RECENT


NOTICEBOARD

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.

23 Jun 2020

The Utopia/Dystopia of Prabhakar Pachpute
by Nadia Nooreyezdan
In conversation with the artist about his evolving trajectory of work and plans for the future.

23 Jun 2020

Notes on Covid-19 | Part II
by Various
Indian gallerists reflect on exhibition-making and the potential of digital platforms in the times of a global lockdown.

18 May 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.

18 May 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.

18 May 2020

Bringing together Devi Prasad, Vasudeo Smart and Haku Shah
by Sandhya Bordewekar
An exhibition at the bi-annual Tapi festival presented the works of three artists committed to the indigenous craft traditions of India.

18 May 2020

Books Received | May 2020

A compilation of short book reviews.

18 May 2020

Notes on Covid-19
by Critical Collective
CC examines the effect of the ongoing global crisis on visual culture and the institutions and infrastructures of art.

14 Apr 2020


art history


CINEMA

“Only the wicked girls are interesting…”- The “Homewreckers” of Bombay Cinema
by Silpa Mukherjee
On the figuration of the wayward woman in a post-Emergency cinematic landscape of desire. (2020)

Har Kisse Ke Hisse: Kaamyaab
by Ketaki Varma
Hardik Mehta's feature debut is a nostalgic tribute to the character actor in Hindi cinema. (2020)

No Hope for a Villain!
by Pran
The actor on the perils of being typecast in negative roles in an industry that tended to blur the distinctions between reel and real life. (1952)

Tragedy of a Comic
by Om Prakash
The actor bemoans the burden of geniality on the screen comedian. (1953).

"I have tasted the bitter-sweet cup of film life from every angle, and, believe me, every sip varies in taste" - Mazhar Khan

An autobiographical note by the actor reflects the shifting nature of the industry. (1942)

DAVID: Lovable Wise Gnome of Filmdom

A profile of the Jewish-Indian actor who, in career spanning four decades, appeared in classics of Hindi cinema including Naya Sansar (1941), Boot Polish (1954), and Gol Maal (1979). (1953)

The Informality at the Heart of Bollywood
by Tejaswini Ganti
Efforts to assist daily wage workers during the Covid-19 shutdown lay bare the industry's decentralized and fragmented structure. (2020)

The ‘Kerala Model’ against Fear and Contagion
by Sebastian Thejus Cherian
A look at the evolution of a “realistic” imagination in the portrayal of epidemic outbreaks in Malayalam Cinema. (2020)


Lens Based Practices

Photo Synthesis: The Expatriate Family Album as Historiography
by Kamayani Sharma
"Family snapshots are examples of the way in which the material traces of intimate lives behave as sites of collective remembrance and archives of shared history" (2017)

Jyoti Bhatt: Portraits, Archer Gallery Ahmedabad
by Uma Nair
Artist Jyoti Bhatt’s parallel photographic practice reveals an abiding interest in portraiture, writes Uma Nair. (2020)

Architecture as Metaphor
by Mila Samdub
A recent photography exhibition in the capital cast a critical look at the legacy of modernist architecture. (2020)

The Camaraderie Between the Military and the Photographer
by Rishi Kochhar
An account of Bombay Studio in Akhnoor, Jammu. (2017)

Notes on Lens-Based Media, Practice and Pedagogy
by Ketaki Varma
A report on a two-day Photography/Education Symposium held in New Delhi. (2020)

Looking at How Women (Photographers) Work: A Review
by Suryanandini Narain
Engaging the vast, uncharted history of women’s lens-based practices. (2019)

Narrative of a Photographic Trip to Cashmere and Adjacent Districts
by Samuel Bourne
Excerpt from the photographer's commentary on his trip to Kashmir. (1866)

Emerging from the Shadows
by Sudipto Basu
On the familial Camera Obscura in Naeem Mohaiemen’s dui. (2019)


CC ARCHIVES

The Religion of an Artist
by Rabindranath Tagore
In this essay, Rabindranath Tagore reflects on the role of the poet and the artist in explicating the ultimate reality through their works. (1936)

A Fragile Inheritance: Radical Stakes in Contemporary Indian Art
by Saloni Mathur
A link to the e-book, out now.

Invisible Natures - Art and Covid-19
by Ravi Agarwal
The artist and environmentalist contemplates the imbrication of both the novel coronavirus and contemporary art in capitalistic structures. (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 Letter to Judy Watson
by Rekha Rodwittiya
"The setting apart of myself to pronounce my individual self was a water-shed moment in my journey as a painter." (1995)

Gandhi Sangrahalayas
by Kshitis Roy
On Mahatma Gandhi memorial projects and the ideals governing his legacy. (1966)

Reminiscences of Taikan
by Abanindranath Tagore, translated by Kshitis Roy
"Taikan initiated me in the technique of line drawing with a Japanese brush... I used to tell him all about the technique of the Moghul school of painting." (1958)

Art Appreciation for India
by Charles Fabri
“The most basic requirement, then, of art appreciation is the awakening of the observant eye to see differences in style.” (1967)

MUSEUMS

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)

Demystifying Black Magic

"The museum serves as an important institution to legitimise the overlap of magic, ritualistic traditions and healing practices that form the core of Mayong's cultural history."- Kaustuv Saikia (2020)

Goa Chitra Museum: Preserving an Endangered Way of Life

Supriya Vohra examines a triad of museums preserving Goa's social and cultural history through a collection of everyday objects. (2020)

On Museology: VS Agrawala

"The highest ideal of a modern museum should be that of a cultural centre" - V.S. Agrawala (1966)

Prof. Ratan Parimoo: “Just by engaging with museum objects, one can learn a lot about Indian history.”

Director of the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in Ahmedabad speaks to Sama Haq about the history and collection of the museum. (2019)

On Museology: Mulk Raj Anand

"The essence... lies not in the erection of more ill-conceived mausoleums, but rather in reproducing the life-giving qualities, inspirations and impulses of the (Museum) objects." (1966)


Curators and Exhibitions

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)

Incubating Practice: Five Million Incidents
by Amrita Chakravarty
A year-long series of art projects at the Max Mueller Bhavan poses questions about the programming of art. (2019)

Back to the Future
by Amrita Chakravarty
An exhibition at the Shrine Empire Gallery engaged the idea of utopia in art practice.

“No Laughing Matter”: The Politics of Satire
by Ketaki Varma
Ketaki Varma reviews Common Course, an exhibition on political cartooning, curated by Roobina Karode.

Berlin Diary
by Gayatri Sinha
Bani Abidi at the Museum Gropius Bau, Renaissance and Benin figures in proximity at the Bode, and Lotte Laserstein-viewings in Berlin in early summer by Gayatri Sinha.

Portraits
by Premjish Achari
Premjish writes about contemporary portraiture and its shifting political nature seen through the exhibition Outside/In at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi

Breathless in Venice
by Virginia Whiles
A view of the Venice biennale by Virginia Whiles


artists

Vivan Sundaram
by Akansha Rastogi
The author writes on the artistic legacy of Vivan Sundaram and on the pivotal role he played in consolidating the art fraternity, infrastructure and development of the arts in India. (2010)

A. Ramachandran
by Ella Datta
"Both as a painter and a sculptor, Ramachandran has established a new idiom in which man and nature share a symbiotic relationship that is unshakable and unbroken.” (2010)

“We do not want to create a monument of their misery” - Chandan Gomes
by Amrita Chakravarty
The photographer on his latest collaborative project, “A Good Riot”, and using Instagram as a site of documentation, activism and art. (2020)

Zarina: A Tribute
by Various
Nada Raza, Devika Singh, and Gayatri Sinha pay tribute to artist Zarina’s life and art. (2020)

The Tranquil Turbulence of Bhupen Khakhar
by Sudhir Chandra
In an essay on one of Khakhar's final solo exhibitions, Chandra unpacks the binaries present in the artist's work. (2003)

Tying and Untying Knots
by Nadia Nooreyezdan
Anju Dodiya’s ‘Breathing on Mirrors’ offers brief glimpses at the emotional theatre of the mind. (2020)

V Ramesh
by Gayatri Sinha
"Ramesh moves away from the comforts and seductions of myths, its rich painterly and narrative possibilities" - on the exhibition Painted Hyms. (2007)

A Droplet of Water for a Step-well
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The writer reviews Rta, Vishal K. Dar's site specific installation at Ambapur, Gujarat. (2020)


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

“Humans are part of the same complex as the coronavirus”
by Gayatri Sinha
Sheba Chhachhi speaks to Gayatri Sinha on the idea of contamination in art. (2020)

"We are now discovering how limited and small our lives can be"
by Critical Collective
Mithu Sen speaks to CC’s Gayatri Sinha and Amrita Chakravarty. (2020)

IAF Lecture | Collective Learnings: Alternative Exhibitions in South Asia

Amar Kanwar in conversation with NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati. (2020)

Do revelations dethrone secrets?
by Michelangelo Corsaro
Curator Michelangelo Corsaro speaks to artist Pallavi Paul about her engagement with non-fiction and its intersection with other practices like technology, law and cinema

Facing India
by Uta Ruhkamp
An interview with Reena Saini Kallat against the backdrop of her recent exhibition in Germany. (2017)

Talking to Padamsee
by Eunice de Souza
Regarded as a "theorist of painting," Akbar Padamsee discusses his practice as the cyclical movement between order and chaos. (1972)

Shreyas Karle - Interview
by Alessandra Ferrini
Shreyas Karle talks about his practice, research and pedagogical learning. (2013)

Artful Challenging: Orijit Sen in Conversation with Ita Mehrotra

"In some ways I'm working as a cartoonist, a satirist, more than a graphic novelist. I'm always treading a line, it's hard to say if I've crossed a line." Ita Mehrotra speaks to Orijit Sen.


ON GENDER

Feminine Identity and National Ethos in Indian Calendar Art
by Patricia Uberoi
The author examines the representation of women in Indian popular art. (1990)

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography
by Katyayani Sinha
A landmark exhibition at the Barbican attempts an expansive survey of a much-contested terrain. (2020)

Women Artists at the KNMA
by Amrita Chakravarty
A recent group of exhibitions explored an alternative tradition of abstract art in South Asia, as practiced by women. (2020)

Eunuchs in Mughal Household and Court
by Shadab Bano
A critique on the political hierarchies of the eunuchs serving the Mughal Emperors. (2008)

The Pavayas or Hijdas

A selection from the Gazetter of the Bombay Presidency. The essay documents social rituals and customs of the Pavayas, a community of eunuchs, in Gujarat. (1901)

A Year of Me Too in India: A Report
by Critical Collective
A recent meeting held in the capital took stock of developments and planned the way forward in the fight for gender justice. (2019)

Sex, lies and the Genderscape: The cinema of Aparna Sen
by Brinda Bose
On the significance of feminist explorations in Aparna Sen's auteurship (1997)


AESTHETICS THEORY

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)

Natya Dharmi and Lok Dharmi
by V. Raghavan
On the concept of 'dharmi' in Bharata's Natya Sastra. (1933)

Transcendence for the Siri-ocene
by 64/1
The authors outline a philosophy to recuperate Art for the future.

The Aesthetic Concept of Rasa
by K S Ramaswamy Shastri
The writer provides an account of the rasa theory of aesthetic emotion. (1928)

The Three Forms of Art
by Abanindranath Tagore
Abanindranath Tagore contrasts the arid naturalism of modern European art with the spiritualistic bent of ancient Greek, Japanese and Indian art. (1907)

Treatment of Riti and Guna in the Dhvanyaloka
by Prakas Chandra Lahiri
The essay presents the critical interventions of the Dhvani theorists with respect to concepts of riti and guna in rasa theory. (1935)


CURATING SOUTH ASIA

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)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Adrian Lahoud
by Gayatri Sinha
The curator of the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial on initiating a critical dialogue from "south to south." (2019)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Marina Tabassum
by Gayatri Sinha
Tabassum on her latest presentation, "Inheriting Wetness", at the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial. (2019)

"in the absence of writing”: Oral Traditions and Historical Memory
by Najrin Islam
On the role of oral histories and embodied knowledge as chronicled by Astha Butail during her year-long journey across India, Iran and Jerusalem through sonic interpretations.

WHERE THERE's a WILL...
by Virginia Whiles
The Lahore Biennale 01: Shehr-O-Funn reviewed by Virginia Whiles.