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All eyes set on Frieze

Three galleries tell us what to expect at this prominent New York art fair

Mohan Samant’s ‘Kanyadanam’. Photo: Nature Morte
Mohan Samant’s ‘Kanyadanam’. Photo: Nature Morte

In May, 190 of the world’s best galleries will converge on to Randall’s Island Park in New York, with a gigantic, translucent tent transforming into a hub for cutting-edge contemporary art. And sharing space with some of these global names, at the seventh edition of Frieze New York, will be three galleries from India—Nature Morte, Jhaveri Contemporary and Project 88, each of which has had a long-term engagement with the fair.

An eclectic mix: Nature Morte

For this edition, the Delhi-based gallery features diverse media and genres. Some of the highlights include Subodh Gupta’s 2016 work Lyra, made with aluminium, fabric and resin; Imran Qureshi’s untitled diptych in acrylic on canvas; and L.N. Tallur’s magnificent sculpture, HaloxBody-2 (2017), in bronze, concrete and iron. The booth will also showcase artists at different stages of their careers, ranging from established ones such as Gupta, to mid-career practitioners like Gauri Gill, and emerging names such as Tanya Goel. “I am particularly excited about showing Tanya’s paintings (Semitones On Multiples-2, Aluminium Study, and more) at Frieze, as I think her work will be very well-received by the audience in New York," says gallerist Peter Nagy. “She synthesizes a type of diagrammatic abstract art, with an interest in the process, materials and notational drawings. All these approaches to painting have strong historical foundations in New York itself."

Out of the shadows: Jhaveri Contemporary

Jhaveri Contemporary is participating in the Spotlight section, which focuses on pioneering artists from the 20th century who, for reasons of gender, geography or non-conformity, have been historically overlooked. This year, the gallery is focusing on the practice of Mohan Samant, the Indian Modernist painter, whom cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote describes as a “one-man avant garde" and the “missing link" in the story of modern Indian art. “He revolutionized the picture surface by cutting into the canvas, inserting small objects and working with wire. I would say this is our gallery’s classic approach to showing art that is familiar to insiders, but not necessarily a household name," says Amrita Jhaveri, who co-founded the gallery along with her sister Priya. Three of Samant’s eight works on show—River Crossing, Three Women and Man With A Child In A Chair—are folded cut-paper collages with painting. These are significantly different from his Kanyadanam (1987), which has hand-wrought wire figures attached to the painted canvas to unify the composition. Masked Dance For The Ancestors (1994) has small plastic figures and animals cut into the canvas.

‘HaloxBody-2’ by L.N. Tallur.Photo: Nature Morte

Old and the new: Project 88

This is the gallery’s fifth year at the fair, and it’s a relationship which is ever-evolving. “Frieze is an excellent venue for showcasing international art, and it gives galleries from all over the world an important voice," says Sree Goswami, director, Project 88. And for the 2018 edition, it is presenting works by Hemali Bhuta, Amitesh Shrivastava, Prajakta Potnis, Munem Wasif, Sandeep Mukherjee, Neha Choksi and Rohini Devasher. “The overarching theme of our booth is to look at artists using older analogue technology, equipment and methods to stake out a newer territory between measurement and metaphor," says Goswami. Especially interesting is Potnis’ image series, shot inside a refrigerator, which explores the idea of freezing time. It draws attention to capsuled zones and transit spaces within cities. In addition, you have solarized etchings by Devasher sharing space with gleaming cyanotype prints of dripping seeds by Wasif that highlights the history of his hometown through the evolution of agricultural practices in Bangladesh.

Frieze New York 2018 is open to the public from 4-6 May. The preview is from 2-3 May.

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