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Bose Krishnamachari’s monumental archival project revisited
In celebration of his two-decade-long fulfilling art career, Mumbai based Gallery BMB unveils Bose Krishnamachari’s LaVA (Laboratory of Visual Arts).

Conceived as a contemporary-temporary laboratory project for the common art lovers as well as connoisseurs, it’s an intriguing installation that consists of a wide collection of contemporary art practices culled from worldwide museums, institutions, galleries, shops and streets from major art capitals.

The traveling work by the dynamic and innovative art practitioner is an artistic intervention, which challenges existing institutions and their apparently outmoded pedagogy. The project reflects his interest in a gamut of art related activities like design, architecture etc. It offers something more than a mere functional space for the avid visual-reader; it represents the whole dynamics of information-gathering process. The Library incorporates DVDs, CDs and books encompassing different visual art practices, cultural studies and philosophy, driven by behavioral reactions of the audiences at various levels, and the presence of the artist’s clear intent.

According to him, the idea is to make available, within his limitations, what he missed during his student years. Bose Krishnamachari believes in the traditional ideal of the museum as a repository of knowledge, and that art has an inherent ’intellectual usefulness’, which makes the act of instituting a museum a sacred one, His museum project near the Periyar river is one of his long-cherished dreams. He came across the scenic location while looking for a residential place. The beautiful location that offers a breathtaking view is perfect for his museum.

The renowned artist has curated many important shows, including ‘BOMBAY X 17’, ‘Bombay Boys’, ‘DOUBLE-ENDERS’, ‘MaaRKERS’, ‘Soft Spoken’ and ‘Af-fair’ apart from the shows at Iremonti (Milan), Bodhi (Singapore), and Arco’09 in Madrid. His curated shows are juxtapositions of talent rather than making meaning out of something. He has mentioned: “Photographer, sculptor, graphic designer, and painter; in my concept “Every One is an Artist”. My concern is not with any style of practice but instead I see their concerns in how they run through art making. My motives are straightforward and simple: to unearth new talent, to promote existing young talent and to bring back forgotten, reclusive talent.

As the curator of ‘Panorama: India’ at ARCO Madrid 2009, he gave collectors and investors an overview of India’s art scene with an interesting selection of the country’s leading galleries and artists. He was primarily looking at a representation that celebrates and offers insight into different viewpoints of approaching art. According to him, diversity was the most distinctive feature the way all these galleries came together.

All these facets are amply evident in his LaVA. Explaining his motive behind the passionate project, the artist has been quoted as saying: “The laboratory manifests my ambition to extend it, as an ideal place for visual art practitioners and theorists, as a museum of total knowledge: a room within an institution, an art project within a museum.”

Bose Krishnamachari believes the Indian art scene has significantly metamorphosed over the last two decades primarily through the west because collectors there promoted Indian art and artists such as Sudarshan Shetty and Riyas Komu. He quips: “They understand that art is all about freedom. Anish Kapoor wanted to show his art in India but there’s no space here for it; there are no institutions. Artists here miss opportunities since we lack the space or the vision.”

However, there are a few positives as well as the artist noticed while curating a show that the number of female artists (I chose) is more than the male artists. He adds in an interview, “I think women artists in India, these days, are stronger than men. There are many upcoming artists worth looking like Charmi Shah Gada and Suchitra Gahlot.”

His versatility and dynamism allows him to manage different roles of an artist, collector and gallerist since, to put it in his words, “I am serious about what I am doing. Check out Bose Krishnamachari’s LaVA (Laboratory of Visual Arts) at Gallery BMB, Mumbai. Viewers will also get to see about 30 of his carefully collected art works.