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Inspired by da Vinci, Bharat Dalal’s retrospective to be held in New York

By Siddhi Jain

Titled ‘Beyond Borders’, a major posthumous retrospective of late artist Bharat Dalal will be showcased at the Indian Consulate in New York in August 2021. Organized by Arth Art International, it will feature a series of six humongous paintings inspired by the works of the Leonardo da Vinci.

Dalal (1955-2018) is the creator of this series called ‘The Fossilized Passions of Da Vinci’ which took him over five years to complete. An exemplary painter who possessed a scientific bent of mind, coupled with a philosophical outlook, Dalal felt an unexplained, yet strong connection with the universal genius of da Vinci. For this series, Dalal took a selection of da Vinci’s paintings and introduced them to an added layer of expressionism. One of the most intriguing features of his art was the technique. He hung the huge  canvases from the ceiling with the help of pulleys. With sheer skill he would cover the negative spaces around the required portion and drop the desired color on it. He let the force of gravity define the flow of the paint, allowing the hues to naturally adopt the pattern.

The series, accompanied by handwritten poems and in-depth manuscripts by the artist, provide the viewer an opening to partake in the universal metamorphosis so integral to da Vinci.

‘Ginevra De Benci’ and ‘The Last Supper’ by Bharat Dalal. (Photos courtesy IANSLife)

Said Dr Bernadette Escalona-Cooper, curator, “Bharat Dalal was an international artist of Indian origin, did his magnificent paintings in the USA (LA to be precise), and examined the works of the Italian great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. He could have been a phenomenal or forgotten artist. But in retrospect, the geniuses behind this ambitious art exhibit call him phenomenal because of his ingenuity and introspective mind.”

 “Beyond Borders shall prove to be a visual delight for viewers. Though inspired by da Vinci’s works, they possess a unique non-replicable technique used by the artist and the philosophical quest for the universal equivalence,” Vikash Nand Kumar, co-curator of the exhibition, added.

Bharat Dalal did his magnificent paintings in the USA, so it is fitting that the Indian Consulate in New York is hosting his retrospective in August. .
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Latest News USA

NFTs are much bigger than an art fad

Kicker:- For the uninitiated, NFTs are tokenized versions of assets that can be traded on a blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.

Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous digital artist Pak and NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.

The auction house sold The Fungible Collection, a “novel collection of digital art redefining our understanding of value”, for more than $17 million.

Some pieces, such as “The Switch”, a monochrome 3D construction that is going to be changed by the artist at some unspecified moment in the future, received bids well in excess of $1 million.

For the uninitiated, NFTs are tokenised versions of assets that can be traded on a blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Whereas one bitcoin is directly interchangeable with another, meaning they are fungible, NFTs are the opposite because the underlying assets are unique in some ways and can’t be exchanged like for like.

This uniqueness enabled Christie’s to sell digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT in March for an mouth-watering $68 million. For those that don’t have that sort of money, NFTs are also being used for trading collectables like baseball cards and computer gaming items like swords and avatar skins.

The excitement around NFTs feeds a similar narrative to other recent price surges such as GameStop and dogecoin, in that these are speculative bubbles brought about by stimulus cheques in the US, lockdown boredom and low interest rates.

Look no further than celebrities like music star Grimes and YouTuber Logan Paul releasing their own flagship NFTs to ride the wave. Even Vignesh Sundaresan, the entrepreneur who bought Beeple’s record-breaking artwork, sees investing in NFTs as a “huge risk” and “even crazier than investing in crypto”.

But history also tells us to be careful about dismissing NFTs as a passing fad, since the importance of technological innovations often becomes clearer once the hype dies down. Many commentators dismissed the influx of tech companies around the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s, and the first wave of mass cryptocurrency enthusiasm in 2017, only to be proven hopelessly wrong when Amazon and bitcoin re-emerged.

NFTs themselves are actually well down from their highs, with a 70% drop in average price since February. Perhaps this is less the bursting of a bubble than a “weeding out” of gimmicky tokens now that the initial hype has begun to die down.

In an effort to reestablish “authority” over the usage of her likeness, Emily Ratajkowski, celebrity model, is minting a nonfungible token, or NFT, which will be auctioned at Christie’s on 14 May. The piece will be titled ‘Buying Myself Back: A Model for Redistribution.’ (Photo courtesy NYT)
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‘I want to tell the world our stories through art’

Muthulakshmi Anu Narasimhan’s manifesto as an artist

All my life I’ve been an artist. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been painting. It has helped me combat trauma, insecurities, and stress. But it hasn’t been a short road to becoming a full-time artist. I started off as a computer scientist in college actually, and found it not to my liking. Not because the subject matter was difficult, but for my creative brain, dull and not artistically motivating. So, after a year of being uninspired, I changed my major to studio art.

Portrait of a Harari woman .

Studying art teaches you that art is hard work and that it requires as much discipline as other areas of studies. But then graduation loomed and the world often tells us artists that we won’t survive in the real world. That what we learned is useless and unmarketable. After working in the corporate world for many years, I can say this is not true. Art has truly been the most valuable thing I have ever studied. So much so that I quit my job last January to become a full-time artist.

Indian culture is rich in many kinds of art and that is what drives me. I want to tell the stories of us. I grew up in the Netherlands and ended up here in America for university. The stories in the Indian diaspora are as rich and diverse as the history of Indian art. And that is why I want to tell the world our stories. I want to show the world how the Indian diaspora incorporates its culture of origin with its life outside. How our trials and tribulations are both unique and common. In art, everything is beautiful and everything deserves to be told.

The Little Balloon Seller of Pushkar .

I like to think that my art is colorful because our stories and culture are so colorful! My grandmother always jokes that those who have their origins in the subcontinent can genetically not wear subdued colors. While I disagree, I do think our culture conditions us to have an affinity for color. And that love of color makes its way into my art. After all, what is a celebration of our stories without the color to go along with it?

The thing that has surprised me so much in my artistic journey is how encouraging and excited people that I meet are about the fact that I like to tell stories through my art. They see reflections of their childhood, their experiences, and even their bygone family members in my art. I think that is a reminder that while fine art may not be something most people pursue, it is hard to extract it from us. And that’s why it’s not just in my blood, but in yours too.


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Latest News USA

Fusion art taking a dig at the Orientalist

An art exhibition showcasing works by American born photographer Waswo X. Waswo, in collaboration with Rajasthani miniaturist Rajesh Soni and traditional terracotta sculptor Shyam Lal Kumhar, is open for viewing at a Delhi-based gallery till September 28.

Part portraiture from Waswo and Soni’s well-known Studio in Rajasthan series, and part spoof on both the studio process and the photographer himself – this exhibition by Gallery Latitude 28 calls attention to the place of performance, or the “stage”, upon which studio photography is enacted.

The title, ‘We Are Always Working’, references the ongoing process Waswo and his studio engage in, both physically, as well as in a wider philosophical discourse concerning his practice and methods. The exhibition is curated by Bhavna Kakar.

Waswo X. Waswo’s career in India has spanned almost two decades, utilizing the medium of studio photography is a method of self-discovery, navigating between personal revelation and inspired fantasy. With traditionally hand-painted backdrops, the photographic studio became a quasi-diorama in which Waswo and his models playfully devised a series of tableaux. His elaborate processes, involving casting local people as ‘models’ in the photo shoots, are akin to co-operative theater performances.

Waswo’s sepia photographs, hand painted by Udaipur based photo hand colorist Rajesh Soni, take on a dream-like quality, which harks back to ethnographic photography of bygone eras while maintaining temporal roots in the contemporary. Interplay develops between the villagers who populate his work, the caricature of Waswo himself and ‘artefacts’, which he inspects under a magnifying glass.

As the protagonist of many of the photographs, dressed incongruously in a white suit and fedora hat, he takes on the role of ‘The Orientalist’, interspersed throughout the exhibition.

Source: IANS Life

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La Biennale Paris and Christie’s to host online-only auction

More than 50 internationally renowned dealers, brought together by La Biennale Paris and the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, will be invited to participate in an online auction at Christie’s from September 10 to 21, 2020. The planned sale follows the postponement of the 32nd edition of La Biennale Paris to September 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the health risks associated with the organization of an international event. All disciplines will be represented, covering 6,000 years of art history. From antiquity to contemporary art, from classic furniture to design, dealers will offer a carefully established selection of works and objets d’art, of furniture and jewelry. The works offered online will also be exhibited and on view at the participating galleries, for the duration of the sale.
La Biennale Paris announced, on May 11, the postponement of its 32nd edition to September 2021. The measures it put in place, in March, allowed exhibitors to avoid any financial risks in 2020. Georges De Jonckheere, President of La Biennale Paris, commented, “La Biennale Paris is an event organized by dealers for dealers. It is essential that we support the profession in this unprecedented crisis with new and appropriate initiatives. We are very pleased to be partnering with Christie’s for this sale. Christie’s wide reach and extensive capacities worldwide will bring great visibility to dealers and will enable them to reach out to new collectors.”
Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s said, “Christie’s has the utmost respect for antique dealers and gallerists, whom we consider key art market players and privileged partners, particularly in the period we are living through. The prestige of La Biennale Paris and its ambitions for the future add to our enthusiasm to build an innovative and ambitious online auction, together. Christie’s digital resources and sales networks in the world will be deployed to ensure the greatest level of success for this project.”
In 2020, La Biennale Paris made a commitment to donate the profits from its Gala Dinner to the “Mission Stephane Bern” for the protection of historic monuments and ancient buildings. Christie’s will support this commitment and will donate a part of the proceeds from this sale to the “Mission Stephane Bern”, underlining the cultural dimension of the project.

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