Apparao Galleries’ upcoming show is a curious take on space and architecture

Sharan Apparao is caught in a web of things. Usually that’s where every gallerist finds herself or himself before a show takes off, but it’s slightly more intensive in this case. Not a white cube, Sharan’s gallery is the entire Aman hotel soon to be rechristened The Lodhi. The luxury hotel is what her space is going to be for her upcoming show ‘Form/space/ transform... the language of space’ dealing with an artist’s relationship with architectural space. The show begins January 30 and continue through the course of the annual India Art Fair that kicks off in February.

Satyan Maitra Boka, the curator, uses the area of phone booth, reception, bar, restaurants — basically, every inch of space available to them — judiciously.

Sumedh Rajendran’s cow sans a head stands in the lobby, his shirt rendered in white bathroom tiles hanging in the garden area. Sharan excitedly talks about Sanchayan Ghosh’s sculptural installation, a thermometer to be installed at the hotel’s Cigar Lounge. “It’s made of glass and is sensitised to the movement of people.

It will be connected to India Art Fair through a remote control and, depending on the density of the crowd there, its temperature will go up and down.”

There are videos by Hemant Sreekumar, Mithu Sen, Gigi Scaria, Paribartana Mohanty, and two Bangladeshi artists Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi.

Anup Matthew Thomas has done a series on Christian priests photographed against the background of their churches. Sharan informs us that it is again to do with the space and relationships that these people have with these structures.

Of this alternative gallery in Aman that Sharan created 16 months ago, she says, “I am very unconventional, and that is what my philosophy is. It is complicated to use a hotel space to display art but that is what makes it challenging and dynamic. A lot of people get back saying that they don’t like this or that. I was dying for a space like this that allows you to see gigantic pieces for a longer period of time. Where are such platforms where you can see art permanently displayed? It works really well for me.”

Yet another element to it is the Apparao pop-up gallery focusing on small-format works, which will all be located on the ground floor level of hotel. These include monochromatic works, photographs from Ketaki Seth, Ram Rahman and Abul Kalam Azad, and drawings and sketches of stalwarts like S.H. Raza, Nasreen Mohammeddi, Sudhir Patwardhan, Zarina Hashmi and F.N. Souza. The sculpture section will feature tabletop-size works from many young artists.

Between the two of them…

At this year’s edition of India Art Fair, Apparao Galleries will have two booths. While one booth will have a solo of architect and artist Gautam Bhatia displaying his series of satirical sculptures on politics and Indian politicians, the other booth will feature the works of George K., N. Ramachandran, Smriti Dixit, M. Siva and Uma Shanker Pathak. George’ s installation is a subtle take on corruption and seduction for materialism, which leads one to the path of corruption.

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Union of artist and artisanSeptember 27, 2012