Aditi Singh’s solo exhibition ‘some things are always burning’ opens at Chemould Prescott Road during Mumbai Gallery Weekend
For the most part, 2020 has been about living within the confines of our homes, under lockdown. For art lovers, this time has only reaffirmed the therapeutic benefits of living with art. We’ve not just been apart from our favourite pieces but also miles away from prospective acquisitions. The pandemic distanced the art fraternity by way of making art accessible only via virtual viewing rooms, PDFs and online art fairs.
But it’s 2021! New works, new energy and new shows will be launched at the ninth edition of Mumbai Gallery Weekend, which will run from Thursday 14 January to Monday 17 January 2021.
MGW is a collaborative initiative by the city’s leading galleries, and this year’s edition has a four-day, all-day preview keeping the pandemic and social distancing guidelines in mind. Galleries will be open from noon to 8pm and visitors will have access to new show previews and walkthroughs; check the schedule for updates. Some of the participating galleries are officially reopening after over 10 months!
You’re likely to encounter predominantly contemporary art across previews at MGW, but Pundole’s, an auction house in Ballard Estate, has a viewing for those who love the Modern Masters such as MF Husain, Ram Kumar and Akbar Padamsee. Pundole’s viewing is in advance of its live auction on 21 January 2021.
Whatever your plans, here are five must-see shows at Mumbai Gallery Weekend.
Aditi Singh at Chemould Prescott Road
The iconic Chemould Prescott Road, with a legacy of over 50 years and a program that includes some of the biggest names in Indian art, opens with Aditi Singh’s solo titled ‘somethings are always burning’. Singh is a contemporary artist whose work has shown extensively in solo and group exhibitions arounds the world. Every work in this exhibition speaks of Singh’s exploration of herself in contemplation, whether in the US’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the UK’s Lake District or in Nepal. The works are meditative; monochromatic landscapes invite viewers to join the artist in contemplation as the horizons document moments in time. The works speak of light, splendour, growth, fragility, tenacity—and the discipline of attentive observation.
RED at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke opens “RED”, a group show with works by artists such as Gieve Patel, Sosa Joseph and CK Rajan. I was completely drawn in by a work titled Surface by Abir Karmarkar. I’d first noticed Karmarkar’s works for his menacingly realistic paintings of indoor spaces, and I was fascinated that COVID influenced him to paint the exteriors of homes, in red-zone quarantined areas. A detail of a peeling notice on a granite slab may make you want to challenge social distancing and come dangerously close to the canvas. In addition, there are three enamel eyes: site-specific works by Anita Dubey that are a treat for gallery visitors.
OTLO: Ashiesh Shah
Ashiesh Shah, one of the biggest names in design, created Atelier Ashiesh Shah in 2017, with a vision to blur the boundaries between art and design. MGW sees the first major presentation of the atelier with OTLO, as Colaba’s iconic Indigo restaurant is transformed to exhibit over two decades of Shah’s sketches. The design objects showcase contemporary Indian craftsmanship, positioning them as heirlooms of the future. If the lockdown has had you longing for travel, you may find that the show transports you to a magical world that draws inspiration from Lucio Fontana to Louise Bourgeois.
Lubna Chowdhary at Jhaveri Contemporary
Jhaveri Contemporary opens ‘Code Switch’, the much-anticipated solo by London-based artist Lubna Chowdhary. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions all over the world, including our very own Kochi-Muziris Biennale. I love the way she dislocates cultural references and iconographies from their traditional contexts, re-imaging and recoding in a language that’s entirely her own. She marries modernist restraint with ornamental excess in a body of new work that ranges from intimate to monumental in scale.
Head in the Clouds at Chatterjee & Lal
Chatterjee & Lal opens ‘Head in the Clouds’, a group exhibition of contemporary artworks alongside historical material from classical miniatures to folk and tribal sculpture. The works provide entry points to thinking about the relationship between earth and sky, as interpreted by artists such as Rashid Rana, Kaushik Mukopadhyay, Minam Apang and Anju Dodiya. Watch out for the stunning works by Arshi Ahmadzai in possibly her first major outing in Mumbai. Ahmadzai’s practice centres largely on women and ranges across mediums such as painting, printmaking and embroidery. The show also includes some new works by Sahej Rahal and Nikhil Chopra; the first India viewing of Minam Apang’s magisterial ceiling panel commission for Dhaka Art Summit; and a wealth of classical, folk and tribal work.
Udit Bhambri is a Mumbai-based collector of modern and contemporary art