As any artist will confess, gazing at artworks within the clinical environs of an art gallery robs one of the sheer madness that precedes the act of creation. Perhaps, to really understand works of art, it helps if the viewer gets a chance to witness the artist at work.
Bridge the divide
To bridge this gap between artist and viewer, non-profit arts organisation Asia Society India Centre, in association with auction house Christie’s, will host the first session of Rendezvous with the Artist.
The four-part series will feature organised visits to the hitherto off-limits studios of internationally-recognised artists who are active in Mumbai. Viewers can listen to first-hand accounts from artists about their artworks, discuss their inspirations and learn about their artistic process and upcoming projects.
For the first session, participants will head to Shilpa Gupta’s 800 square feet studio in Bandra. Gupta’s sculptures, photographs and installations have been exhibited at institutions as the Tate Modern, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
“Viewers will get an overview of the process of making art and view artworks in different stages of execution. During the one hour 45 minute session, I will share some of my works on the projector and showcase ongoing semi-finished works,” says Gupta.
Previously, she has had visitors from Europe and USA including some from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, who have visited her studio: “The response to such sessions is very positive. In an informal setting, people don’t feel daunted to ask questions.”
Some of the artworks on display include her interactive shadow installations where the viewer finds his actions being recorded by a video projector. During the session, she will also describe her year-long foray in designing sets for the Théâtre du Châtelet (Châtelet opera house in Paris).
“We were staging the opera Nixon in China for which I made certain installation pieces including a chandelier made up of 50 television sets to represent Nixon’s manipulation of the media. It is based on the historic meeting of US president Richard Nixon with Mao Zedong in 1972,” informs
Gupta, alluding to the ripples created when the head of the capitalist USA and communist China met face-to-face.
Susan Hapgood, Consultant, Arts and Culture Programming, Asia Society India Centre, says that the aim behind the sessions is to generate dialogue and discussion about art. “The artist is able to meet the audience on their own turf and share their experiences while the viewer gets to watch the environment where the artist works.
Otherwise, it’s mostly curators or gallery owners who are privy to the artist’s workspace. These sessions differ from the opening of an art exhibition as well ,” she states, adding that such sessions are uncommon abroad.