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Showcase India
A precursor to upcoming Art Basel fair in Hong Kong
From some of the best emerging talents to the many Modern masters of both the West and Asia, the latest edition of world-renowned Art Basel fair in Hong Kong will trace almost twelve decades of glorious art history across its four elaborate sectors, namely Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, and Encounters.

The event scheduled to take place between May 23 and 26 will present quality paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, video, photographs and exclusive editioned works right from the 20th century up to present by over 2,000 artists from Asia and across the world. It will act as a platform for intellectual discussions and creative presentations, thus facilitating cross-cultural exchanges among renowned artists, gallerists, world-famous collectors, and of course, art lovers. Counted among the world's prime Modern & contemporary art showcases, it’s held in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong every year. Founded in 1970, it has been recognized as a driving force in supporting the pertinent role galleries play in nurturing artists, and also the development and meaningful promotion of innovative art practices.

In keeping with its core aim of constantly innovating and expanding itself for new artists, who stand for the vanguard of the vibrant visual art trend, the special show's segment will allow visitors to explore the different dramatic dimensions of Modern & Contemporary art including sculptures, classical photography and museum-caliber paintings apart from a specially curated meticulous selection of large-scale artworks, transcending a conventional art showcase. The Galleries sector, on the other hand, will incorporate more than 170 of the world's top galleries – displaying sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, installations, video, film, and digital artworks done over the 20th until now.

Raqs Media Collective and Jitish Kallat will be the ones who will represent India at the exclusive Asian edition of Art Basel. On display will be a couple of installations that depict fast-evolving urban landscape of the world’s rising superpower. The works will be among those on view as part of ‘Encounters’, the new exhibit series of the prestigious art event in Hong Kong. The former will try and explore the peculiar living spaces in their home country through an installation, titled ‘A Different Gravity’ courtesy Mumbai-based Project 88. They have used a table, chair, carpet and a mirror for conveying a room’s abstract layout wherein anything can occur. According to the creators, the aim of the installation is one of ‘anticipation which is symbolic of the uncertainty defining India’s urban life today’.

Raqs Media Collective formed by a group of independent media practitioners in 1992 has been described as curators, researchers, artists, and editors. The trio of Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta looks to act as keen catalysts of complex cultural processes. Raqs remains closely involved with the Sarai program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (www.sarai.net), an initiative they co-founded in 2000. They enjoy playing a plurality of roles, often appearing as artists, occasionally as curators, sometimes as philosophical agent provocateurs. Raqs follows its self declared imperative of 'kinetic contemplation' to produce a trajectory that is restless in terms of the forms and methods that it deploys even as it achieves a consistency of speculative procedures. According to Shuddhabrata Sengupta, a lot of their work is rooted in terms of its context in New Delhi He has mentioned: “In a sense, we have always perceived our work as responding to the city. Even if it articulates across large cultural distances, we see it as an ongoing process of responding to the locality we live in."

Jitish Kallat, on the other hand, captures the transitory nature of modern metropolis with ‘Circa’. The 120-part bewildering bamboo sculpture resembles massive scaffolding that denotes the city of Mumbai, enmeshed in a ‘state of perennial development’. Berlin’s Gallery Arndt is presenting the installation. Describing him as one of the most dynamic and exciting dynamic artists from Asia who has received international acclaim, a note on the gallery spells out Kallat’s art practice to state: “Working across a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography and installation, his work reflects a deep involvement with the city of his birth (Mumbai) and derives much of its visual language from his immediate urban environment. His subject matter has been described previously as ‘the dirty, old, recycled and patched-together fabric of urban India'. His wider concerns include India's attempts to negotiate its entry into a globalised economy, addressing housing and transportation crises, city planning, caste and communal tensions, and government accountability. Many of his works focus on Mumbai's downtrodden or dispossessed inhabitants, though treating them in a bold, colorful and highly graphic manner.”

‘Encounters’ will provide a good representation of art galleries from Ireland, Italy, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, mainland China and India. The works of art done in diverse media will experiment with material and post-conceptual ideas of return to natural existence as against the technological progress harming the environment.