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Boom time for contemporary Indian Art

Filmhaus. Friedrichstr. 23a. Stuttgart. 14. - 29. Juli 2005

Participating Artists:
Athin Basak, Kanchan Chander, Sudip Chatterjee, Chandan Debnath, Pradip Ghose, Ramendra Nath Kastha, Ashoke Mullick, Krishnendu Porel, Prasanta Seal und Pamela Singh.

Nobody is surprised of the prolific presence of Asian artists in Western world biennials, museums and galleries. Asian artists are “chic”. Though, instead of Asian, one should rather say Chinese, Japanese and Korean. In fact, if any attention has been paid to Indian – or South Asian - artists in the last years, it has only been marginal.

Recently, however, the art market has started to set its eyes on the subcontinent. In 2004 and in the first half of 2005, contemporary Indian art reached once again record prices and sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions. About ten galleries in New York, London and Singapore – added to the hundreds of galleries sprung in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata - are now dealing regularly and exclusively with Indian art. Major museums, such as the Tate Gallery, are starting to include Indian artists in their exhibitions and collections. The Venice Biennale has, for the first time in its 110 years of existence, dedicated a pavilion to India. In Germany, however, not much attention has been paid to this trend.

This exhibition, enframed in the ‘Bollywood and Beyond’ Film festival, offers its visitors a selection of works by ten young Indian artists: some of them, like Pamela Singh, already established in India - and even in Europe- along with others who are now making their way into the circuit. From ten different perspectives and displaying various disciplines, this exhibition aims to give an insight – inevitably incomplete, however - into the overwhelming artistic production and complex reality of the culturally most diverse country in the world. An insight, that besides the new media works produced by a still minority of artists, focuses on the most representative disciplines of the emerging contemporary Indian art scene: painting, etching, and to a lesser extend, photography.

As the title suggests, the exhibition gathers impressions - impressions by ten artists who live and work in India, and share their lives with hundreds of millions of people stemming from diverse ethnical, religious, social and political backgrounds. Scenes of the metropoles Delhi and Kolkata share space with visions of the green jungles and villages in their outskirts. Critical representations of middle-class cafés and crowded streets by Chandan Debnath appear together with evoking representations of animals, plants and mythological creatures in Ashoke Mullick and Kanchan Chander works. An heterogeneous show, that - as the festival itself, where bright and colourful Bollywood productions are screened alongside socially involved documentaries- aims to reflect a small part of the infinite mosaic called India.

Text: Raúl Martínez Fernández

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