In partnership with Vacheron Constantin

India Art Fair

India Art Fair 2014

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Tasveer is delighted to announce its participation at the 6th edition of the India Art Fair in Delhi, from 30th January to 2nd February 2014. This years’ fair marks Tasveer’s affiliation with three new artists – leading architectural photographer Robert Polidori, renowned Latin American photographer Flor Garduno, and contemporary Indian artist Vivek Vilasini.

 

Antichambre du Grand Cabinet du Capitaine des Gardes #1, Versailles, 1986 © Robert Polidori 

The India Art Fair is the country’s premier international art fair and a developing platform for contemporary art in Asia. Attracting more than 260,000 visitors from India and around the world since its inception in 2008, it is one of the world’s most attended art events.

Key works on display at Tasveer’s booth (D6) will be a large scale installation of 30 prints by Vivek Vilasini, ‘Housing Dreams’, a large colour work by Robert Polidori from his landmark ‘Versailles’ series, which will be exhibited for the first time in India, and a selection of black and white prints by Mexican photographer Flor Gardun?o, who is primarily known for her haunting images of native peoples throughout the Americas, symbolic nudes and still-lifes. Tasveer will also present mid-twentieth century work by celebrated Indian artist Jyoti Bhatt, architectural images by German historian Andreas Volwahsen and Norman Parkinson’s stunning photographs of India captured for British Vogue in the 50s.

 

Vivek Vilasini

Born in 1964 in Trishur, Kerala, Vivek Vilasini trained as a Marine Radio Officer at the All India Marine College in Kochi, and then obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Kerala University in 1987 before turning to art and studying sculpture from traditional Indian craftspeople. In his work Vilasini examines our existing social structures, adapting various expressions of cultural identity prevalent in society today to raise questions about the continually changing global scenario that every individual struggles to keep pace with. Vilasini’s large-format photographs evoke delicate ironies that impact existing ideologies, and influence the cultural and social consciousness of the viewer.

In his work ‘Housing Dreams’, the houses photographed are from a closely knit locale in Kerala – a significant and rapidly popular pattern in this part of the country. The pattern of richly coloured and aggressively decorated residences symbolise prosperity and exude a sense of security – both financial and social. Although the vocabulary of aesthetics can be termed kitsch, the idea is to understand the underlying expression in the ostentatiously and vibrantly decorated households. This documentation may come across as an irony to taste and yet registers an impact in the way these houses stand out and express individuality and belonging – examples of a thriving culture. The camera captures a glimpse of ambition within a culture.

Vilasini’s work has been exhibited in several solo shows including several editions of ‘Between One Shore and Several Others’ at Birds Gallery, Trivandrum, Arushi Arts, New Delhi, Sumukha Gallery, Bangalore, and the Visual Arts Gallery, New Delhi, in 2007-08; and at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Lalit Kala Academy, Kochi, in 2001. The artist lives and works in Bangalore.

 

Robert Polidori

Born in 1951 in Montreal, Robert Polidori is considered one of the world’s leading architectural photographers. Creating meticulously detailed, large-scale colour photographs, which transcend the limits of pure architectural photography, Polidori’s images record a visual citation of both past and present, and are an extraordinary amalgamation of history and modernity within the confines of a single frame. Through the photograph’s ability to mummify the present moment, Polidori’s work eschews nostalgia in favour of the poignancy of absolute reality.

Polidori began his fascination with Versailles after winning an exclusive contract to document the restoration of the seventeenth-century palace in the mid-1980s. Rather than grandeur and opulence, which initially drew him to document the palace, Polidori chooses to uncover the hidden meanings held within these heavily ornamented interiors. For Polidori, the rooms are a reflection of those who inhabit them, their decoration and overall atmosphere reveals aspects of the soul and character of their owners.

Robert won the World Press Award in 1998, and he has twice won the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography (1999 and 2000). He has published eleven photo books, most recently After The Flood (Steidl, 2006), and a three-volume compilation of his pictures of Versailles, Robert Polidori: Parcours Museologique Revisite (Steidl, 2009). His major solo exhibitions include a mid-career retrospective at the Muse?e d’art contemporain de Montre?al, and his work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Bibliothe?que Nationale, Paris.

 

Jyoti Bhatt

Perhaps most celebrated as a print-maker, Indian artist Jyoti Bhatt has been actively engaged with photography since the mid 60s, his photographs constitute an important chapter in the history of photography in India. Tasveer has worked with the artist to produce a set of fifty hand-printed silver gelatin prints from his original negatives, which are part of an exhibition currently travelling Tasveer’s spaces throughout India. The photographs chronicle Bhatt’s travels through rural environments in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar.

Jyoti Bhatt was born in 1934 in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda from 1950 to 1956, and also learnt the art of fresco painting at Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajas- than where he began teaching. In 1961 Bhatt won an Italian government scholarship to study at the Academia Di Belle Arti in Naples for two years. From Italy, he went to the Pratt institute in New York, where he had received a Fulbright fellowship. He was trained in the graphic arts and began to take a particular interest in print-making. Bhatt continued to teach painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, in 1967, he attended a seminar on the folk arts of Gujarat which inspired him to begin working on what was to become a major, but relatively unexplored part of his work. He travelled through Gujarat, visiting villages and tribal regions, much of which he had never seen before and took photographs of the changing world he encountered.

Bhatt’s work is held in over twenty-six public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Delhi, the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and the British Museum, London. He has won numerous prizes including The Presidents Gold Plaque, gold medal at the International Print Biennale, Italy, UNESCO Photo contest, Japan and the top prize and ‘FOTOKINA’ World Photography Contest, Germany. To date he has had over twenty-five solo shows, both in India and abroad. He lives and continues to work in Vadodara, India.

 

Andreas Volwahsen

Andreas Volwahsen, born in 1941 in Germany, is chiefly celebrated as an architectural historian. His photographs were originally taken to illustrate his first two academic books, ‘Living Architecture: Islamic India’ (1968) and ‘Living Architecture: India’ (1971). As illustrations they add an extraordinary dimension to his work, but also rise far above the merely descriptive. They demonstrate his aspirations for a deeper understanding of ancient Indian architecture, but also reveal strong formal undercurrents of German modernist photography. These photographs are exhibited publically by Tasveer for the first time, as independent works in their own right.

Volwahsen aimed to penetrate through the potentially bewildering and overwhelming, to inquire into the canons and laws that governed the work of ancient Indian architects. He analysed the historical, social and religious background of a structure and provided diagrams and plans, but perhaps his most powerful tool was his photographic work. The consistent use of black and white mutes any distracting details and the balanced, square format compositions emphasise the underlying geometry and symmetry. Volwahsen’s focus on structure is even evident when photographing the sumptuous details and embellishments on Hindu temples. Rather than staging a tourist attraction, he stresses the design and technical perfection of India’s architecture.

Despite distancing himself from a prevailing European perspective, Volwahsen’s photographs are strongly influenced by photographic trends in Germany at the time. Under the influence of the ‘New Objectivity’ movement, modernist photographers had turned their attention towards the depiction of common objects. Their isolation of details and focus on forms, symmetry and balance is also evident in Volwahsen’s compositions. Especially apparent in his close ups, the refined use of light, contrasting tonal fields and use of angles takes the subject matter of archways, domes and columns towards pure form and abstraction. Through these photographs we can appreciate the extraordinary subject matter and pay tribute to the architects and craftsmen responsible. Furthermore, in standing these photographs apart from his written work, we can also enjoy them on a more formal level. 

 

Norman Parkinson

In a career that spanned seven decades, Norman Parkinson dazzled the world with his sparkling inventiveness as a fashion photographer. His long association with Vogue and numerous assignments for Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country and other international magazines brought him worldwide recognition. His impulsive and unstructured style changed forever the static, posed approach to fashion photography, while his enchanting, idiosyncratic persona charmed his sitters and projected an alluring and glamorous public image.

Norman Parkinson’s trip to India was an incredible experience for him and for the readers of Vogue. When British Vogue suggested that he do a major shoot in India, Parkinson welcomed it. He knew instinctively that his readers wanted to see not only the fashion but also the country. For decades photographers had travelled to India and taken topographical images, but Parkinson went to India with a different eye. His plan was to take Western fashion and combine it with Indian style. And it worked, the clothes blended beautifully with the surroundings. It was an ideal marriage- the dress, the coat, the outfit, contrasted, yet complemented by, the richness of the Indian architecture and landscape.

In November 1956 when British Vogue hit the newsstands, the fashion world was stunned by Parkinson’s contemporary and fresh look at India. Parkinson had travelled throughout India from the south of Mahabalipuram to Kashmir, and he captured the mood, the ambience and above all the colour. Diana Vreeland, the then editor of Harper’s Bazaar was entranced by Parkinson’s Indian images famously proclaiming ‘How clever of you, Mr Parkinson also to know that pink is the navy blue of India.’ This became the title for Tasveer’s 2012 exhibition of his work.

Parkinson’s innate understanding of India and its diversity separated him from other photographers who had travelled there. He had a classical sensibility combined with a truly modern take on the world. He was always a risk taker. His most successful photographs are the ones he took outdoors. Parkinson’s work is unrivalled in the 20th Century photographic portfolio. He was an incisive portraitist and photographed many of the greatest icons of the 20th Century, as well as some of the world’s most beautiful women. Shining through his work is Park’s inimitable wit and style, and his unique eye for glamour and beauty. 

 

Flor Garduno

Flor Gardun?o is renowned as one of the most outstanding representatives of Latin American photography. Linked to a tradition of photo poets (an outstanding pupil of Manuel Alvarez Bravo), she focuses on the Mexican popular lifestyle, packed with an artistic sensitivity that has carried her beyond her country to be transformed into one of the most salient exponents of contemporary photography.

Flor Gardun?o’s photography is autobiographically ingrained. She becomes a model of herself and what the observer lastly sees are extensions of her own self. “It is my own artistic quest, a search of the different persons that exist in my dreams” she says. She has the gift to show in her pictures how life reveals itself and faces her. And part of that life is the native American culture in which myth and rituals stay alive. Gardun?o’s recent work focuses on the nude, the still life and the object they are used as metaphors to illustrate aspects of Latin American culture.

Gardun?o left school early to work as a darkroom assistant for Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002), the most influential Mexican photographer of the 20th century. She travelled to rural villages throughout Mexico with a team of photographers and artists seeking subjects to illustrate primary school textbooks for indigenous communities, giving her the opportunity to learn about rural Mexico, especially the plight of indigenous peoples. Gardun?o began to develop her own unique style, infusing descriptive photography with mystical archetypes characteristic of Mexican Surrealism. Today she is known for her haunting images of native peoples throughout the Americas, along with her symbolic nudes and still-lifes.

Flor Gardun?o’s work is in the permanent collections of several public institutions including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Centre for Creative Photography, Tucson; the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico; Bibliothe?que National de France, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Ko?ln, Germany; and many other public and private collections. 

Exhibition Schedule

Delhi

30 January - 02 February 2022


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