RECENT


NOTICEBOARD

World Mother at Central Park
by Gayatri Sinha
An encounter with Bharti Kher’s 'Ancestor', a large public sculpture installed and unveiled at the southeast entrance to New York’s Central Park, September 2022.

27 Sep 2022

Lyon Biennale 2022
by Virginia Whiles
A dense show of experimental artworks, the 16th Lyon Biennale reveals a fascinating story of inter-cultural relevance. Virginia Whiles' review with an Asia focus.

27 Sep 2022

Resistance of the Everyday Kind

Artist Orijit Sen speaks with Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi about satire and resistance over time and how new avenues of circulation such as Instagram have altered his approach to art making.

26 Sep 2022

Comics, Cartoons and the Politics of Censorship in Digital India
by Debanjana Nayek
Granting a substantial amount of liberty to cartoonists to create and share their work with a large audience, digital viewership also generates new forms of censorship and bullying.

26 Sep 2022

Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles 2022
by Virginia Whiles
From a wealth of ideas and images - on awarded entries, photo books, ecology and the female avante garde - Virginia Whiles presents a sweeping overview.

23 Aug 2022

Shahidul Alam: Singed but not Burnt
by Ankan Kazi
The exhibition which covers four decades of Shahidul Alam’s career demonstrates how the photographer-activist’s body of work has produced new conditions of visibility for Bangladesh.

23 Aug 2022

Unearthing histories - a critical engagement with the archive
by Zahra Amiruddin
Event, Memory, Metaphor ongoing at Tarq, lingers between political and personal narratives that influence the act of remembering.

23 Aug 2022

CC Shorts: Three Group Exhibitions in Delhi
by Mallika Visvanathan
The month of August in Delhi saw three group exhibitions that sought to express and explore the diverse personal and political ethos of the participating artists.

23 Aug 2022


art history


CINEMA/OTT

A Song to Carry in Our Hearts: Tarun Majumdar’s ‘Bengali’ Romanticism
by Anindya Sengupta
Tarun Majumdar’s oeuvre sought to preserve the rapidly vanishing social ethos of the 1960s and 1970s, as Bengal grappled with strife and political turmoil. (2022)

Fatma Begum: Another History of Indian Cinema
by Rashmi Devi Sawhney
Fatma Begum epitomized the instinct for survival that women entrepreneurs in the film industry had to summon as they undertook direction, production and script-writing. (2022)

A “generational shift” in Malayalam Cinema: The Films of Aashiq Abu
by Gopika Gurudas
Aashiq Abu's films attempt to subvert gender stereotypes and stand out for their experimentation with style, theme and casting. (2022)

The Politics of Being Jahnu Barua
by Vaskar Mech
Writing on the critically acclaimed Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua and his films, the author examines the factors leading to their lack of commercial success in the region.

“Much of Filmdom’s glory belongs to Shantaram”

A star profile of actor-director Shantaram paints him as an institution by himself, unsurpassed in his ability to work with technical grandeur and lyrical imagery. (1954)

Chidananda Das Gupta's Early Years: An Exercise in Speculation
by Maharghya Chakraborty
The author traces the transition of Chidananda Das Gupta from teacher, advertising professional, critic, writer and cinephile to filmmaker. (2022)

Chidananda Das Gupta: Close-Ups and Long Shots
by Monojit Lahiri
Exploring the lesser- known aspect of Chidananda Das Gupta’s career as a director, Lahiri unpacks his oeuvre consisting of fiction and non-fiction films. (2022)

Chidananda Das Gupta: Critic and Friend
by Rochona Majumdar
On Chidananda Das Gupta as pioneer of the Film Society movement in India, his close friendship with Satyajit Ray with whom he cofounded the Calcutta Film Society and his career as a critic. (2022)


Lens Based Practices

Between the Named and the Unnamed: A Photographic Lens for Bharatanatyam
by Kuzhali Jaganathan
Underlying the photographic archive of Bharatanatyam lies the erasure of its practitioners. (2022)

An Archaeology of Pictorial Desire: The Archives of the Jadavpur University Photographic Club
by Sourav Sil
The archives map the rise and fall of Pictorialism. (2022)

Lights, Camera, Transition: Gamak Ghar and Barah by Barah
by Rituparna Sengupta
Reflecting on the act of photography in two fiction films.

Resisting Melancholy: Filing the Real in Dayanita Singh’s File Room
by Shankar Tripathi
Tripathi examines the series of photographs as a quagmire of indifference in the life of ordinary Indians. (2022)

Whispering a World of Subterfuges
by Ushmayo Dutta
A critical take on and suggestions of alternatives to existing photojournalistic images of Kashmir that fall into the binary trap of extreme beauty or violence.

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)


CC ARCHIVES

Recalling Ramkinkar - artist and man
by K G Subramanyan
Recollecting personal experiences of engaging with Ramkinkar, Subramanyan traces the artist’s life, career and the spaces and people who influenced him. (1991)

Picture Showmen
by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
Tracking the figure of Picture Showmen, Coomaraswamy uses historical evidence to contextualise this performance-based practice in the subcontinent. (1929)

Modern Indian Painting
by B C Sanyal
Renowned painter B.C. Sanyal’s reflections on the way in which modern art in India has been shaped and has changed in the country over time. (1968)

Renaissance of Art in Gujarat
by Ratan Parimoo
The essay contextualises the early modern art scene of Gujarat while describing the individual practices and approaches adapted by certain key artists. (2004)

Tendencies of Modern Indian Art
by Benoy Kumar Sarkar
In the context of the 17th Annual Exhibition of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Professor Benoy Kumar Sarkar opines on the trends in Modern Indian Art in Bengal. (1926)

The Art Born of Crisis
by Sandip Sarkar
Mapping trends in contemporary Indian art, the author sheds light on Calcutta as a site of inspiration and the generations of artists it facilitated. (1976)

Some Regional Graphic Centres: Baroda
by Gulammohammed Sheikh
The author writes on the state of printmaking activity in Baroda through veteran and emerging artists, and experimental workshops. (1981)

The Art of Witnessing: Sunil Janah and India’s Industrial Modernization
by Ranu Roychoudhuri
Featuring 26 silver gelatin prints, Sunil Janah/Making a Photograph, on view at Experimenter, Kolkata, provides a rare opportunity to appreciate Sunil Janah's industrial works from the 1950s and 60s.

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

Astonishment of Being
by Deeksha Nath
The author explains how the aim of the exhibition is not to be a passive experience but "an active engagement with the world as we see it and as we’d like to see it change". (2010)

A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920-2020
by Virginia Whiles
On the theme of artist studios, the author reviews the “ambitious global exhibition” consisting of more than 100 works by over 80 artists and collectives at Whitechapel Gallery.

The Rough Draft of History: Printmaking through Crises
by Arushi Vats
Review of 'Living a Dark Night'. (Gallery Espace, February 12-March 23, 2022), which enlists the tradition of reportage in art-making to reflect on experiences of the global pandemic.

Ai Weiwei: The Liberty of Doubt
by Virginia Whiles
A review of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, which focuses on “small pieces that raise the issues of authenticity and value through his own versions of traditional forms.”

Colomboscope: Language is Migrant

Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran speak about the seventh edition of Colomboscope, Sri Lanka’s contemporary art festival, featuring over fifty artists.

House of Wonders
by Shivani Kasumra
At Bikaner House, parallel shows Hostile Witnesses and 18 Dimensions: Sculptural Manifestations, pare down the turbulence of recent history with an uncanny, yet levitating sense of wonder.

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.

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.


artists

On Cruising : 1960s Delhi and Communities of Belonging
by Katyayani Sinha and Gayatri Sinha
In conversation with Sunil Gupta. The acclaimed photographer speaks about his practice that has consistently explored questions of sexuality and identity.

Concrete Ciphers: Pratap Morey
by Meera Menezes
On the interplay of puzzle games and architectural elements, as they reveal subtle shifts in our urban landscape over time and point to possible futures. (2019)

The Shadow in the Mirror: Anju Dodiya and the Reflective Gaze
by Gayatri Sinha
On the reflective nature of Anju Dodiya's work, and how it necessitates an expansion of the notion of the self. (2015)

Through an Iconoclast's Shredder
by Rita Datta
A review of Abhishek Hazra's show Between Repetition and Reticence at Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata, as it takes to task Bengal's socio-cultural parameters and pretensions with a grim sense of humour. (2020)

Injurious Forms: Review of the staging of Bharti Kher's Strange Attractors
by Subha Mukherji
On Bharti Kher's recent show at Nature Morte, Delhi, where eight sculptures capture Kher’s "dizzying range of skills with media and matter."

There is a prefix living between us
by Gitanjali Dang
Gitanjali Dang reflects on Tejal Shah’s intimate performative practice and its hybrid nature. (2011)

Pushpamala’s Epigraphica Indica
by Bhavya Sah
On Pushpamala’s solo show at Gallery Sumukha and her copperplate inscriptions Atlas of Rare and Lost Alphabets and Nara, where the artist undertakes the making and remaking of the archive.

When a Sculptor turns Enameller
by B.N. Goswamy
The author recollects a conversation with the sculptor Balan Nambiar in which they discuss the delicate art of enamelling. (2016)


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 Ravi Agarwal

CC speaks to artist Ravi Agarwal about the relationship between art and ecological activism in informing the curatorial vision of his recent exhibition 'New Natures: A Terrible Beauty is Born'.

In Conversation with Randhir Singh

On photographing buildings across Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as part of “The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947-1985,” at the MoMA.

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.

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

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.

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.


ON GENDER

Woman in Didactic Fable and Popular Tale in Sanskrit
by Leela Arjunwadkar
The portrayal of women in Sanskrit literature varies from idealised images to prejudiced depictions, as well as realistic representations of the expectations placed upon them by society. (1984)

Indian Women and Public Life
by Sarwari Jahan Abdul Karim
The essay advocates for the rights of women to participate in all forms of public life: nationally and internationally. (1935)

Woman in the Sculpture of the Deccan, An Artistic Study
by G. Yazdani
Drawing examples from the caves of Bhaja, Karle, Ellora and Palampet, Yazdani enumerates the aesthetic merits of sculptures depicting the female form. (1942)

Sati in Vijayanagara
by K. Sarojini Devi
On the act of Sati performed by the women of Vijayanagara in the medieval period gathered from epigraphic materials and witness accounts of foreign travellers.

Shilpakalar Panch Nayika - Five Leading Women in Fine Arts
by Atanu Basu
A translation of Atanu Basu’s essay on the lives and works of the first all-female artists collective in Bengal called ‘The Group’, which consisted of Meera Mukherjee, Karuna Saha, Shanu Lahiri, Santosh Rohatgi and Shyamasree Basu. (1983)

Global queens, national celebrities: tales of feminine triumph in post-liberalization India
by Radhika Parameswaran
A critical analysis of the cultural impact of Indian pageant queens on India's consuming classes as interwoven with the new liberalization of the economy and the popularizing print culture in the 1990s and early 2000s. (2004)

Haya Nari: A Charger of Damsels
by O.C. Gangoly
On the unique imagery of the Haya Nari, a composite figure of milk maidens twisted into the shape of a horse in Odiya Vaishnavism and the influence of tribal and folkaesthetic sensibilities in its composition.

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.


AESTHETICS THEORY

Anandavardhana's Treatment of Aprastutaprasamsa
by P. K. Narayana Pillai
The essay discusses the degree of novelty in Anandavardhana’s theory of dhvani, and the rhetorician’s opinions regarding the contributions of his successors towards the theorization of dhvani. (1957)

A Critical Survey of the Ancient Indian Theatre Accordance with the Bharata Natyasastha and its Commentators
by Subba Rao
Construction of ancient Indian theatre, as propounded in Bharata's Natyashastra is interpreted in an objective manner by comparing the theoretical with the practical aspects. (1953)

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)



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

Moving Beyond Pain: Review of Vasudha Thozur’s Diaries, Projects, Pedagogy
by Meera Menezes
Conceptualised as “montaged text and image documents”, the book provides insights into Thozhur’s painterly concerns and thought processes.

Review of 20th Century Indian Art (2022)
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The book traces almost 150 years of art historical events that informed the evolution of Modern, Post-Independence and Contemporary Art across South Asia.

Review of Incredible Treasures: UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India
by Gautami Raju
The book gives an overview of 38 sites in India, ranging across man-made structures and natural wonders, that have been honoured with a UNESCO heritage tag.

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

Art and Trousers by David Elliott
by Parul Dave Mukherji
On Elliott’s sweeping look on “how contemporary art unfolds in different parts of the world,” through the liet motif of trousers.

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)


CC REFERENCE

Crafting Cultures at Good Earth: An Interview with Anita Lal

Anita Lal, the first Indian to collaborate with Christie’s on their design collection ‘Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds’, talks about the cusp of geography and culture that inspires her work.

Nila House - A Vision in Indigo
by Critical Collective
A generous studio-workshop-gallery space, Nila House is currently host to the Corona Quilt Project installation.

The future of India’s past

An overview of projects undertaken to create and recreate cultural and material heritage in 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)