Taking art out of the gallery, to pop-ups and Instagram
Walk into interior designer Ravi Vazirani’s studio this weekend, and you’ll literally be bumping into art works.
Near a couch, you’ll find Tragedy of Lore — an abstract painting that infuses the bull from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica with geometric figures representing Warli art. On his terrace, you will find canvases that juxtapose Mughal miniature-style art with Western abstract styles.
In all, there will be 25 works of art by Viraj Mithani sprinkled across his two-level space in Bandra.
The exhibition, titled Eastern Affair, marks the debut pop-up gallery by Cultivate Art, a platform connecting emerging artists with new-age art collectors. “The idea is to help you engage with art in an informal setting. It’s for those who are interested in art collection but find gallery spaces intimidating,” says art consultant Farah Siddiqui, who recently curated the Elephant Parade India.
For Cultivate Art, she has collaborated with friend and art consultant / curator Amy Stafford, previously associated with Damien Hirst and the Newport Street Gallery in London.
The duo plans to organise 10 pop-ups through the year, across India. Each show will also be accessible on the Cultivate Art website and Instagram account. “These platforms offer a more personalised art-viewing experience and make art accessible globally,” says Stafford. “We’ve been careful to display each image of the works in accurate colour.” Prices start at Rs 15,000.
Mithani, 24, is a Mumbai-born artist who studied and worked in Chicago for six years before returning home last March. “The traditional Indian art forms have been overshadowed by the turmoil of colonisation and Western art dominance,” he says. “My work is an attempt to reclaim the ignored facets of Indian art history.”
He combines painting techniques with traditional printing processes and giclee printing or fine art digital prints “to challenge the historical segregation between the mediums”.
The works are labour-intensive, with Mithani meticulously cutting out strips and anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms from a digital print and strategically superimposing them on paintings and prints to offer a sense of projected reality.