12 shows to catch
- Lounge picks the exhibitions to look forward to this year. Mark your calendars
‘ARPITA SINGH: A RETROSPECTIVE’ AT KIRAN NADAR MUSEUM OF ART
DELHI, 30 JANUARY–30 JUNE
Whimsical figures float in and out of Arpita Singh’s paintings with flurry and a certain ease, where each occupies a surreal scene. Singh lightly cross-hatches patterns: red and white roses soften into swans or ships; clouds iced in bright pinks give way to darting black aircraft and buoyant armchairs. Hand-printed text spells out obvious themes so that we may look for what is less apparent. In Singh’s work, everyday life collapses with allegory and she ornaments her canvases with a gawky but femme poise—figures and objects are tenderly pressed into the frame. Curated by Roobina Karode, this large-scale retrospective will focus on Singh’s long commitment to painting, her preferred medium.
‘BETWEEN SIGHT AND INSIGHT: GLIMPSES OF BENODE BEHARI MUKHERJEE’ AT VADEHRA ART GALLERY
DELHI, till 22 FEBRUARY
This retrospective takes over both gallery venues with works in tempera, watercolour, crayon, felt tip pen and Chinese ink on paper; etchings, lithographs and paper collages. Curated by R. Siva Kumar, the works on display bear the trace of an artist who casts a bemused eye on his surroundings. This is most true in his collages, defined by a sharp sense of movement. No shape is constant, and each manipulates the other’s presence within the frame. In an ink on paper self-portrait, Self, the artist looks directly at us: alert, poised, with an air of restlessness. The same appears to be true about his work.
‘TO A NEW FORM: KRISHNA REDDY’ AT EXPERIMENTER
KOLKATA, till 31 MARCH
In the 1960s, Krishna Reddy developed a unique process of multicolour viscosity printing while working as a director at Atelier 17, British painter and printmaker Stanley William Hayter’s studio in Paris (frequented by the likes of Constantin Brâncuși and Pablo Picasso). The late artist’s contribution to the medium was simple: he wanted to print several colours at once. In 1988, after over two decades with the medium, he published Intaglio Simultaneous Color Printmaking with the University of New York Press, in which he declared, “Printmaking…is a language—a language of forms, of lines, textures and reliefs." To A New Form shows evidence of just this. With a display of zinc and copper plates and paper prints, as well as Reddy’s figure study drawings and installations, we are given an insight into the workings of a mind preoccupied by form and colour.
‘VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM (THE WORLD IS ONE FAMILY)’ AT KOLKATA CENTRE FOR CREATIVITY
KOLKATA, till 24 MARCH
The curatorial concept here, devised by architect-designer Pinakin Patel, looks to draw parallels between human, animal, mineral and plant. Camille Henrot’s spindly animal/human hybrid bodies in an untitled watercolour stand rickety over sharp objects, while in Dia Mehhta Bhupal’s carefully constructed GYM (2018), a handmade paper-roll set sits austere and poker-faced in her expertly-lit staged photograph. Iftikhar Dadi and Elizabeth Dadi’s tiny plastic objects from the Tilism (2018) series are lent a brilliant sheen by the hyperreal and almost psychedelic colours. The show is primarily the juxtaposition of a collection full of impressive names (Joan Miró, Camille Henrot, Manisha Parekh, Rana Begum and others), where artworks are placed together to tease out a curatorial premise.
‘SOHRAB HURA, THE LOST HEAD & THE BIRD’ (ACTS 1 TO 12) AT THE VIDEONALE, KUNSTMUSEUM BONN, BONN
21 FEBRUARY–24 APRIL
Madhu kept forgetting that she did not have a head…" informs the narrator of photographer Sohrab Hura’s 12-part sound, film and photo work, The Lost Head & The Bird (2016–to date). As the film’s many acts progress, we see an image of a woman wearing a tight red dress and carrying a man’s head under her arm. Madhu, the main character, triumphantly brandishes the remains of her obsessive lover. Hura has shown the work in different iterations since 2016, but for the 17th edition of the video and arts festival Videonale, all 12 acts will be shown together as a 119-minute sequence. The work collages photo and moving material with found WhatsApp footage, set to a catchy soundtrack.
‘SPECTRAL TIMES’ SARNATH BANERJEE AT THE BHAU DAJI LAD MUSEUM
MUMBAI, 23 FEB–14 MAY
As described by the show’s curator, Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Banerjee’s forthcoming solo at the Bhau Daji Lad City Museum in Mumbai “is where the Dickensian meets Night At The Museum". Using sound and illustrated scenes from graphic novels, Banerjee will animate the rooms of the museum and bring them to life. Having first studied biochemistry, Banerjee moved on to image making, and from Kolkata to Berlin. He has published several graphic novels since the early 2000s, such as Corridor (2004) and Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers (2007), and is now interested in the potential of sound. He is drawn to the sounds of old radio, which he believes have both visuals as well as texture. The show hopes to collapse the formal boundaries between Banerjee’s chosen media: sound and graphics, which will operate in tandem
ABUL HISHAM AT GALLERIE MIRCHANDANI STEINBRUCKE
MUMBAI, 14 MARCH–8 MAY
In Abul Hisham’s Complaining Man II (2018), a peacock rolls open its eye-studded feathers over the scene. A snooping body leans over the bird, gazing imploringly at a man seated on a mat, one hand up in prayer; dark stones dancing over his face. Hisham’s attentiveness to colour is striking as it animates his tangled-up narratives. His scenes are complex tableaux: we have narratives clear to a postcolonial heritage that are critical of caste, and tinged by the ghostly presence of the otherworldly.
SALMAN TOOR AT NATURE MORTE
NEW DELHI, FALL 2019
Pakistan-born, New York-based Salman Toor’s cosy oil-on-canvases are full of a soft queer intimacy that makes us want to step inside of the frame somehow, and join the wobbly figures that articulate their friendships over dinner tables and backyard picnics. The people that inhabit Toor’s canvases lean into each other in a slippery way: there’s a sense that we are privy to secret, lovesick scenes. In 9PM, The News (2015), which was recently acquired by the Tate Modern, wriggling explosives lurch out of a TV screen on to a slim figure perched on a high stool. This will be Toor’s first showing in the country.
SHEELA GOWDA AT PIRELLI HANGARBICOCCA
MILAN, 4 APRIL–15 SEPTEMBER
Conceptual artist Gowda uses hair, cow dung, organic detritus, jute, thread and natural pigment to create large-scale installations. First trained as a painter, Gowda instead began making large conceptual work that engulfs the space which holds it. She often zeroes in on industrialization and the femme experience: both of which require the stripping back of narrative functions. She lays out cowpats in toppling piles, or strings human hair and wool across wooden frames. In a retrospective show that will feature new work, curators Nuria Enguita and Lucia Aspesi bring together watercolours and prints alongside the larger site-specific installations.
‘GIANTS AND DWARFS’ CAMP AT DE APPEL
AMSTERDAM, 16 MARCH
For nearly a decade now, the film and multimedia collective CAMP has been working with the ubiquitous CCTV surveillance camera, testing out its functions not only as political object but also as a formal tool for narrative telling. The CCTV camera is poised high up on a building for vantage, to chronicle the past, present and possible future lives of the neighbourhood in which the camera is set. It is always a deeply localized history, one that sees its host city for its layers. For this particular show at De Appel, CAMP will present a new three-channel installation Giants And Dwarfs (2019), filmed on location from high-definition CCTV cameras in Amsterdam.
RANA BEGUM AT JHAVERI CONTEMPORARY
MUMBAI, FALL 2019
Rana Begum bends both light and form with ease, often just with a series of quick folds or brush strokes. Just as a painter dapples sunlight over canvas, she cleverly plays with light inside and outside her sculptures. They sit gem-like over the gallery floor. They burst across from us in candy bright colours—the sinewy colours of photochemical derivatives, more natural to us now than nature itself. In small paintings, Begum melts colours of the same spectrum into each other. Colours run and bleed, but always, light seeps in. In a solo show of completely new work, Begum returns to Mumbai later in the year.
‘PHENOMENAL NATURE: MRINALINI MUKHERJEE’ AT THE MET BREUER
NEW YORK, 4 JUNE–29 SEPTEMBER
Mrinalini Mukherjee marries craft techniques to a modernist formalism: creating large, often anthropomorphic, sculptures that unfold like heavy, knitted petals opening to the sun. Born in 1949, Mukherjee studied printmaking, painting and mural making at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. She developed a unique method for knotting and braiding hand-dyed ropes of fibre and hemp. In the first large retrospective of the artist’s work in the US, organized by curator Shanay Jhaveri, this show will bring together her fibre sculptures as well as ceramic and bronze works from later in her career.