This year, 2019, marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Gallery Art Musings, one of the earliest galleries to have been established in South Mumbai’s vibrant, culturally rich Colaba area. We will celebrate this occasion through a year-long cycle of exhibitions, collectively titled, quite simply, The 20th, curated by Ranjit Hoskote. The first event of this cycle will be ‘The Opening Plenary’, an exhibition showing works by 20 artists, which will be held at the . This will be followed by five periodic exhibitions over the rest of the year, each one featuring four of the participating artists, which will unfold across 2019 at Gallery Art Musings. Each of the shows will present a distinctive sub-group of artists from within the plenary, mapped according to core affinities, shared histories, and conceptual or stylistic connections. Twenty participating artists include: Ajay Dhandre, Anjolie Ela Menon, Atul Dodiya, Baiju Parthan, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Gopikrishna, Jayasri Burman, Maïté Delteil,Maya Burman, Milburn Cherian, Nalini Malani, Nandan Purkayastha, Nilofer Suleman, Paresh Maity, Prabhakar Kolte, Raghava KK, Rameshwar Broota, Sakti Burman, Shilo Shiv Suleman, and Smriti Dixit.
For the upcoming edition of Mumbai Gallery Weekend ’19, Art Musings presents Shadows of Water, Steps of Light, an exhibition thatbrings together three artists from varied disciplines: Yashwant Pitkar, architect and photographer; Smriti Dixit, painter and installation-maker; and Ranjit Hoskote, poet and essayist.
At the centre of their three-way dialogue are two glorious 11th-century architectural structures, which were once in social use and are today archaeological monuments: the Rani-ki-vav or Queen’s Stepwell at Patan, and the Sun Temple of Modhera, both in Gujarat. The Queen’s Stepwell is an extraordinary structure: in the centuries during which it was active, it served at once as a monumental reservoir in a parched landscape, a richly ornamented temple, and a social space for the community to congregate. The Sun Temple is an architectural celebration of the convergence of solar and terrestrial energies: the dance of sun and water as articulated, especially, in the kund or temple pond, with its ensemble of double stairways forming a system of visual echoes on all sides.
Pitkar and Hoskote have visited both sites, at different times. Dixit reaches out to these places through her imagination. This exhibition has been developed around Pitkar’s subtle, accomplished suite of black-and-white photographs of these two sites – which prompts responses in the shape of a sequence of poems for Hoskote, and a series of works that straddle painting, sculpture and textile work for Dixit. As sahridayas – a Sanskrit term for aesthete, literally meaning “those who share the same heart” – these three artists explore a scintillating history of forms that takes them to the deep sources of an ecologically significant cultural practice.
Gallery Talkthrough – 19 January 2019 at 11.00 am
For the talkthrough, the participating artists will lead viewers on a talkthrough around the exhibition, its contents and contexts. Pitkar will discuss the relationship between architecture, photography and abstraction; Hoskote about his fascination with India’s water cosmology; and Dixit about the dialogue between myth and materiality in her work.
Art Musings opens its next exhibition featuring rare graphite drawings from the 70s by esteemed French artist Maïté Delteil. Delteil’s attentiveness to detail is a form of devotion: her drawings are songs of praise, in which she exalts the beauty of things even as they pass into decay and dissolution, as creatures of time. She brings together nature and artifice, creating a sense of balance and restraint which marks her drawings. In Maite’s work, keenly-rendered birds congregate about round trees of fruits and flowers. This is a world where plant and birdlife are put in focus, and where the supplementary takes center stage. Delteil’s delicate, highly detailed drawings convey into being the roundedness of cherries, the heavy pile of snow, the variegation of the plumage of hoopoes and finches, the particular serration and generic density of foliage. Also on display is a rare suite of drawings which the artist had executed for a book ‘Louis XIII enfant’ by Michele Lochak that was published by Magnard in France in the early 80s.