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Prominent international shows of contemporary Indian art
A group show, entitled ‘WAR Zone, which maps the trajectory of – contemporary Indian art takes place at Artemons Contemporary, Das Kunstmuseum in Austria. It features work that revolves around an intense examination of the fast-changing nature of war, perception and memory.

Among the artists on view, Probir Gupta looks to address issues and concern that are relevant to life and people in his country today while trying to orchestrate a continuum of diverse mediums and weave together forms including painting, sculpture, video, photography and installation. His paintings, ambitious in terms of size, scale and subject are juxtaposed with increasingly experimental sculptures that challenge both the artist himself and the viewer. Dedicated to the cause of human rights and community development, he deals with issues of development, globalization, war, religion, and genocide through his work. He equates the visual idiom of deformed and scorched industrial debris with the omnipresent and profound truth intrinsic to human suffering.

Paintings by T.V Santhosh have established him among India’s top new generation artists to have made a mark since the late 1990's. Earlier he primarily produced drawings before moving on to other mediums carrying historical references and images of war, especially photographs of war, which have played a significant role in his creations. The artist tries to grasp the crises of our complex present from a global perspective and decodes events, even as they are unleashed upon us.

At first sight his work appears contained and cryptic, but it shows a latent provocative tinge on a closer examination ages. Images are laid out with seemingly deceptive ease for viewing. His practice considers the very specific idioms of global conflict, to what can be termed a diabolical pact existing between knowledge and terror as well as the rather skewed antagonism between weakened locality and puissant globality. Aditya Pande, on the other hand, mixes captivating computer graphics with collage making, painting and drawing to blur the lines between imagery and techniques. Scribbled animals done in a high-tech language are juxtaposed with catchy colors and buoyant forms.

A new series, entitled ‘Creationism’s Kiss’ by Rina Banerjee at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Brussels includes a set of small sculptures and drawings that explore the core thought that all things were essentially created by an unknown supernatural entity. The series reflects her ideas about stories that try and organize our very motive for living and making some logic or meaning out of them. An accompanying note elaborates: “The work attests to the artist’s reflection on the theory of Creationism. Widespread in America, and opposed to that of evolution, this particular religious doctrine defends the belief according to which men and women were created by God. A scientist by training, she reacts to the rise of this fundamentalism in decisive political stakes – education, freedom of opinion and beliefs. In line with an artistic production, which denounces the globalization of cultural perceptions and identities between East and West – locally and globally, she warns us about the risk of a literal reading of the original Creation.”

The visual seduction of her works done on paper is an aesthetic trap, which beckons us not to be contended with what’s offered to see, and hence to believe, instead to interpret these figures’ hybrid nature. Monstrous and grotesque, the artist’s silhouettes created with an accurate delineation, which delicately chisels out the contours by richly colored ink, include the airy composition and traits of mystical female figures, and an ornamental motif, at times.

Meanwhile, ‘The Toran Project: Contemporary Art from the Indian Sub-Continent’ courtesy Concrete Contemporary Auctions & Projects at Waddingtons’ Toronto art gallery brought the best of Indian art to Canada, in an effort to unveil the intellectual and artistic rigor behind it. It was the outcome of their collaboration with the Toronto based and Mumbai-born art connoisseur, entrepreneur and designer, Sushma Kilachand. Stephen Ranger, the vice-president (business development) of Waddington’s, mentioned: “When one looks at traditional Canadian art forms, they tend to be rather somber; here our vision is about a culture, which is anything but somber.” From a list of close to 200 artists, five important ones – namely Mohan Singh, Vinita Karim, Manish Jha, Swapan Palley, and S.H. Raza, - plus a collection of etchings by many others have been put up during the exhibition. The works on view encompassed folk art, profound mythological and spiritual art, laced with a dash of color.

The Toran Project launched in 2011 has become a sort of deeper immersion course of Indian & South Asian contemporary art, culminating with an exhibition-cum-sale of several quality artworks. Ranger feels it’s high time for the art from India to have a dynamic presence in Canada. The broader idea is to give Toronto’s South Asian community something translatable and not just country specific. The show at King Street East galleries held simultaneously with the Toronto International Art Fair focusing this year on Asia, was timely and an important one.

Last but not the least, sculptures by world-renowned creators are currently on display in a Shanghai public park as part of an International Sculpture Project Biennial. Among the participants, Subodh Gupta in his work ‘Ray’ captures the tensions between urban and rural, rich and poor, and traditional and modern, reflecting on the social breakdown that India has experienced on its quest for modernization against the backdrop of globalization. The internationally acclaimed contemporary Indian artist is best known for incorporating everyday objects into his creations. By making ordinary items artistic and aesthetic, he expresses his sympathy for the vulnerable and his reverence for traditional Indian values.