Connecting Expats In Delhi
SUBURBAN SHUTTERBUG: FEBRUARY 11
Titled Suburbia, this compendium of current photography will be the first issue of PIX, a quarterly publication dedicated to investigating and engaging with contemporary photographic practice in India. A theme-based publication, the first issue revolves around the concept of the suburb, whether that is a social subculture, and actual location, or just a mind space that relates. The aim of this magazine is to encourage participants to question the idea of subjectivity, rather than merely appreciating it.
The photographers featured in this magazine come from many diverse fields, such as game programming, professional photography, documentary making, and even amateurs with an inclination for the abstract. The artists selected are working in India, and include both previously published photographers, as well as new faces.
The images associated with the theme of this issue include people, journeys, passages and relocations, landscapes, processions, and even architecture. The idea is that a metropolis invariably generates hybrid places and subcultures within its own macro context, which are then fodder for socially minded artists; an empty lot blossoming into an ad-hoc slum, for example, or the way that three wheelers these days are decorated with very generic, yet surprisingly personalised imagery.
PIX defines itself as “opening new vistas in iconology and the emergent field of visual culture”. Viewing the city itself as a living being, for example. The magazine is edited by Rahaab Allana, Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, and Governing Committee Member of the Alliance Francaise in Delhi.
MAX MUELLER BHAVAN/ GOETHE INSTITUT 3, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Ph: 23329506
AN AFTERNOON IN THE SUN: FEBRUARY 13
Impressario Asia has organised a dramatised reading of Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s letters to his wife Alys, on the occasion of his birth centenary. Mr. K. Kohli whose brainchild this is says, “Faiz was a romantic revolutionary. He was the only progressive who was fighting not only for freedom but also other human rights issues.” The letters were written when he was imprisoned for five years in the famous Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. The Pakistani government had accused him and others of plotting against the establishment. Faiz and his British wife, both of who worked for the Pakistan Times, wrote letters to each other because it was not easy to meet. The letters convey the humdrum details of their everyday domestic lives as well as a commentary on the volatile political scenario of 50’s Pakistan.
The event itself will be a casual outdoor performance by Salima Reza and Danish Iqbal. Mr. Kohli says of them, “I didn’t want actors who would just deliver the lines. I wanted them to understand the ethos. We collaborated and improvised for the most part.”
HABITAT WORLD India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, Ph: 43663333
LAUGH LINES: HUMOUR, WIT & SATIRE: ON TILL FEBRUARY 19
The exhibition sets out to look at the use of humour, wit, satire and irony in contemporary Indian art. The comic strain, though less obvious and ever-present in the visual arts, is prevalent in our folk and tribal art - particularly, the nineteenth century Kalighat paintings which often caricatured the hypocrisy of the westernised middle class.
Many contemporary artists have continued the tradition of comical satire and wit to critique society and political systems. The paintings of KG Subramanyan, Amit Ambalal and Jogen Chowdhury and the late Paritosh Sen and Bhupen Khakhar expose hypocrisy and the foibles and vanities of society. You can see elements of the biting satire and playfulness of the Kalighat artists in the oeuvre of most of these artists.
The exhibition also includes the works of younger artists like Ranbir Kaleka, Atul Dodiya, NS Harsha, Manjunath Kamath, Dhruvi Acharya, Prithpal Ladi, Dilip Ranade, Vivek Vilasini and Ved Gupta. Most of them bring into play incongruous juxtapositions to provoke a humorous reaction. Unforeseen and sudden shifts in perception also induce uneasy laughter in many of the works. And more often than not the humour is subversive. Many of the artists have also drawn on black humour and satire to show the dark side of contemporary life.
GALLERY THRESHOLD F 213 A, Lado Sarai, Ph: 41829181; Timings: 11 am to 7 pm
HORIZONTALS OR VERTICALS: FEBRUARY 12 to 22
Besides aesthetic appeal, Neeraj Gupta’s works exude the deep-seated wisdom of being linked to one another as fellow beings of this world. Spurred on by his concern for his city, he creates mammoth-sized works primarily for installation in public spaces. ‘Works of art in public spaces,’ says Neeraj, ‘are those signs and visions that rise above divisions, partisan passions or abject materialism to some higher vision.’ He chooses the hardest of materials to convey the most succinct of messages in his sculptures. He uses varied blocks of marble or the roots of mature uprooted sheesham trees, left abandoned on the roadsides and city forests of Delhi as his medium.
The large proportions also capitalise on the finer points of the materials to express the core message. The wood sculptures in their polished finesse draw the viewer’s attention to the fine grains of the solid mass, while the marble pieces in their varied formations express the fluidity of rivers, the angularity of man-made monuments, or the icicle drippings in dolomite caves. Such depictions appeal as symbols of a life-giving force within a city’s pulsating nerve centre, or as figures representing the throbbing of the human heart.
EPICENTRE Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon, Ph: 0124-2715000, www.epicentre.co.in