MoCA of the Month
Devi Art Foundation
Inaugurated in August 2008, this month’s chosen MoCA is a very young, not-for-profit institution.
The inaugural exhibition Still Moving Image showcased Indian contemporary works both from photography and video/cinema. The exhibition sought to explore different considerations of ‘movement’, both as an artistic tool, as well as a depiction of social and political movement, and emotional movement.
Curator Deeksha Nath writes: “Essentially we are not concerned with the history of video and photography as much as with the histories of ideas about video and photography.” (Still Moving Image, exhib. cat., 2008). The Foundation’s second exhibition Where in the World which was held from December 2008 to May 2009 explored how the global turn of Indian art has effected art production in India.
The growing collection is not limited to Indian works, however. The Foundation contemplates a space unconstrained from the boundaries of geo-political borders, and makes an effort to collect art from the rest of the Indian Sub-continent, hoping to exchange knowledge on the shared history and culture. The Devi Art Foundation was “envisioned as a space that would nurture contemporary cutting edge art works, and allow artists to experiment without having to worry about repercussions of the market.” (Lekha & Anupam Poddar in Still Moving Image, 2008) In this spirit, the third and fourth exhibitions to be held in the institution were dedicated to art from Pakistan, and Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, respectively. Planned exhibitions include Indian Folk & Tribal Art (November 2009 – May 2010) and Diaspora (August 2010 . December 2010).
This month, in collaboration with Asia Art Archive, The Devi Art Foundation is running a project called “What is your Dream Museum.” In the face of an ever changing museum scene the Foundation is collecting responses to this question in the form of cards which were distributed in schools and colleges, as well as through a website dedicated to the project. Selected responses will be exhibited in a booth at this year’s India Art Summit.
Devi Art Foundation
Devi Art Foundation
Plot No.39, sector 44
Behind Apparal House/Epicenter
7500 square feet
The Devi Art Foundation has been established to facilitate the viewership of creative expression and artistic practice that exist in India. This not-for-profit space will provide for innovation unconstrained by commercial limitations; to afford artists from the region engaged in cutting edge, experimental work, an art centre. Along with providing a platform for contemporary artists, we hope to interact closely with, and encourage young curators and critics, helping to give voice to their concerns.
By undermining geo-political divides, the objective of the Foundation is to foster a dialogue from within the Indian Sub-continent amongst various art practitioners, comprehensively enhancing the understanding of our shared history. A series of talks and lectures will be designed to accompany the exhibitions in an attempt to bridge the gap between art production and a wider audience. Supplementing this will be an education and outreach programme aimed at encouraging a culture where art does not remain cloistered, but becomes a matter of active discussion and debate.
Located on the premises of a corporate office, the Foundation is spread over two floors with an area of 7500 square feet. Opening in August 2008, the programme will focus on a limited number of exhibitions each year, curated out of the Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collection. These will be on view for a substantial period to allow the general public time to engage with the exhibits.
As one of the most comprehensive compilations of contemporary art in India, the Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collection is comprised of significant artworks in media as varied as painting, sculpture, interactive installation, video, and photography, reflecting the collectors’ cross-disciplinary interests. Even as representations of India’s folk and tribal traditions have been integrated into the core of the collection, other countries in the Sub-continent such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Tibet have a growing and substantial voice.
While the collection was initiated by Lekha in the 1980’s with works from the Bengal School, the ‘Progressive Artists Group,’ and others who were active at the time, Anupam’s own interests lie in experimental and cutting edge art forms. His forays into the art world began approximately a decade ago, when he began pursuing works by artists of his generation – like Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Sudarshan Shetty, Anita Dube,A. Balasubramaniam, and Mithu Sen – to whose practice he felt he could better relate. Together, Lekha and Anupam have nurtured a Collection, which finds articulation through challenging works that explore a plethora of concerns; artists from the region, who take risks in their respective practices, are encouraged and supported from an early stage in their career.
Growing out of this private passion – with a much greater charge through its exhibitions, artists’ interactions, and education and outreach programme – the Devi Art Foundation, is committed to introducing contemporary art practice to public discourse.