Chemould Prescott Road

Art Basel

Art Basel

Messeplatz 10Basel, 4055, Switzerland Thursday, June 19, 2014Sunday, June 22, 2014
the slave and her slave (after ingres) by pushpamala n.

Pushpamala N.

The Slave and her Slave (after Ingres), 2009

Price on Request

war within by rashid rana

Rashid Rana

War Within, 2013

Price on Request

Messeplatz 10
Basel, 4055, Switzerland
Thursday, June 19, 2014Sunday, June 22, 2014

Art Basel 2014

Booth P6 | Hall 2.1

Atul Dodiyaʼs installation ʻThe Hero (for Soumitra)ʼ realizes the cross-over of personal archive, art-history anthology and wonder-room. The wonder-room (ʻWunderkammerʼ) as a prototype of the museum assembles a variety of objects that produce peculiar morphologies. Following this tradition, Atul Dodiyaʼs ʻhero-trophiesʼ recall the excessive encyclopaedic urge with which the aristocratic owners of the wonder-rooms collected and displayed artifacts. In ʻThe Hero (for Soumitra)ʼ the artist acts as an archivist, ʻarrangerʼ and collector, whose installation pays homage to his artistic ancestry, yet ironizes the glorification and mystification of the revered idols. Atul Dodiyaʼs referentiality mirrors his artistic research, addressing questions of inheritance, originality and continuity. Covering a whole wall this gallery of portraits has biographical leanings as well where Atul Dodiya places himself tongue-incheek among a legion of artists from around the world.

MITHU SEN (1971)
Similar to Atul Dodiyaʼs archive ʻThe Hero (for Soumitra)ʼ, Mithu Senʼs collection of unidentified objects is part of her private museum of ʻUnbelongingsʼ, an ʻarchive of vernacularʼ cultureʼ. The round vitrine in which the objects are placed recalls a circus ring, holding the artistʼs ʻʻmenagerieʼ of voodoo figurines, porno trash, miniature monsters, skulls and all manners of memento moriʼ. In the urge to classify what has been collected, the inanimate objects are bestowed with names and attributes that give them life, transforming puppets, marionettes, and dolls into fetish-like items, household deities and guardian figures. However, Mithu Senʼs practice stems from a strong drawing background as it can be seen in the series ʻSummering South Africaʼ. This drawing series dates back to one of the artistʼs numerous international residencies which play a crucial part in her practice. Considering them as ʻconstant migrationsʼ that not only become home for a while but also inspire fascinating travelogues of myriad lands, they are integral to her art making process. Probably one of the most isolated places to have a residency, the one in South Africa allowed the artist to deeply submerge herself into nature and animal life, creating hybrid creatures of human, animal and floral forms. Some of the recurring motifs in her dreamlike drawings, such as teeth, blood stains, birds, skeletons, and spinal columns, have deeper psychoanalytic readings that tie into our subconscious thoughts about sexuality.

Hema Upadhyayʼs 2 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 handwritten quotations. 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. The quotations 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. Hema Upadhyay writes the quotations in minuscule letters, thus evoking the work of miniature painters whose intricacies can only be fully explored by using a magnifying glass. The latter is provided with each panel, inviting the viewer to search for the quotations that meander like rivers in a vast landscape.

On the occasion of the ʻParis-Delhi-Bombayʼ show at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011), Pushpamala N was specially commissioned to work with the Studio Harcourt, Paris, famous for creating film star portraits in the Hollywood expressionist lighting style. This commission was related to a series of works that the artist had created at the India Photo Studio, Bombay some years ago in collaboration with the late JH Thakker, who had photographed the legendary portraits of Hindi film stars of the ʻ50s and ʻ60s. During a one-month residency in Paris at the Recollets, the artist recreated 3 images from 19th century France, each iconic and archetypal in its own way, reflecting the status and identity of women in historical France. This was the first time that Studio Harcourt, Paris has worked with an artist. ʻLibertyʼ (after Eugène Delacroix) is a reference to the tumultuous history of the French Revolution and its universal ideals of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.ʻThe Slave and her Slaveʼ (after Jean-Auguste- Dominique Ingres) looks at the simultaneous history of colonialism and Orientalist imagery. ʻThe Spyʼ (after a photographic portrait of Countess di Castiglione by Pierre-Louis Pierson) is based on the late 19th century character Countess di Castiglione, famous for being the immaculately beautiful mistress of Napoleon III. Acting as his spy and diplomat, she belongs to a great line of powerful Emperorʼs mistresses in a country that was determined by an extreme patriarchal order.

Rashid Rana has long been engaged with art history, from his composite versions of French Impressionist paintings, created from photographs taken in the bustling streets of his home town, Lahore, to his pixellation of Gustave Courbetʼs ʻThe Origin of the Worldʼ and the manipulation of Pakistani miniatures. Considering his own tradition as ʻan amalgamation of many, diverse – often contradictory – customs borrowed from or filtered through places and events both near and far”, he is particularly drawn to Old Masters of Western art history. By digitally remixing one of the most famous works of Neoclassicism, Jacques-Louis Davidʼs ʻThe Oath of the Horatiiʼ (1784), Rashid Rana destroys the strict, geometrical composition of the original with his own newly imposed grid structure. He digitally sliced the image of the original painting and scrambled its micro fragments in mixed order. Thus, the certainty of Jacques- Louis Davidʼs painting, focused around the central figuresʼ hands clutching the swords, is dissipated and diluted to the extent where Rashid Rana has removed almost all remnants of weaponry from his version of events. The artist has previously explored the same painting in his ʻLanguageʼ series (2011-12), where he concealed two third of the painting behind a curtain, consisting of images taken from local Urdu newspapers.