The Fuller Building, 14 November 2018 – 25 May 2019
India Habitat Centre, 1 – 11 February 2018
This historic exhibition based on the association twenty-seven Indian artists had with art institutions, museums and art movements in Paris throws light on France as a cradle of modernism and what Indian artists gained from this relationship.
What we know considerably less of—and this is ironic—is the very large number of artists from India who have in greater or smaller measure been influenced by Paris and its derivative movements. Over the years, we have gained peripheral knowledge of various Indian artists who have gone to France to study art, but we know considerably less of how her artists have influenced their work. Certainly, we have never viewed them as a group who might have shared similar experiences, whether at an institution of art education, or her wonderful museums and galleries. That many of them were students at a time when Paris probably had the largest concentration of well-known artists must have impacted their perspective and understanding of their own art in ways beyond measure. Art is an individual pursuit and response, but their collective experience could add to our own understanding of their practice.
It was with this in mind that we at DAG decided to approach this project. The exhibition, based on extensive research by DAG and texts written by Dr. Devika Singh (Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge) and Kishore Singh (DAG, Head – Exhibitions & Publications) is designed by scenographer Adrien Gadére (at the New York gallery), and explores the influence of French artistic movements on Indian artists from the 1920s onwards. Featuring significant Indian modernists such as Amrita Sher-Gil, S.H. Raza, Jehangir Sabavala and Ram Kumar, who studied in Paris or made it their home, the exhibition will look at their individual and collective journeys. This explores the mapping of the significance of the city to them, the artists they met there, and the French influence on their artistic repertoires.
The presence of Indian artists in France, such as Amrita Sher-Gil and Shiavax Chavda, and the presentation of Rabindranath Tagore’s painterly work, dates back to the inter-war period. But the number of Indian artists living in France significantly increased after the Second World War’