Chemould Prescott Road

Art Basel | Hong Kong

Art Basel | Hong Kong

artist with 'the bride's toilet' by vivan sundaram

Vivan Sundaram

Artist with 'The Bride's Toilet', 2001

hair by vivan sundaram

Vivan Sundaram

Hair, 2001

celes terres perpetuum by jitish kallat

Jitish Kallat

Celes Terres Perpetuum, 2010

what are we? by hema upadhyay

Hema Upadhyay

What are We?, 2013

twins by atul dodiya

Atul Dodiya

Twins, 2012–2013

falling ancestors in nauman’s land by atul dodiya

Atul Dodiya

Falling Ancestors in Nauman’s Land, 2013

Thursday, May 15, 2014Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Booth No 1D26 | Hall 1
Hong Kong

In this series of watercolors Anju Dodiya explores the human self through the experience of her own interiority. What results is a ‘fictional self’ whose elusive images are captured in concrete forms. Embedded in enigmatic, not easily decipherable narratives this ‘fictional self’ assumes the role of a warrior, martyr, pilgrim or simply artist who faces the classical dilemma of confronting the empty canvas. In many of her works Anju Dodiya narrates the tragic/heroic aspirations of death by displaying rigor and tension. Often the dark realm of private emotions is counteracted by the scientific accuracy and objectivity of medical drawings. The suite of watercolors with their fine delineation of charcoal are exuberant in their rendition of what haunts the artist’s imagination. Instead of standing in contradistinction to one another, they rather complement one another, producing a tension between the graphic and the painterly.

Atul Dodiya presents an installation that properly realizes the cross-over of personal archive, art-history anthology and wonder-room. The wonder-room (‘Wunderkammer’) as a prototype of the museum assembles a variety of objects that produce peculiar morphologies. Following this tradition Atul’s ‘hero-trophies’ mounted on wall shelves recall the excessive encyclopaedic urge with which the owners of the ‘wonder-rooms’ collected and displayed artifacts. Atul Dodiya’s ‘wonder-room’ takes the form of an ancestral portrait gallery with the most famous icon Marcel Duchamp looking like a ‘fallen angel’. The artist acts as an archivist, ‘arranger’ and collector, whose work pays homage to the artistic ancestry, yet ironizes the glorification and mystification of the revered idols. The installation is complemented by a luminous watercolor that witnesses the sensual play of figures and their temporal dimensions.

Hema Upadhyay’s panels represent an almost empty white space. When closely looked at it turns into a vast landscape whose granular texture is that of long grain rice glued on handmade paper. Some of the grains of rice carry the handwritten quotation "Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." Quotations on life by philosophers and spiritual leaders are commonly printed as a means of inspiration to invoke philosophical thoughts from the reader. We encounter them in books, newspapers, schools, churches, and other public spaces. They are of metaphysical or spiritual content and cathartic in their nature, taking the reader away from the space and putting him in a reflective mood. These quotations are written in minuscule letters evoking the works of miniature painters whose intricacies can only be fully explored by using a magnifying glass. The same is provided with each panel and invites the viewer to search for the quotations that meander like rivers in a landscape.

In a series of works in various media, such as light box, photography, lenticular, and video Jitish Kallat explores the formal and semantic analogies of planetary forms and food. The artist uses the ‘roti’, the Indian bread and a staple diet, to represent the waxing and waning of the moon. Food serves as a metaphor of sustenance, there one day and vanishing the next, much like the cycle of the moon that oscillates between abundance and dearth. The rotis are reminiscent of planetary bodies in general that are traveling like stellar remnants through the cosmic field.

‘Re-Take on Amrita’ are digital photomontages based on photographs by Umrao Sher-Gil and the Sher-Gil family archive. The photomontages have an unsettling power evoking a melancholic past and seductive cultural milieu. The ‘characters’ in these photomontages are Umrao Singh, Vivan Sundaram’s grandfather, the ‘patriarchal photographer in the family’ and his talented daughters Amrita, one of India’s pre-eminent modern painters, and Indira. Umrao Sher-Gil was famous for his hypnotic self-portraits. Contrary to their expression of inner contemplation the photographs he took from Amrita show her forcefully and directly looking into the camera. Vivan Sundaram uses the existing photographs to construct the relationship between father and daughter, artist and model as envisioned by him. He brings them to life by recomposing images of different times instead of preserving them as historical relics. He also uses archival photographs taken by Amrita’s husband which are more snapshot like and informal, witnessing proximate sensuousness, female sexuality, and desire.

Re-Take of Amrita -TAKE