer Meissen and the Italian fashion house Etro and were artists in residence at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute in 2010. The artists live and work in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon.
About Art Plural Gallery
Art Plural Gallery is a unique space dedicated to Modern, Contemporary Art and Design in the heart of Singapore's cultural district. This innovative platform nestled in a four-storey Art Deco heritage building presents solo and group exhibitions, installations, public art projects, conferences, and art publications.
For additional information and images, view the Thukral & Tagra: Windows of Opportunity exhibition on the Art Plural Gallery website.