Zehra Jumabhoy

  • View of “Human Nature,” 2011.
    picks July 26, 2011

    Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone

    Visiting the grandiose neoclassical building that houses Haunch of Venison is perplexing and terribly satisfying this summer. Director of exhibitions Ben Tufnell has interspersed Richard Long’s solo exhibition “Human Nature” with Giuseppe Penone’s untitled exhibition. Their aesthetic visions fuse seamlessly. At the entrance, Long’s handprints in white clay materialize on black backgrounds in Untitled, 2010. They greet us from their dark settings like disconcerting, primitive symbols. Correspondingly, in Penone’s bronze sculpture Projection, 2000, a giant fingerprint floats between bare branches,

  • Left: Rina Banerjee, Upon civilizing home an absurd and foreign fruit grew ripened, made food for the others, grew snout, tail and appendage like no other, 2010, mixed media, 40 x 30 x 40". Right: Rina Banerjee, Take me, Take me . . . to the Palace of Love (detail), 2003, mixed media, 13 x 13 x 22'.
    interviews June 22, 2011

    Rina Banerjee

    Rina Banerjee’s iridescent sculptural installations––full of silky fabric, feathers, beads, and tiny, tinkling shells––as well as fragile drawings of birds, beasts, and floating demigods, are about journeys, real and imagined. Her offerings weave their way around ancient Asian artifacts in “Chimeras of India and the West,” her latest exhibition, which is on view at the Musée Guimet in Paris until September 26.

    MY MOTHER TOLD ME that my first name is special because it is not typical in India––it is spelled differently. Hence, I was free to be what I wanted, or so I presumed. I was born in Calcutta,

  • Sheela Gowda, Of All People, 2011, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Sheela Gowda

    Stepping into Bangalore-based Sheela Gowda’s first solo show in London, “Therein & Besides,” organized by Iniva’s senior curator, Grant Watson, one had to abandon the pose of the casual bystander. Two installations—Of All People, 2011, and Collateral, 2007/2011—occupied the ground and second floors, respectively. Of All People is architectural bedlam in the prettiest of hues: Cream pillars stand around aimlessly; pale pink windows are placed on walls so that they reveal no outside; cracked turquoise doors hinder rather than facilitate movement; the display is littered with wooden chips

  • Atul Dodiya, Devi and the Sink, 2004, enamel, varnish, acrylic epoxy on laminate, 72 x 48”. From the series “Saptapadi: Scenes from Marriage (Regardless),” 2004–2006.

    “Paris–Delhi–Bombay . . .”

    Accompanied by yet another massive catalogue, here is yet another overview of contemporary Indian art—this time with a French flavor.

    Accompanied by yet another massive catalogue, here is yet another overview of contemporary Indian art—this time with a French flavor. Museum president Alain Seban endeavors to propel Indian art into “dialogue with the contemporary scene in France.” The resulting exhibition of nearly eighty works—two-thirds of which were created specially for the occasion—embraces photography, video, installation, and painting from forty-eight Indian and French artists. Orlan, Sophie Calle, and Camille Henrot comment on “new India,” while Jitish Kallat’s

  • Zarina Hashmi, Untitled I, 2009, paper, gold leaf, 16 1/2 x 13".

    Zarina Hashmi

    What do you do when home is somewhere you will never be? You could bemoan your exile with hilariously depressing fiction à la Salman Rushdie. You could fashion crystal-studded paintings of hybrid beasts (neither fish nor fowl, but always glittering) in the vein of British-Kashmiri Raqib Shaw. Or you could aim for subtlety, as New York–based Zarina Hashmi did in “Recent Works,” her recent solo show of paper works and fragile installations. For all their pretty serenity—paper has been sliced and woven to resemble a cream-hued chatai (mat), or coated with black obsidian to imitate a shimmery

  • Left: Artists Anish Kapoor and Mithu Sen. Right: Homi K. Bhabha. (Except where noted, all photos: Aqdas Tatli)
    diary January 27, 2011

    Summit Kind of Wonderful

    ENCOUNTERING THE SWANKY CROWD gathered at the red-carpeted VIP entrance last Thursday at Pragati Maidan, I guessed that this year’s India Art Summit was going to be an intimidating event. I was wrong. In fact, the building’s severe Soviet-style architecture formed a counterpoint to the hedonist revelry within. Alcohol flowed freely (quite literally: Cocktails were on the house), and celebrities appeared high on art—or each other. Theorist Homi K. Bhabha paraded around with his pal Anish Kapoor, who rubbed sharp-suited shoulders with superstar Indian artists: Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Vivan

  • Ranbir Kaleka, Cul-De-Sac in Taxila, 2010, still from a single-channel HD video projection on a painted canvas, 3 minutes 55 seconds.
    picks January 14, 2011

    Ranbir Kaleka

    Delhi-based Ranbir Kaleka’s first solo show in Mumbai includes a number of bewitching installations, from older video pieces, like the grainily poetic Man with Cockerel, 2001–2002, to newer ones, such as Cul-De-Sac in Taxila, 2010, in which a white horse magically appears when a man waves a hammer. The whimsicality of the exhibition, “Sweet Unease,” draws upon Kaleka’s childhood in a village in Patiala, Punjab. The recalcitrant rooster seen in Man with Cockerel was inspired by the macho beasts Kaleka witnessed in rural cockfights. In the video, a man holds a struggling cockerel in his arms while

  • Max Streicher, Ashwamedh, 2010, nylon, lights, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks January 10, 2011

    Max Streicher

    In Ashwamedh, 2010, an installation by Canadian artist Max Streicher, two ice-white inflatable horses jostle for space. Floating just below the ceiling, they hover as if apparitions from a Nordic fairy tale, emerging from whorls of mist and snow. The horses’ translucent nylon hides are bathed in a warm incandescent light so that they glow like fragile paper lanterns that have unaccountably turned frightening: The air currents drifting through the gallery animate the humongous creatures, making them seem to kick and plunge.

    Ashwa means “horse” and medh means “white” in Sanskrit; visitors may

  • Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, 2010, porcelain, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks December 19, 2010

    Ai Weiwei

    “Why?” a girl asked petulantly at Tate Modern, when she was prevented from walking across Ai Weiwei’s vast offering of tiny things: Sunflower Seeds, 2010, an installation comprising one hundred million handcrafted porcelain sunflower-seed husks carpeting the Turbine Hall. Though the installation has been cordoned off for “health and safety” reasons, visitors can still see the gray-black husks from up close––across a barrier.

    Ai is no stranger to brushes with authority and bureaucratic control. He was arrested in Beijing in early April as part of the Chinese government’s crackdown on intellectual

  • Simryn Gill

    In the lemon-colored twilight of a muggy, monsoon-season evening, Simryn Gill’s exhibition “Letters Home” gave rise to unsettling fancies. Mine, 2008, seemed to stir eerily. As the light danced between the work’s misshapen spheres (concocted from banana skins, mangled copper wire, electric cables, and twisted hair bands, among other scrunched-up oddments), they resembled a swirling constellation of dark suns. In the Singapore-born artist’s world, debris is laden with significance. Rampant, 1999, comprises seven black-and-white photographs, in which camphor, laurel, and bamboo plants are dressed

  • Nikhil Chopra, Memory Drawing X, 2010. Performance view.
    picks November 28, 2010

    Nikhil Chopra, Manish Nai, Simryn Gill

    There’s magic in the everyday, theorist Michel de Certeau claimed. Sometimes it’s easy to believe him. Like when a man, attired in the sky-blue shirt and cream plus fours of a Victorian flaneur, silently made his way along the sweaty, crowded streets of Mumbai, pausing at scenic spots (a bridge during a smoky sunset, a park encircled by colonial-era architecture) to give passersby the impression that they had stepped into a “picturesque” nineteenth-century postcard. This was performance artist Nikhil Chopra’s Memory Drawing X—his forty-eight-hour journey across the city in January.

    By contrast,

  • Manish Nai, Untitled, 2010, gouache, 57 x 82”.
    picks September 01, 2010

    Manish Nai

    In his latest exhibition, titled “Extramural,” Mumbai-based artist Manish Nai indulges his taste for grubby surfaces. This show recalls his previous productions, particularly his jute and canvas “paintings,” which in past presentations have hung on the walls like threadbare rush mats. Here, navy and beige square blocks comprising jute thread rank as newcomers to his oeuvre. So, too, there are new silvery works on paper that resemble pockmarked tinfoil––and a gritty site-specific mural. Perhaps to emphasize the curious materials used in their manufacture, all these offerings are called Untitled