An Art Review
Photography and Text: Vladimir Zaitsev and Vadehra Art Gallery
Reaching its crescendo during the days of the India Art fair, Delhi’s artistic community seemed to have made a pause with quiet and insignificant days passing by until the time when the Vadehra Art Gallery, at their warm Defence Colony’s art hub, made its debut in the last winter season unveiling the series of events. One of the first was an exhibition Aarambh@93, which featured some recent works by veteran artist S.H.Raza who came up with his favorite repertoire of colourful and complex designs influenced by Hindu and Buddhist cosmogony.
On 23rd February, the Gallery hosted a book release on the art of Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde’s “Painting as a Process, Painting as Life” by Sadhini Poddar. During the launch, eminent artist and friend of Gaitonde – Ram Kumar shared touching moments from the old days, reading out a letter.
The book made for the artist’s retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York which presented the first museum exhibition dedicated to the work of V. S. Gaitonde (1924–2001). As a New York Times’s critic described:
“An Indian modernist who looked westward, eastward, homeward and inward to create an intensely personalised version of trans culturalism, one that has given him mythic stature in his own country and pushed him to the top of the auction charts.”
The retrospective comprised forty-five major paintings and works on paper drawn from thirty leading public institutions and private collections across Asia, Europe, and the United States, forming the most comprehensive overview of Gaitonde’s work to date.
According to the curator of exhibition, “Gaitonde’s work presents an unparalleled opportunity to explore the context of Indian modern art as it played out in the metropolitan centers of Bombay and New Delhi from the late 1940s through the end of the 20th century. Featuring many works that have never been seen by the public, the exhibition will reveal Gaitonde’s extraordinary use of colour, line, form, and texture, as well as symbolic elements and calligraphy, in works that seem to glow with an inner light.”
Excavation/Eruption was another exhibition hosted at the Vadehra Gallery and was curated by the leading art critic Yashodhara Dalmia.
The symbolical language of Excavations is elaborated by the show’s curator. As she pointed it out, “In the excavations of the past there was an unearthing of discoveries, which added to the existing knowledge of humanity and civilisations. In the great Mesopotamian arc or the Indus valley, the archaeologists of earlier times looked at the smallest terracotta figurine or the tiniest coin to discover vast tracts of life as it was lived and as it died. The cradle of civilisation in Mesopotamia can now only be considered a never ending vortex of destruction in modern day Iraq. In the present an excavation usually reveals the recovery of a lost body or an explosive device, which can cause further violence and death. The whole process of excavation has on one hand led to knowledge and expansion, on the other to mass violence.
The subterranean theme of this exhibition engaged 16 artists who use diverse methods from site-specific works to digital assemblages and paintings to reveal the state of modern Eruption.
BIO: Vladimir Zaitsev is a curator, author and museologist affiliated with the National Museum, New Delhi.
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