Lalit Kala Akademi is hosting an important fortnight-long exhibition of Indian contemporary art at its Ferozeshah Road premises here, examining the process of archiving and collecting.
Titled “Against All Odds: A Contemporary Response to the Historiography of Archiving Collecting and Museums in India”, the exhibition emphasises the fact that the relationship between the artist and the museum has always been a special one.
For the group exhibition, two-dozen artists including Vivan Sundaram, Bose Krishnamachari, Mithu Sen, Subodh Gupta, Surekha, Dayanita Singh, Pushpamala N. and Sudarshan Shetty have been invited to critique, imagine, construct their own museums, articulate the history of collecting or draw on their own collections to reflect on issues of identity, history and memory from a personal or social standpoint.
“We are involving young curators. We recently involved curator Johnny ML for an exhibition and have now roped in curator Arshiya Lokhandwala, who has come with the largest titles of exhibition we have ever had. For a number of years I have been visiting her gallery in Mumbai and have been impressed with the fact that she has been showcasing the works of young emerging artists. She is someone who has eyes on the ground. We are excited about the new venture that gives a certain degree of relevance to art,” said Akademi chairman Ashok Vajpeyi. Arshiya said the worrying fact was that there is no reference point for artists. So in this exhibition we are questioning lack of institutions or public spaces. The exhibition is a repository of critical responses, questions and dialogues that highlight the dynamic relationship between the artist and the museum and the production and collection of knowledge.
Later, examining a work by Sudarshan Shetty, Arshiya said the “Gateway” is a critique on our institutions. “While the framework on the entrance is enticing, the sword dangling at the centre is intimidating. So there is a lurking danger in our institutions.”
Vivan Sundaram said it was a unique moment for him to be a part of the exhibition. “The participating artists are engaged in different interpretation to art that is different from run-of-the-mill thing.”
Bose said his exhibit – bookshelves with books and DVDs on art, architecture and design – is also a critique on institutions. “It points out the fact that there is dearth of libraries in our country.”