EXO-Stential – AI Musings on the Posthuman
Harshit Agrawal’s Solo Exhibition
Curated by Myna Mukherjee
11th September – 30th September, 2021
Is AI (Artificial Intelligence) art any good? Is it truly the future of Contemporary art? Does AI re-conceive the human imagination or ready us for its end? Is AI competition or collaborator? Does AI blur the definition of the ‘artist’? EXO-stential – AI Musings on the Posthuman, offers a deep dive and contemplation of this emergent ontology. Emami Art opens its door to India’s first solo exhibition of AI Art featuring works by pioneering artist Harshit Agarwal and curated by Myna Mukherjee. The project has been manifested by Engendered, a transnational arts and human rights organization and is in collaboration with 64/1. The exhibition will be live at Emami Art from September 11 – 30, 2021.
Harshit Agrawal is a pioneer in the developing genre of AI Art. He has worked with AI art since its inception in 2015; his work has been nominated twice for the top tech art prize, the ‘Lumen’, and he was the only Indian artist at the first global group exhibition of AI Art at a contemporary gallery in 2018. Initial examples of AI Art mainly revelled in its ability to create hauntingly familiar yet alien forms. The field in the last 5 years has deepened considerably and Harshit’s work is a testimony to that inquiry. In this, his first solo show, Emami Art presents the enlarged practice and diversity of AI art with experiments in media (painting, sculpture, text, video, interactive media), aesthetic approach (conceptual, sociological, the painterly), process (varying degrees of human involvement), datasets (from European to Indian) and themes.
Of Liminal Beings and Other Spaces
Arpita Akhanda, Arshi Ahmadzai, Debashish Paul, Maksud Ali Mondal, Prasanta Ghosh
31st July – 27th August, 2021
‘Of Liminal Beings and Other Spaces’ curated by Ushmita Sahu will bring together five artistic practices that explore intangible, interstitial spaces that inform their practices, which allude to and elude normative dualistic norms. Arpita Akhanda, Arshi Ahmadzai, Debashish Paul, Maksud Ali Mondal, Prasanta Ghosh artworks will be on display from 31st July to 28th August, 2021 at Emami Art.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by Foucault’s 1967 lecture/essay – ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias’, in which he rues that we are still governed by “oppositions that remain inviolable, that our institutions and practices have not yet dared to break down.” By juxtaposing five distinct practices, the exhibition hopes to create a reflexive re-framing of cognitive and experiential identities, initiate new possibilities of encounters that provide alternative frameworks for thinking, consequently becoming a locus for transitions. Arpita Akhanda quests for identity in past/present, colonised/coloniser dualisms, while Arshi Ahmadzai focuses on women’s private vs public chronicles via a language that negotiates text and image. Debashish Paul, who identifies as non-binary, grapples with the dominant male/female-gendered readings. Finally, Maksud Mondal creates nature-identical environments that foreground the cycle of life and death, while Prasanta Ghosh’s fictional/factual narratives fluidly move between truth and non-truths.
RICE EATERS 101 | N.E.
Curated by Pari Baishya
7th August – 31st August, 2021
Rice Eaters 101 | N.E. is aimed to be the pilot exhibition of an idea, a perceptive attempt to answer the derogatory towards the ethnicity whose diet uses rice as a staple grain in literal reference to the title. Homogeneous to the symbolism of ‘Lotus Eaters’ from Greek Mythology as well as popularly known, ‘Potato eaters’ by Van Gogh, yet divergent at the same time. The concept is derived from the inherited apathy associated with the particular geopolitical region in contrast to another slur, ‘Cow Belt’. Combating the same, the concept is rooted in the belief of perspectives derived by means of reflections in visual art.
Delving beyond the exoticized representation, this exhibition showcases works of seven young artists from the north eastern states of the country and their individual takes on diverged observations prevailing in the region. Incorporating highlights on the Self, society, counter urbanisation, gender fluidity and other unlearning narratives. At the same time actively demonstrating their ethnic identity as a mechanism against the racism cum discrimination experienced throughout.
Curated by Nanak Ganguly
9th July – 31st August 2021
This exhibition has been based on the desire to give expression to a number of directions and an attempt to stimulate a greater awareness that visual phenomena still exists and that those phenomena often concerns space to play on the paradox of permanence and transience. It engages the contemporary through constant experience of radical disjunctions, the precariousness of positioning, questioning the stability of spatial and temporal realities. Stretching the line of chronology the exhibition titled- ‘Sublime Transferences’ to create room for imaginary conversations and unexpected togetherness across artists of diverse and disparate genres/styles in the present moment of transit where space and time cross to produce complex figures of difference and identity, past and present, inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion that centers around the notion of displacement, migration, identity and particularly living a reality in the middle of a global pandemic.
An online exhibition of small format works that reveal the feminine worlds as seen and imagined by six eminent artists from Bengal.
25th June – 31st July, 2021
With the playfulness and delicacy typical of works in small-format, this exhibition features images of woman, mostly faces, done by six widely known and celebrated modern artists from Bengal: KG Subramanyan, Rabin Mondal, Jogen Chowdhury, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, and Arunima Choudhury. The small format work not only attracts wider audiences but is also preferred by many of these artists given the eloquence, freedom and informality it allows them to enjoy.
Emami Art Hosts ‘The (in)Visible and the (un) Revealed’
Inside the secret worlds of Kartick Chandra Pyne
A Survey Show
March 17 – June 12, 2021
“The (in)Visible and the (un) Revealed: Inside the Secret Worlds of Kartick Chandra Pyne,” the most comprehensive survey exhibition of the artist in the recent times. The exhibition brings together a large body of his works from an extended period of his creative life, mostly from the collection of Emami Art, exploring the artist’s complex artistic philosophy and practices and also their manifold significance in our contemporary world.
The survey show will display works of K C Pyne spanning over sixty-years of his artistic career, including his early art school studies and late paintings; the exhibition will help viewers to understand the complexities of Kartick Pyne’s eclectic style, which, though look like naïve or outsider art, are firmly grounded on academic training. The show will also have memorabilia from the artist’s life including old photographs and family albums, personal hand written letters, exhibition catalogues, educational records, sketches published in newspapers, old review articles, awards and a documentary film on his life.
Artworks by Jogen Chowdhury | Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya | Arunima Choudhury | Chandra Bhattacharjee
Arindam Chatterjee | Soma Das | Tamal Bhattacharya | Anjan Modak
February 12 – March 13, 2021
Constellations, an exhibition by Emami Art, brings together eight contemporary artists from Bengal featuring Jogen Chowdhury, Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya, Arunima Choudhury, Chandra Bhattacharjee, Arindam Chatterjee, Soma Das, Tamal Bhattacharya and Anjan Modak.
The exhibition presents a range of practices. Although no stylistic grouping or common thematic ground holds these artists within the exhibition, the varied practices appear as eight distinct conceptual postures or constellations in the curated space of the gallery. These artists address diverse concerns, exploring meanings, implications and the politics of our anxious time.
After the Masters Breaking Step
Walking With An online exhibition by Kala Bhavana Faculty Members
January 5 – February 5, 2021
After the Masters: Breaking Step – Walking With is an online exhibition by Emami Art that will be showcasing the works of Kala Bhavana Faculty members.
Kala Bhavana has just crossed its hundredth year and has been marked by informality and freedom – opening up multiple avenues before its mentors and mentees to choose from. Thus, the tradition of tactile media has often taken a conceptual route. New forms and genres have come to cohabit with the traditional tracts and opened up the spaces for thinking about ‘creativity and construction’ (Tagore’s favorite words) and helped to unpack the wistful and the redundant in art language. Thereby, a mnemonic space has come alive, facing fresh challenges and growing. This multiplicity resonates in many of the institute’s common acts. A long journey is often an exhaustive affair and needs replenishment. The current exhibition can be understood as a fresh marker as well as a challenging testing-ground in that journey along those multiple paths.
Khoai Landscape | খোয়াই ল্যান্ডস্কেপ
Works on paper by Ghana Shyam Latua
January 5 – January 30, 2021
Khoai Landscape | খোয়াই ল্যান্ডস্কেপ is a bilingual show by Emami Art that will be showcasing the works on paper by Ghana Shyam Latua. Ghana Shyam was deeply fascinated by the landscape paintings of the Santiniketan artists when he first saw them as a student of Kala Bhavana. In his paintings of Khoai, he, however, has consciously chosen not to follow the tradition of the Santiniketan artists, for the sublime presence that once inspired the artists and poets of Santiniketan is now largely lost and threatened by the rapid spread of tourism and urbanization. Surrounded by the white blank spaces, Khoai is depicted in his monochrome paintings in the exhibition not as a panoramic landscape but as a series of fragmented frames, like plots.
GESTURES | রূপভঙ্গি
Drawings and linocuts by Partha Pratim Deb
December 18, 2020 – January 30, 2021
Partha Pratim Deb, who is best known for his unique and colourful assemblage of the discarded household objects, maintains a long, persistent and productive career in exploring newer possibilities in drawing as an independent medium of creative expression.
What Partha Pratim wants to practice can be called “the pure cultivation of the means” of drawing. Instead of setting out to depict something visible, he uses the shapes and lines for their own sake, giving sole emphasis to their graphic quality. His drawing begins without pre-planning, allowing the abstract composition to emerge through a process of improvisation, introspection and submission – an innovative approach makes him something of a rarity among the contemporary Indian artists.
Curated by art historian & critic, Nanak Ganguly
November 6 – December 15, 2020
“Fluid Boundaries, curated by art historian & critic, Nanak Ganguly will be showcasing exemplary works-of-art across diverse genres by Snehasish Maity, Debasis Barui, Tapas Biswas, Bholanath Rudra and Suman Dey. In ‘Fluid Boundaries’ we will find the works of these cutting edge artists to confront our traditional experience of sound, light and image, how these are re-ordered and returned in an innovative role reflecting the artist’s choice of subject. The artworks will be all about physical, metaphoric and psychological implications that are always entangled and represented in socio-linguistic patterns. Viewings of these vast range of paintings, sculptures and installations at Emami Art will result not in familiarity but fresh discoveries.
Suburban Shadows: Recent works on paper by Prasanta Sahu
October 15 – November 30, 2020
Concerned with farming and agriculture in the context of modern life and the representation of daily labourers of various occupations in the suburban localities, the recent works of Prasanta Sahu in the exhibition revolve around the particular notion of the study, understood not as a regular academic practice – a drawing or sketch done in preparation for a finished piece – but something close to the anthropological idea of case-study: the contextual analysis of the everyday life and actions of an individual, group or community that exhibits the morphology of the social structure. A trained artist, Sahu also has a background in electrical engineering. His work thus shows both the pictorial intelligence and imagination of an artist and the analytic approaches of the scientific disciplines. There are contradictions, and his work encompasses them. More often than not, the fieldwork documents, data table and photographs veer abruptly from a scientifically oriented daily account to an avant-garde oneiric montage of images, texts and numbers.
Emami Art Open Call Exhibition
September 30 – October 30, 2020
Āroh, an online exhibition brings together an exciting range of practices and languages exploring diverse concerns of twelve talented artists from across India. They are the winners of the First Emami Art Open Call Mentorship and Exhibition Programme 2020 and were chosen by a jury from over two hundred applicants. The selected artists are Anirban Saha and Arindam Sinha (Kolkata, Arpita Akhanda (Cuttack), Daina Mohapatra (New Delhi), David Malaker (Kolkata), Debashish Paul (Nadia), Dhara Mehrotra (Bangalore), Janhavi Khemka (Varanasi), Kalpana Vishwas (Santiniketan), Kumar Ranjan (Faridabad), Manisha Agrawal (Lucknow) and Neelesh Yogi (Indore). This exhibition is part of Emami Art’s programme to provide talented artists with a platform to exhibit their works, as well as support in the form of mentorship and advisory. The twelve awardees also received a one-on-one mentorship session plus portfolio review from our five mentors, eminent art practitioners Adip Dutta, Jagannath Panda, Praneet Soi, Prasanta Sahu, TV Santhosh as well as Emami Art CEO Richa Agarwal and project curator Ushmita Sahu.
INSIGHTS । অন্তর্দৃষ্টি
Paintings by Bholanath Rudra and Suman Dey
September 2 to September 30, 2020
The exhibition presents the recent paintings by Bholanath Rudra and Suman Dey, two exceptionally talented young contemporary artists based in Kolkata. A graduate of Rabindra Bharati University, Bholanath is an accomplished watercolourist; for him, the process of painting is not just a means to an end, a mere matter of skill and draughtsmanship, but a means of penetrating the reality, of probing beyond the surface appearance to capture the essential mood of the subjects. Many of his large-scale watercolours, which show his mastery in handling the medium, have a compelling presence, revealing the exalted quality of the sublime.
Bengal Masters: A Tribute
Works of eminent artists, from the collection of Emami Art
August 20 – September 30, 2020
Modern Indian Art has an eclectic character that privileges a cross-cultural exchange and hybridity over cultural purity. A remarkable blending of the elements borrowed from the modern art of the West and India’s traditional antecedents, the works of the modern masters in the exhibition, from Nandalal Bose to Jogen Chowdhury, show the plural, eclectic nature of Indian Modernism, which has a unique history in Bengal, closely connected to the social, political and cultural life of the region.
This online exhibition presents the works of nine eminent artists, from the collection of Emami Art. They are Nandalal Bose, Indra Dugar, K.G. Subramanyan, Jamini Roy, Abani Sen, Gopal Ghose, Nikhil Biswas, Kartick Chandra Pyne and Jogen Chowdhury. It is a selection focused on the master artists from Bengal, each one of them has a distinctive approach, style and artistic vocabulary, which affirm their place in the global history of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Fragmented Life | খন্ডিত জীবন
August 5 to August 31, 2020
With the nationwide lockdown declared on 24 March, the government halted all forms of public transport and shut down markets to protect its citizens. It helped those who could afford to stay in but not those outside this circle of protection. The lockdown wreaked havoc on the migrant labourers, who were left starving and homeless in many big cities of India and unprotected against the virus. The entire nation was shocked to witness the incredible suffering and deaths of the migrant workers making their long journey home on foot in the sweltering heat of the summer. Affected by the sights of suffering, Anjan Modak has painted the series of small size, circular-format paintings titled Fragmented Life, showing the dismal experiences of the migrant workers in the hard times of pandemic.
Though topical, the series of paintings can be seen as part of the artist’s large body of works that represents the life of the working class. Showing mastery in narrative figuration, these works invoke no triumph of labour, but an aesthetics of the everyday life, connecting mundane, commonplace objects, gestures, memories and emotions to the wider, dominant social and political forces shaping the popular life of the society. Drawing on diverse visual traditions, from surrealism and puppetry to biology textbook illustrations, in his paintings Anjan, an insider and well familiar with the complexity of the subaltern mentalities, marked by the sense of subordination, anomie and insecurity, does not represent the subaltern life merely objectively, but as a layered, fragmented narrative of body, history and the city.
Tales of Our Time | এইসময়ের পট
Recent paintings of Anwar Chitrakar
July 5, 2020 to July 31, 2020
The paintings of Anwar Chitrakar in this online exhibition show his artistic talent in making sense of the pandemic times we are living through.
Born in 1980 to a traditional patua family at Naya Village, West Midnapore, Anwar received his training in Bengal folk paintings from his father Amar Chitrakar. Working within the stylistic boundaries of Kalighat Painting, Anwar, however, does not habitually repeat the past, but uses the visual potentialities of the conventional art forms to capture the transitory sights and emotions of the everyday world, the strangeness and banality of which we see down the streets. In his pata paintings, the iconic figuration, flowing lines, tonal volumes, intercepted by brilliant hues, bring to the fore not the stories depicted in them but artist’s unique visions and his astute sense of humour. Giving the traditional art forms a contemporary touch, Anwar plays the painter as a flamboyant storyteller, as well as a witty comedian.
Anwar lives and works from Naya village, which is home to over two hundred families of folk painters or patuas working as a close-knit community. Unlike many of them, Anwar is contemporising traditional art forms, responding to the art world’s renewed interest in making the tribal and folk art more mainstream.
Stand with Bengal
MASH | INA PURI | KCC brings to you a fundraiser to support Bengal
June 7 2020 – July 7 2020
As Cyclone Amphan made landfall, raging powerfully across the city & the villages, wreaking havoc upon anything & anyone in its path, homes were destroyed, homes & stretches of forest land ravaged. For those few hours, it felt like the gods had forsaken Bengal. When the storm finally abated realisation dawned that it would take a very long while to get back to normal. To rebuild lives & livelihoods. To restore the destroyed villages & equally, the city of Kolkata.
Watching from afar & unable to help immediately was deeply troubling. Like me, friends & members of the art fraternity based elsewhere, all felt we had to help as individuals & as a community.That was how Stand with Bengal began- with a plea to the people willing to help to come forward & plan an initiative that would raise funds for Bengal.
We were going to do our very best & reach out to people who most desperately need our support. I am deeply grateful for the immediate & spontaneous support of Shalini Passi & Richa Agarwal who agreed to this fundraising project for our Bengal immediately. The artists we reached out to, all agreed to either donate or contribute to the cause & so we’re able to begin our enterprise. We agreed together that the net proceeds would be donated to Ramkrishna Mission, Kolkata who were already doing such outstanding community service. Here we are, flagging off our fundraiser in the hope that all of you will come forward & do whatever is possible to raise funds for people in Bengal whose lives have been destroyed.
‘Nature As I See’| আমার ভূবন
5th June 2020 – 30th June 2020
‘Nature As I See’ an online exhibition presenting the recent paintings by Arunima Choudhury reveals the many shades of her love of nature. The love of nature came early on for Arunima, but it was after her fateful encounter with the works of the Santiniketan artists that she gradually developed her aesthetic appreciation of nature. She, like the artists of Santiniketan, showed a profound love for landscape and natural beauty; their visions of nature are, however, often dissimilar. Nature for Arunima is not just a piece of geography but something personal, revealing a close bond between the human and natural worlds. It is often conceived as feminine and maternal, an embodiment of the qualities that a mother possesses. Nature, existing both within and outside us, is in constant motion; Arunima succeeds in capturing the layers of emotions and dynamism at the level of both image and medium. The naturally produced dyes with which she paints are not just a new medium for her, but a language that gives palpability and organic feeling to her paintings. Colour has a unique presence in Arunima’s organic paintings; it is not used simply to distinguish forms.
BLACK WHITE AND MORE | A Selective Online Exhibition by Emami Art
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
Our country is going through a challenging time, but we are sure that we can overcome this hurdle by staying positive. Being confined to the four walls of your house for days on end is not easy, but our minds are free and our imaginations have no limit. We at Emami Art want to spread positivity and happiness as we believe that optimism is the only way to overcome these difficult times. Beyond the black and white that we are seeing now we believe and hope that there is more.
“BLACK WHITE AND MORE” is a selective online exhibition by Emami Art showcasing some of the finest monochromatic artworks of Jogen Chowdhury, Rabin Mondal, S. G. Vasudev, Dashrath Patel, Bose Krishnamachari and Manu Parekh. In these artworks you will see what happens when these great artists put away their colourful palettes and instead focus only on shades of black, white and some more, the result is more liberating than it sounds. You can perceive details you didn’t notice before – textures, and new meanings.
Starting Date: Starting 20th April 2020
Extend A Hand – An online exhibition to raise funds for the ongoing pandemic
Covid – 19
Extend A Hand – an online exhibition of 120 artworks
About Emami Art
Emami Art, one of the most significant art institutions in the eastern part of India, is a key space for cultural production in the region. The organisation is focused on a future-forward, complex, multi-dimensional approach and steadfast in the advocacy of emerging, mid-career and established artists as well as an engagement with contemporary and historical material. The gallery aims to create dynamic, wide-ranging registers of exhibition-making and viewing. Deeply committed to promoting a regional, national and international agenda through innovative and alternative programming, emphasis on community and socially relevant engagements, institutional partnerships and more via a multi-year vision for the future, Emami Art is resolute to be a catalyst of change, research, innovation and inclusivity.