Review: Sheba Chhachhi’s Evoking the Pause

This review was first published on Mumbai Boss. Water Show Given the limited number of respectable galleries and art spaces in the city, it would be unfair to say there’s been a glut of Sheba Chhachhi exhibitions this year. However, considering that the number of solo shows Chhachhi had in Mumbai until 2011 was zero, two exhibitions in a year seems to verge on over-exposure. We tend to be impatient viewers, hungrily hunting for novelty and ever ready to dismiss repetitions. Chances are there will be some who will walk through “Evoking the Pause” at the Bhau Daji Lad museum … Continue reading Review: Sheba Chhachhi’s Evoking the Pause

Review: Excrescence

This was first published on Mumbai Boss. Abnormal Outgrowths Chances are you’ve never used the word excrescence in conversation but after seeing the show titled “Excrescence”, we think it might just pop up in your social chit-chat because the art on display is thought-provoking and worth talking about. Curated by Maya Kovskaya, this group show is inviting, engaging and erudite, but not inaccessible. “Excrescence” has works by Ashutosh Bharadwaj, Sheba Chhachhi, Han Bing, Tushar Joag, Prajakta Potnis and Wu Gaozhong. The title of the show can mean either “an abnormal outgrowth” or “a disfiguring addition”. Every work in “Excrescence” responds to … Continue reading Review: Excrescence

Review: The Trophy

This review was first published in ArtSlant. Trophy Hunting Generally, when you walk into a gallery, you expect two things: light and silence. Enter Gallery Maskara and you’re plunged into a darkness that is made all the more eerie by the whirring noise of projectors playing Belgian artist Ruben Bellinkx’s 16mm films on loop. “The Trophy” presents a set of videos that Bellinkx has made over the past five years, beautifully displayed in the cavernous gallery. All except one use animals (predictably, animal rights activists aren’t enamored by the artist’s work but Bellinkx took great pains to ensure the animals were … Continue reading Review: The Trophy

Review: Gallery SKE for Gallery BMB

This review was first published in ArtSlant. The speedy rise of GALLERYSKE as one of India’s more important galleries is, in many ways, a testimony to how quickly Indian contemporary art has soared in critical estimation. Choosing to leave the modernist masters and conventional art practices to others, GALLERYSKE concentrated on looking forward. Its focus was on finding and promoting new artists whose work used new media, sculptural installations and performance art. A showcase of the gallery’s artists should be exciting, unconventional and full of novelty. Despite a few interesting pieces, most of the selection made by curator Bose Krishnamachari … Continue reading Review: Gallery SKE for Gallery BMB

Review: Section Yellow (again)

This was my first review for Art Slant. Pretty Paperwork As a Pakistani who is married to an Indian and lives in India on a tourist visa, Bani Abidi is intimately familiar with the visa application process. In her new solo show at Mumbai’s Project 88, it shows. Section Yellow is composed of  works made over the last few months including a video, two series of photographs and a set of photo-text montages. All the elements tie in with one another, though some manage this better than others. The montages are meant to punctuate the larger narrative that is set out in … Continue reading Review: Section Yellow (again)

Review: Section Yellow

This review first appeared on Mumbai Boss. Dividing Lines Think back to the last time you were waiting to be interviewed for a visa. Remember dressing up so that you look like you’re visa-worthy, waiting to meet a dour official, carrying a file of every possible document to prove your financial worth and respectability? Chances are, you didn’t consider yourself to be a work of art while sitting around in the visa office. Unless, of course, you’re Pakistani artist Bani Abidi. Delhi-based Abidi has been interested in the way power dynamics play out in everyday life for a while now. … Continue reading Review: Section Yellow

On Kolkata’s Art Scene

This article first appeared in Mint Lounge. The Kolkata Frieze There are two “B”s in the Bengali alphabet. They look and sound exactly the same. The alphabet also has one obsolete vowel and a curious accent called the “biswarga”. The biswarga, pronounced “bishorgo”, can be replaced by the exclamation mark, making it one of those elements of the Bengali alphabet that isn’t essential. Kolkata-based artist Jayanta Roy punned on biswarga when he titled his 2009 exhibition B-Swarga. “We say many big things about how art can change the world, but it’s as useless as thebiswarga because there are so few people who are actually … Continue reading On Kolkata’s Art Scene