RECENT


NOTICEBOARD

The Radical Potential of Friendship
by Deeksha Nath
A look at Splice, a new initiative by Delhi-based artist-curators Rohini Devasher and Pallavi Paul, that celebrates collaborative creative thinking and friendship amidst the challenges of a pandemic.

22 Nov 2021

Breathing Life into Dust: Interview with Artist Amol K. Patil

A Prince Claus awardee, and selected for documenta 15 in 2022, Amol K Patil on the significance of ‘dust’, the politics of touch and making the invisible, visible through his practice.

20 Nov 2021

Stitching Memory: Review of Rehang at Bikaner House, New Delhi
by Meera Menezes
Rehang, curated by contemporary textile specialist, Uthra Rajgopal, brings together some thought provoking fibre arts and craft-based work by 15 South Asian artists.

20 Nov 2021

Art Collectives in recent years
by Bhavya Sah and Gautami Raju
An overview of Art Collectives as alternative sites of creation and sanctuary for those on the margins.

20 Nov 2021

Looking through the Portal: Photographs, Lives, Histories
by Ranu Roychoudhuri
Review of Portal: The Curious Case of Achintya Bose (2020)

20 Nov 2021

“Loneliness of the Great”
by Ella Datta
Ella Datta speaks to A. Ramachandran on his latest suite of drawings on Gandhi.

20 Oct 2021

A post pandemic art world

Roshini Vadehra, Ranjana Steinruecke and Aditya Mopidevi speak to Critical Collective about the driving compulsions of new art practices, and their response to NFTs.

20 Oct 2021

The Afterlife of a Photograph: Devashish Gaur speaks to Critical Collective

Recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s inaugural prize for Vantage Point Sharjah 9 (VPS9), Devashish Gaur on the “intergenerational exploration of identity” in his practice.

20 Oct 2021


art history


CINEMA/OTT

The Splendid Indeterminacy of Shoojit Sircar’s Mellow Dramas
by Sayandeb Chowdhury
A look at how the director confronts and confounds genre expectations while working within the confines of mainstream Hindi cinema. (2021)

From Remote Console to Media Libraries: Trajectories of the Literary in Platform Capitalism
by Arushi Vats
On the shifting tendencies towards the sites, sources and methods of literary adaptation for web series featured on vernacular and homegrown Over The Top (OTT) platforms in India. (2021)

Detective Leads the Pack: Tracing the trend of investigative thrillers on Bengali OTT platforms
by Priyadarshini Bhattacharyya
Bengali OTT platforms like Hoichoi, Addatimes and Klikk draw on the popular trend of the investigative thriller web series, often featuring a homegrown Bengali detective. (2021)

Unveiling the House of Secrets: Burari Deaths
by Rajlakshmi Bhagawati
A review of the three-part docuseries on the Burari deaths, the newest addition to Netflix’s original content under the true crime genre. (2021)

Reading Thalaivii: Cine-politics and the Biopic in South India
by Gopika Gurudas
The writer reads the film Thalaivii in context of the making of biopics in the South Indian film industry. (2021)

Indian Documentary circuits in the pandemic era
by Swati Bandi
The author "moves the focus from the documentary film festival to the constitution of documentary film audiences against the background of the pandemic." (2021

“Every filmmaker is present in their film”: Shilpi Gulati interviewed by Vaskar Mech

Shilpi Gulati on the need for institutional spaces that train and support documentary makers and the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill. (2021)

Documentary Films and Development
by Tapan K. Bose
On the Films Division’s use of documentary films for disseminating ideas and the limits of the format as a “tool for development”. (1995)


Lens Based Practices

Afterlives and Aftermaths: Images of Death and Countenance in the Covid-19 Pandemic
by Annalisa Mansukhani
Looking at a history of public images of suffering, violence and death, including those related to the ongoing pandemic, the writer highlights the contradiction in the evidentiary impulses and memorial instincts they represent.

Photographing the Dead: American Soldiers in Second World War Calcutta
by Reeti Basu
A close reading of the photographs of funerals and cremation sites taken by American servicemen in Calcutta reveal less sympathy and more a fascination with what they perceived as exotic rituals.

Refracting the Paradox of Visibility: Looking through Vidisha-Fadescha’s Lens
by Shaunak Mahbubani
Vidischa-Fadescha’s photo-performances highlight the fraught relations between visibility, access and agency that challenge the queer community in India. (2021)

Revisiting Feminist Archives through Ariella Azoulay’s ‘Citizenry of Photography’
by Mridu Rai
A re-viewing of Nepal Picture Library’s Out in the World archival series on women travellers to reclaim power for photography and its citizen-subjects. (2021)

The Handicraft Image on Social Media
by Anisha Baid
Maggie Smith Kühn’s Instagram wedding paintings provide insights into contemporary artists who engage with a new kind of Photorealism, bringing together painting, digital photography and collage. (2021)

The Face of Hyperreality
by Vaskar Mech
This essay looks at the phenomenon of online beauty filters for facial enhancement and photographic alterations, and the commodification of the human face by social media. (2021)

Raja Deen Dayal and Sons: Photographing Hyderabad’s Famine Relief Efforts
by Deborah Hutton
A study of photographs on famine relief efforts by the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, the essay explores the relationship between photography, modernity and statecraft in late nineteenth-century princely India. (2017)

This End to the Other
by Roobina Karode
Roobina Karode writes on Rameshwar Broota’s photographic works, as “wedged between human intention and technical invention”. (2011)


CC ARCHIVES

Cosmetics and Coiffure in Ancient India
by Moti Chandra
The author offers an overview of the earliest use of cosmetics, adornments and hairstyles in ancient India by examining classical Sanskrit texts and archaeological artefacts.

The Call of the East: the Calcutta School
by Leandre Vaillat
French writer and critic Leandre Vaillat on how the Tagore brothers “banished bad models of the west” but “kept in contact with French art”, creating a renaissance for Indian art. (1921)

Subho Tagore and the Calcutta Group
by Priyanka Tagore
On the Calcutta group and its co-founder, Subho Tagore's attempt to create an art thatwas "international and inter-dependent.” (2021)

Modern Art in India: A Point of View
by Nissim Ezekiel
Art critic Nissim Ezekiel gives an insight into the tendencies and cultural significance of works by Indian modern painters in the middle of the twentieth century. (1969)

Quiet, Dark Stories - On Hush
by Sukanya Deb
The author dwells on the politics of depiction and the need for sensitivity and directness in the face of difficult subjects, in reference to Pratheek Thomas' graphic novel, Hush.

Portrait of the Artist as a Maker of Feminist Zines
by Arunava Banerjee
Annushka Hardikar's Oh Nari So Sanskari! and Niketa Malhotra's The Fluid Sari as sites of a “digitally networked feminist practice.”

Collective zines of consciousness
by Zahra Amiruddin
Public art and zine making collective, Bombay Underground, shares their passion for exploring narratives that go beyond epistemological hierarchies.

A Primer on Art Education
by Nandalal Bose
Nandalal Bose lauds Abanindranth Tagore as a “master of the pen as much of the brush”, in his commentary on Tagore’s ‘Sahaj Chitrasikha’, an art primer for young learners. (1929)

MUSEUMS

'Renovations' at Jallianwala Bagh

Gurmeet Rai speaks to Gayatri Sinha about the changing attitude to monuments and memorials, Jallianwala Bagh and issues facing the revamping of Sabarmati ashram.

Objects and Their Journeys: In Pursuit of the Provenance of Things
by Jyotindra Jain
The author explores the rising debate around the restitution of cultural heritage, the ethics behind collecting practices in museums and the evolving definition of “provenance” in this context. (2021)

Interview with the curatorial team of the SCO Virtual Exhibition in National Museum, Delhi
by Critical Collective
On the pioneering virtual exhibition showcasing the shared Buddhist heritage of the SCO countries. (2021)

Jane Lombard Prize 2020-22 for Avni Sethi and The Conflictorium Museum
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The writer makes the case for spaces that open up histories of individual and collective trauma. (2020)

"We need to find new ways of engaging the public imagination"
by Critical Collective
Tasneem Mehta speaks to CC about museum and conservation practices in the face of a global lockdown. (2020)

Framing the Grand Historical Narrative of Indian Cinema
by Damini Kulkarni
The NMIC frames cinema less as an art form and more as a national legacy, writes Kulkarni. (2020)

A Tryst with History
by Arundhati Chauhan
A survey of cultural projects and initiatives announced in the last few months that suggest a move afoot to overhaul India’s museums sector. (2020)

The Supreme Court Museum
by Ketaki Varma
"The museum traces the history of jurisprudence alongside a history of India itself," writes Ketaki Varma. (2020)


Curators and Exhibitions

Threading a fine line
by Meera Menezes
Meera Menezes examines the abstract art practices of Shobha Broota and Mekhala Bahl.

Reality/Chen, Simply Being/Tse-jan, Cosmic Spirit /Ch’i: Chinese Connection
by Virginia Whiles
Emerging from a severe lockdown in France Virginia Whiles visits an exhibition on Morandi at the Musee de Grenoble, and is moved by his precise, poetic economy of style.

Interview with Student Biennale curators Archana Hande and Vasudha Thozur
by Critical Collective
Curators of the Students’ Biennale speak to CC about working with student-artists and exploring the position of their own practice in the curatorial framework of framework of the exhibition. (2021)

Manisha Parekh: A River Inside (2020)
by Zeenat Nagree
Zeenat Nagree on Manisha Parekh's solo exhibition held at Jhaveri Contemporary earlier this year. (2020)

In Conversation with Raqs Media Collective
by Amrita Chakravarty
The curators of the latest edition of the Yokohama Triennale on thinking art and the exhibitionary through the lens of the spectrum. (2020)

Kochi Biennale in the Time of Covid-19
by Critical Collective
With the 5th edition slated to be held later this year, Rao and Krishnamachari on the challenges of curating in the midst of a pandemic. (2020)

CC Special: An interview with Ravi Agarwal
by Critical Collective
"I believe the world I live in is largely a matter of my own interpretation and perception" - Agarwal on his latest curation for the Serendipity Arts Festival. (2019)


artists

Atul Bhalla: Contemporary Landscape and the Depths of the Historical Field
by Kathleen L Wyma
The author reads Atul Bhalla's landscapes, created between 2008 and 2014, as "layered, critical expressions that potentially dilate beyond the prescriptive limits of the present to tactically engage with the past."

And When She Roared The Universe Quaked
by Shilpa Phadke
On Shakuntala Kulkarni examining the “anger of the modern woman and the challenges it engenders” in her work.

The Art of Discovery
by Ashok Vajpeyi
On Manish Pushkale's envisioning of art as a "continuum of discovery" and the re-invention of reality in his practice. (2016)

Memory and Betrayal
by Rita Datta
On nostalgia and different connotations of “home” suggested in Rathin Barman’s solo show 'No... I Remember it Well'. (2015)

Ebstorf in Baroda: The Mappae Mundi of Gulammohammed Sheikh
by Alfred Hiatt
Alfred Hiatt on the Ebstorf Mappa Mundi and Gulam Sheikh's encyclopaedic world view, one that is redeemed by the poet and the artist.

In The Theatre of Memory: The Work of Contemporary Art in the Photographic Archive
by Raqs Media Collective
On Raqs Media Collective’s role as artists- subjecting photographs to an “imaginative trial” and moving from the archive to the theatre.

Room Without a Window: On Prajakta Potnis’ solo
by Zasha Colah
On Prajakta Potnis’s solo project for the India Art Fair, 2012, where “the room’s balanced stability in which nothing seems to happen”, becomes the site of drama, action and exploration. (2012)

Vasudha Thozur: Recent Works (1994-1997)
by Vasudha Thozhur and Simryn Gill
The authors explore the locus of Thozhur’s art, where the imagination exists parallel to daily rituals of the household ‘as if to carve something precious out of the body of real life.’


Artists Groups and Collectives

Drifting Threads: Cholamandal Artists’ Village over fifty years
by Ashrafi S Bhagat
Ashrafi Bhagat traces the past, present and future of the Cholamandal Artists' Village in Chennai.

How to Feel a Leak?
by CAMP
CAMP elaborates on their work, THE RADIA TAP(E)S as part of The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York Triennial (2012).

CONA: Points of Reflection
by Hemali Bhuta
Hemali Bhuta on the founding of CONA as a pedagogical structure for artists.

New Group: In conversation with Amitava Das and Mona Rai at New Delhi, April 23, 2014

Amitava Das and Mona talk about the formation of the New Group in 1974.

The Calcutta Group - Its Aims and Achievements
by Prodosh Das Gupta
Prodosh Das Gupta highlights the premise of founding the Calcutta Group in 1940.

Indian Society of Oriental Art
by James H. Cousins


Artists Conversations

In Conversation with Jitish Kallat
by Critical Collective
I draw therefore I think with artists from 29 countries is launched by South South projects. Curator Jitish Kallat speaks to speaks to CC about Charles Darwin's 1837 Tree of Life sketch as an inspira

In conversation with Gipin Varghese
by Bhooma Padmanabhan
Exploring personal ways and means for "relooking at news and imagery of violence, death and struggle emerging from non-urban contexts within India" in Gipin Varghese's Lifetimes. (2014)

Places of solace and places of strife: In Conversation with Sarah Naqvi
by Critical Collective
Sarah Naqvi speaks of women in her family and women in Islam, and the constant churn in the effort that underlies her multi-faceted practice.

"Wet feet on a rock": Interview with Jyoti Bhatt
by Girinandini Singh
Jyoti Bhatt, Asia Society awardee 2021 on documenting the folkloric tradition of India, and the significance of the accessible archive in the digital age.

Home is a queer brown body: Interview with Sunil Gupta
by Gayatri Sinha
Sunil Gupta speaks to Gayatri Sinha on the occasion of a major retrospective at The Photographers Gallery.

Interview with Chitra Ganesh
by Critical Collective
From classical Buddhist texts to early science fiction Chitra Ganesh speaks of the femme body as a site for subversion and transformation.

"My journey as an artist is often through stories of people and places"
by Critical Collective
Boston and Lahore based interdisciplinary artist Hamra Abbas’s practice moves across media and materials to re-envision the great tradition of story-telling (dastangoi), Gongbi, and more.

Summer's Children: Nostalgia, Memory and a Keralan Summer
by Critical Collective
Anpu Varkey on her recently released non-textual graphic novel Summer's Children and the creative process of conjuring the emotional landscape of her childhood in black, white and sepia tones. (2021)


ON GENDER

The Role of Women Characters In the Sanskrit Drama
by D.D. Sharma
The essay discusses the presence of women characters in early Sanskrit plays and their actuality as actors on stage.

Women as Chattel in the Ramayana
by S. N. Vyas
The essay outlines the treatment of women as tangible objects that can be exchanged or gifted in the Ramayana, a notion embedded into the narrative of the grand epic and possibly a reflection of the time it was created. (1948)

Emotion, Identity, and the Female Subject: Tamil Women's Magazines in Colonial India, 1890-1940
by Mytheli Sreenivas
The article considers Tamil women's magazines printed between the 1890s and1940s as an instrument to examine the changing perceptions about middle-class women and their roles in colonial modernity. (2003)

The Role of the Courtesan in the Early History of Indian Painting
by P. K. Gode
Analysing verses from ancient Indian textual sources such as the Arthashastra and the Kamasutra, the author elaborates upon the proficiency achieved by courtesans in the art of painting or alekhya. (1941)

Conquering Land, Conquering Women: Exploring the Co-relation between War and Sexuality in the Early Medieval Indian Inscriptions
by Shatarupa Bhattacharya
The essay explores the thread correlating courtly culture, sexuality and war through epigraphic evidence. (2006)

Aesthetics, Nationalism, and the Image of Woman in Modern Indian Art
by Kedar Vishwanathan
On the "female" appropriation for the cause of imagining an Indian nation, through Raja Ravi Varma's Printing Press, Calcutta Art Studio, and Bengali neo-traditionalists. (2010)

A Man’s World: Gender, Family, and Architectural Patronage, in Medieval India
by Padma Kaimal
The essay investigates questions of agency and gender and looks at the architectural implications of women patrons on medieval South Indian temples. (2003)

Ascribing Feminist Intent: The Invention of the Indian Woman Artist
by Deeptha Achar
Achar examines the consolidation of the ‘Indian woman artist’ as a category in modern Indian art. (2013)


AESTHETICS THEORY

An Outline of Indian Aesthetics
by Nagendra
On the various speculations pertaining to the nature of Beauty in the Indian context and the contribution of Indian poetics and philosophy in its formulation. (1934)

The Dynamism of the Indian Concept of Rasa
by K S Ramaswamy Shastri
On the concept and origin of Rasa in Indian aesthetics and the development of its elements. (1935)

Some Modern Critics and Ancient Texts on the Aesthetic Value of Hindu Images
by N.V. Mallavya
On the aesthetic and iconographical aspects of ancient Indian sculpture as outlined in the Agamas and Shastras. (1942)

Anandavardhana’s Treatment of Pratibha in Relation to Dhvani
by K. Krishnamoorthy
On the concept of Pratibha or creative imagination brought about by the agency of Dhvani. (1950)

Peculiarities in the Alamkara-Section of the Agni-Purana
by Suresh Mohan Bhattacharya
On the unique modes of treatment accorded to Alamkara and its constituent elements in the Agni Purana. (1960)

Studies in Dhvanyaloka, the Adivakya in Dhvanyaloka
by V.A. Ramaswami Sastri
On the importance of dhvani in communicating the essence of emotion inherent in poetry and drama. (1955)

Paintings and Allied Arts as Revealed in Bana’s Works
by C Sivaramamurti
The essay examines the aesthetics of painting and sculpting in the cannons of Classical Indian Art. (1933)

The Concept of Beauty in Fine Arts and Literature
by Prabhakar Machwe
In this essay, the writer unpacks the meaning of 'beauty' within the framework of aesthetic criticism. (1958)



CURATING SOUTH ASIA

Parvez's performative gestures:The subversion of the capitalist art economy
by Deeksha Nath
The author writes on performance and lens based artist Parvez’s seven month long project in Switzerland questioning the presumptions around audience interaction and the sites of art presentation.

Restless Creations: Adeela Suleman's Art for Social Change
by Virginia Whiles
Virginia Whiles speaks with sculptor Adeela Suleman on her use of found objects and dark humour in her work, as a way of exploring social and ecological violence, tragedy and censorship in Pakistan. (2021)

Positionings
by Salima Hashmi
With Bani Abidi's nomination for the Böttcherstraße prize, Salima Hashmi writes on a generation of Pakistani women artists' work "as a site for mutinous content and personal empowerment.” (2020)

TANTRA: Enlightenment to Revolution
by Virginia Whiles
The author reviews the ongoing exhibition at the British Museum through a ‘socially distanced’ critique, following online talks and exchanges with colleagues. (2020)

Contesting and coalescing voices from Dhaka Art Summit
by Mustafa Zaman
In its 5th edition, DAS invited the voices of different communities, giving them a chance to articulate in their own terms, the legacies of colonial/postcolonial modernity. (2020)

Lahore Biennale: ‘between the sun and the moon’
by Virginia Whiles
The second Lahore Biennale stages a polyphony of artistic voices weighing in on the shared cultural and political history of South Asia and the Middle East. (2020)

Bani Abidi: Funland

Curators Hoor Al Qasimi and Natasha Ginwala on a major survery of Bani Abidi's works exhibited at Sharjah Art Foundation. (2019)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Nidhi Mahajan
by Gayatri Sinha
The curator on her installation-performance "Silences and Spectres of the Indian Ocean." (2019)


CC Books

Solvyns in Bengal
by Critical Collective
Solvyns' views of late 18th century Bengal delight in a comprehensive book and exhibition by DAG.

Gandhi in the Gallery
by Gayatri Sinha
Ramaswamy tracks the idea of Gandhi as an ethical crucible, expanding far beyond his death, in the imagination of the Indian artist. (2021)

23 Grams of Salt: Retracing Gandhi’s March to Dandi by Anuj Ambalal
by Girinandini Singh
The author reviews Anuj Ambalal’s photo-book 23 Grams of Salt which re-visits the historic journey of the Dandi March today. (2021)

B.N. Goswamy’s The Great Mysore Bhagavata
by Sama Haq
The author comments on codicology and patronage in the Bhagavata manuscript from the royal atelier of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III of Mysore. (2020)

Aadi Anant: Creative Continuum and Unsung Masters by Sushma Bahl
by Sohini Singh
A ready-reckoner showcasing the myriad facets of the indigenous arts of India. (2020)

Interview with Indira Chandrasekhar
by Critical Collective
Indira Chandrasekhar on setting up Tulika Books, the relationship between contemporary art and publishing, and the future of books as a form. (2020)

Along the Indian Highway: An Ethnography of an International Travelling Exhibition by Catherine Bublatzky
by Simone Wille
An ethnographic reading of the decade old exhibition. (2020)

Books Received | May 2020
by Amrita Chakravarty and Ketaki Varma
A compilation of short book reviews.


CC REFERENCE

The future of India’s past
by Bhavya Sah and Gautami Raju
An overview of projects undertaken by the Indian Government to create and recreate cultural and material heritage that resonates with a narrative for a 'New India'.

On Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience
by Roobina Karode
Roobina Karode in conversation with art historian and curator Siva Kumar, artist Ravi Kumar Kashi and Sumathi Ramaswamy on Gandhi, his image and its legacy in contemporary art. (2021)

DOUBLE ACT
by Shivani Kasumra
Two parallel group shows by four galleries folds in the stirrings of our present, where art steers one beyond the foreclosures of finitude--of space, time, and imagination. (2021)

Cinema and the “Art” of Archiving
by Amrita Chakravarty
A look at contemporary art projects that draw on the archive of cinema as a source of alternative histories. (2021)

Abanindranath Tagore and the creation of a Regional Avant-Garde
by Partha Mitter
In Abanindranath Tagore's sesquicentennial year, Partha Mitter makes "a bold claim that he created a regional Asian expression of avant-garde art whose implications are still unfolding”. (2021)

A Fragile Inheritance: Radical Stakes in Contemporary Indian Art
by Saloni Mathur
On culture and politics of decolonization and the role of non-Western aesthetic avant-gardes within the discourses of contemporary art. (2020)

Why Statues Matter: The Changing Landscape of Calcutta’s Colonial and Postcolonial Statuary
by Tapati Guha-Thakurta
On the shifting casts and sites of Kolkata’s public statues. (2020)

A Critique of Ananda Coomaraswamy’s Presuppositions for a Philosophy of Indian Art
by Ratan Parimoo
On Coomaraswamy’s work on art and aesthetics in light of Indian philosophy. (2020)