Boundlessly Various & Everything Simultaneously

Curated by Peter Nagy
June 8 - July 20, 2000
New York

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May 2000 New York - Peter Nagy, the mastermind behind New Delhi's renegade art gallery Nature Morte, has returned to his home-turf to curate an exhibition of cutting-edge art coming out of India today. Having cut his teeth in the heady days of New York's East Village art scene in the 1980s, Nagy packed his bags and moved to India in the early '90s. There he discovered a vibrant experimental art scene that defied both the conventional gallery aesthetics and the under-educated collector class. Nature Morte New Delhi (which recently completed its third exhibition season) has become known throughout India for championing installation art, photography and video and establishing a dialogue between India's avant-garde artists and an international community.

Bose Pacia Modern, founded in New York in 1994 as the first permanent, public gallery in North America specializing in Indian contemporary art, has recently inaugurated its new, expanded space in Chelsea, NYC's newest art hub. By their invitation, Nagy will bring together artists he has been working with in India, both Indian and not, who are exploring the frontiers of expression which draw on the ancient traditions of Indian culture. All of the artists tend to respond to the overwhelming characteristics of life in India with an obsessive-compulsive use of multiple elements, dense detailing and repetitive structures.

Brown & Green, from Sydney, make densely layered collages of images and objects they collect during their visits to India. The collages are veiled with silk and photographed, to produce thick, foggy pictures of pictures of pictures.

Jayashree Chakravarty, of Calcutta, creates hybrids of drawing, painting and sculpture. Her chaotic, all-over mark-making on cardboard supports snakes across the floor and refers to both landscapes and digital technologies.

Anita Dube, of New Delhi, will be represented by two works. Her Theatre of Sade is a wry comment on the rise of right-wing politics in India today, a theatrical tableaux of common objects (dentures, a wig, a book, a clock, etc.) which have been sheathed in black velvet to render them mysterious and sinister. Another work will be comprised of over 2000 ceramics eyes of the types used on temple idols, flowing in rivulets across a wall.

Nicola Durvasula, a British artist who has settled in Hyderabad, explores the continuing relevancy of Indian miniatures. Her small-scale works-on-paper precisely mimic the look of Mughal drawings yet refer to contemporary issues such as feminism, post-colonialism and global capitalism.

Sandra Hirshkowitz, of New York, takes the Indian use of flowers into an almost scientific arena. She sets up elaborate mathematical programs in order to construct vast color-charts of orchids which have been embroidered onto circles using metallic threads, resembling Tantric mandalas in the end.

Jeffrey Schiff, also of New York, created works while in India last year on a Fulbright Fellowship. Everywhere Chidambaram is an installation comprised of bars of soap carved into the Tamil characters of a sacred chant. Accompanied by bowls of water and hand-towels, his work is a perceptive conjoining of Hindu ritual and the fear of pollution that is evident in both the sacred and secular arenas of Indian life.

Vivan Sundaram, of New Delhi, will present a detail from his multi-part installation project entitled The Great Indian Bazaar. Taking as his subject the vast Sunday Market outside of Delhi's Red Fort, Sundaram photographed the plethora of second- and third-hand objects available for sale and presents these photographs in a pile consisting of over 800 snapshots. The results are an exhaustive index of all manner of commodities which reflects India's current economic conundrums.