ART IN PUBLIC SPACES

VOLUME 12, APRIL 2013-MARCH 2015

In the busy (ness) of the everyday in the fevered rush of getting from one place to the other, it is the
public art which can exponentially increase the mental health of the village, town, city, and the
country. It is for the same reason that we at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, decided to
devote our current Visual Arts Journal (2016) to the Art in Public Spaces. Moving away from the
discrete value associated with the art objects in a gallery, the work of art at a public space is a
continual reappraisal of the relationship shared between the artist, art object, and public. The
changing aesthetic traditions demand audience’s active participation instead of passive appreciation.
The essays contributed by cross section of creative minds – Larissa Buchholz, Ulf Wuggenig, Dave
Colangelo, Maggie Baxter, Amita Sinha, Suresh Jayaram, Asim Waqif Giulia Ambrogi, Amitabh
Kumar, Alex Davis, KLATSCH Collective, and Shraddha Borawake – highlight the trends of public
art at different geographical locations, the interdependence with artistic aesthetic and technology,
along with emerging popularity with the art in public domain. The 30 exhibitions cherry-picked for
the publication of this year reinforce the wide range of artist mediums – visual, performance, public
art, festivals, biennales – showcased at the galleries and open spaces across the Indian Habitat
Centre.

Creative Consumerism: Art Market and Beyond

Volume 11, April 2012 – March 2013

We do not view commerce as a dirty word, for if there is no financial support for the arts from the market, art itself will not survive. Market affirmations are integral to the life of the arts. The challenge is finding that magic formula of the constructive marriage of art and creativity. Can Creativity and Consumerism thrive in equal measure? Does consumerism kills creativity? Can we equate abundance with gluttony of consumption? Is Consumerism and Creativity existing in parallel worlds? One of the recent IBM cloud advertisements I came across read “Consumerism as an Expression of Innovative Capacity”. The present journal seems to be very much present in the current art climate. Since the definition of art has undergone some major changes and shifts, we at the Visual Arts Gallery try to draw a balance between the artist’s creativity and innovation a by-product of consumerism. Against this backdrop we decided to interrogate the location of creativity.

Cross-Culture: Special Reference to Rabindranath Tagore

Volume 10, April 2011 – March 2012

The journal not just celebrates but interrogates the exponential figure of the history of Indian art and aesthetics i.e. Rabindranath Tagore. The concept of visva-sahitya, conceived by Tagore, not only challenged the edifice of orthodoxy but moved beyond the matrix of colonialism and capitalism to bridge the chasm between East and West. The collection of essays closely emphasized how the contemporary times of blurring binaries within the cultural amalgamation, have remapped and recontextualized the Tagorain philosophy.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 9, 2008-2009

In 1938 the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, during his trip to India was honoured with three doctorates from Allahabad, Benaras and Calcutta universities. The sculptor, painter and art historian Alice Boner (1889-1981) from Zurich, who spent more than 45 years at the banks of the Ganga, in Benaras, was awarded the “Padmabhushan” in 1974 by the India President for her outstanding work on Indian art, especially sculpture and architecture is a reflection of the slim yet tenous link with India. During the years of World War II well known Swiss travel writer Ella Maillard, spent a number of years in the ashram of Ramana Mararishi, south of Madras, and reflected her unique experience in the novel “Ti Puss”.

Abhyas – Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 8, 2007-2008

It is the doing that there is perfection, and that is what we do at the Visual Arts Gallery . . . Seven is very much a significant part of the Indian numerology. It is symbolic of the ‘Saptarishis’ or the ‘Seven Great Sages’ borne of his mind, or the ‘Sapta matrikas’ – seven Hindu female deities.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 7, 2006-2007

It is boom time now. Or shall I say bloom time. India has undoubtedly captured the imagination of the world. Whether it is fashion, art, film or cuisine, but what is really at the top of the pyramid is business. In the last year, India has seen an unprecedented growth of 9 percent.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 6, 2005-2006

As art catapults into the domain of commerce from the domain of pure aesthetics, the complex spaces in between the travel have been moments of empowerment, knowledge, enlightenment and sublime bliss. These myriad emotions of ananda, of pure bliss, have their own paths of perception and interpretation. Within the Indian context, the entire discourse emerges from the 4th century text of dramaturgy – the Natyashastra.

Eye in Progress: A Photo Essay  Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 6, 2005-2006

Veeresh Babu’s almost naive pictures try to unravel his own fascination for a set of tree trunks which he chanced upon in 2002. While the photography jury in 2005 debated and pontificated on who should get the prestigious IHC fellowship for photography from a lot of 25 entries from all over the country, and subsequently shortlisted Ranjib De, Haran and Kriti Arora, there were a set of almost ‘naive’ looking pictures, which really could not be slotted into any particular genre of photography. Definitely not the genre of social documentary which is trendy and fashionable right now, or the Cartier Bresson slice of life, but a certain gaze at an everyday object. The simplicity of language, the perceptive eye and the capturing of texture colour and tone could simply not be ignored. The jury gave Veeresh Babu the award of The Eye in Progress.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 5, 2004-2005

Multiple voices and multiple languages can be read and re-read in this journal which is the 5th of the Visual Arts Gallery. In numerology, the energy of number five is said to be captivated by the new, the unknown, the unexplored. It loves the challenge of blazing new trails and charting new territory.

At the Feet of Vishnu, in the Locks of Shiva, Ganga Lives Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 5, 2004-2005

When a myth is inculcated into history it becomes academic and when it comes through folklore it becomes popular. But the religious myths are more prone to a canonical hold on the society especially through the orthodox Brahmanical dictatorship, which ruled the religious and social structure during the later Vedic Period. It is strongly inculcated into the religious beliefs of a community. The legendary divine incarnations, the celestials, the interaction of the mortals with the celestials are a part and parcel of religious sections of many civilizations of the world. These great mythologies are brought to the people through the artfully structure transcripts of the scholars and travellers, through the art works in the temples and through court art of the ancient and medieval kings.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 4, 2003-2004

Design is coming of age. Packaging is the new buzzword. “Creativity, design and culture and artistic talent are fundamental to. . . economic success.” (The Rt Hon Jack Cunningham, MP in ‘Create the Future’). Design is an attitude, it’s a culture too. Applied to everything from products to marriages, it defines the aspirations of the 21st century. Design has to do with a product’s Performance, Quality, Durability, Appearance and Cost. According to James Dyson, ‘Good Design is about looking at everyday things with new eyes and working out how they can be made better. It’s about challenging existing technology’. By curating and hosting shows such as the Design Showcase with the works of graduates from the National Institute of Design, the Habitat Centre takes the lead in exploring the future concerns of aesthetics, art creation and art relevance.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 3, 2002-2003

Art has been defined as a cultural signifier. Looked at from the perspective of a social construct art is difficult to define. In India photography is slowly gaining ground in the realm of art practice. Constantly changing, shifting and reinventing its role and position, photography continuously raises questions and calls attention to vital contemporary issues. For instance, who exhibits photography? What are the sites of display? Where is it researched? What photographs are ascribed a cultural value and what are the determinants of that value? Can narratives be constructed around photography in the writing of history? The significance of photography as a tool of communicative and cultural exchange has grown, especially in recent years. Evocative and spontaneous photography is an empirical process, where you are both the observer and the object, where seeing it your own way is the only way. Who can deny the versatility of photography and its ceaseless evolution? It is the images, the fruit of this media, that always have and will continue to defined the significance of photography.

Curatorial Note Visual Arts – The India Habitat Centre’s Art Journal

Volume 2, 2002

It has been said that art is what makes life worth living, the experience of drawing promises the opening up of an individual’s creative and imaginative drive, allowing for the development of a more sensitive and mature whole. The uncovering of the structure of the aesthetic sphere: mind and heart, intellect and senses, caught in their intrinsic, multi-layered interrelatedness, favours a comprehensive grasp on the fountainhead of creativity, sympathy and awareness. Aesthetic values are perhaps the only ones, which have an in-built capacity to be shared by human beings independently from ethnic identity, ethical and religious conditioning.

Volume 1, April 2000 – March 2001

Since we are a non-commercial gallery, our attempt is to evolve a critical art vocabulary from the Centre. There is a judicious mix of both cutting edge art and traditional art forms. the aim of the journal is not only to document all the activities of the gallery which will give our readers a sampler of all the events we have organized, but also to provide an art appreciation experience.