New exhibition at Apollo Bunder spotlights Indian and Italian artists

08 June,2024 07:30 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

Traversing between cities in Italy and India, the artworks of this exhibition reflect the narratives of the inhabitants

The Continuum, Martand Khosla

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Three floors up Dhanraj Mahal at Apollo Bunder in this sweltering May heat, we head to Nature Morte gallery for Parallel Cities II. The concrete walls offer the perfect grey canvas for the artwork, juxtaposed with windows from where the city and the summer sky peek in, drawing what can only seem like a parallel between the ephemeral and the concrete.

The exhibition, inspired by Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is curated by Italian artist Andrea Anastasio and showcases the works of Indian and Italian artists, Stefano Arienti, Mayank Austen Soofi, Alice Cattaneo, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Parul Gupta, Martand Khosla, Ayesha Singh, Dayanita Singh, Diwik Singh, and Viswanadhan. Each work offers a unique perspective on what a city means to the artist, weaving together diverse mediums and conceptual frameworks. Interestingly, the viewer is invited into a kaleidoscopic exploration of urban life, personal narratives, and the collective human experience.

Anastasio, who lives between Naples and Mumbai says, " In the aim of mirroring the urban complexity, the exhibition is constructed by using the diverse artists' compositional languages to generate an intricacy of narratives. Artists who are different in terms of age, nationality, gender, social background, economic and cultural background and who use different mediums and strategies are brought under the same roof as individual and unique expressions of research. There is a logic of interconnectedness among the works and their relation with the space."

Andrea Anastasio

Gallerist Aparajita Jain says, "We were profoundly inspired by the mesmerising show we experienced at the Italian Cultural Institute in New Delhi. The artistic brilliance and emotional depth left an indelible mark on us, compelling us to invite the exceptionally talented Andrea to curate a unique exhibition, with Nature Morte at its core. The result is a show that is both meticulously crafted and deeply evocative. Every piece resonates with a profound sensitivity, capturing the delicate interplay between life and stillness." The works offer a glimpse into parallel dimensions of existence that invite us to witness the myriad stories and identities that coalesce within the intricate tapestry of our cities - real and imagined.

No city is ever one thing - it is made up of multiple perils and pitfalls of language, translation and ethnicity. As you walk through the works, almost stumble on Martand Khosla's Continuum before walking by Ayesha Singh's Flag. Mayank Austin Sufi's copy of Proust hangs on a corner column between two windows that make it seem like an extended artwork with the city peeping in. Dayanita's Bombay Cinemas House Museum and Continuous Cities lure you into a world of their own, each frame telling a different story of a time gone by.

One of our favourite works is that of artist Diwil Singh's Radio, Box with Clothes, Portrait of Kasturi Devi and Sewing Machine which tells the achingly beautiful story of his grandfather who started wearing his grandmother's sari after her death - reminding us of love, loss and a striking sense of identity, 40 years ago when cross-dressing was unheard of in their small town in Bihar.

WHEN: Till July 6, Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm
WHERE: Nature Morte, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder

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