SALAAM BOMBAY:BEAUTY AND CHAOS WITHIN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
Curated By Jasmine Wahi, Independent Curator, Co-Founder Of Project For Empty Space
Hamra Abbas | Samira Abbassy | Jaishri Abichandani | Amina Ahmed | Sama Alshaibi | Shelly Bahl | Anjali Bhargava | Shweta Bhattad | Pratima Björkdahl | Marcy Chevali | Ruby Chishti | Chitra Ganesh | Tanya Goel | Sadia Jamal | Ayesha Kamal | Swati Khurana | Tayeba Lipi | Divya Mehra | Huma Mulji | Sa'dia Rehman | Hiba Shabbazz | Soody Sharifi | Meenakshi Thirukode
ANJALI BHARGAVA, Ladies Compartment 1,
2006 Digital C-print
SOODY SHARIFI, The Demonstration, 2012 37" x 36", 93 x 91 cm, Archival inkjet print, (edition of 6)
Throughout the history of global art, the idea of the city—the undulating and varying components of the urban landscape—has served as a primary source of inspiration for artists of all backgrounds. Salaam Bombay: Beauty and Chaos within the Urban Environment is a conglomerated curatorial homage to the city.
The exhibition offers audiences various perspectives from which to understand the different layers of the city—from exploration of the city’s physical nature to its social, or collective, human element, as well as the individual’s navigation of urban space. Although this exhibition was originally inspired by Mira Nair’s beautiful and provocative 1988 film, Salaam Bombay!, I have chosen to ignore the geographical specificity of Bombay and instead extract its components—good, bad, and ugly—as a symbol of a larger idea of urbanity, of more universal or general motifs found within all urban environments. Drawing from the experience and expression of artists from the Middle East to South Asia, Salaam Bombay offers a personal, yet nonpartisan, presentation of the city.
About the curator: Jasmine Wahi is a New York City–based curator and the co-founder of Project for Empty Space, a nonprofit arts organization that is dedicated to bringing contemporary art to communities through the use of abandoned and unusual urban spaces. Ms. Wahi currently serves on the board of directors of the South Asian Women’s Creative
PRESENTED BY TALLY BECK CONTEMPORARY (NEW YORK, NY, USA)
ARTIST: Laurens Tan
LAURENS TAN, Babalogic II (Version 1), 2009, ABS architectural plastics, dual channel projection
Laurens Tan’s text-based, multimedia installations explore linguistic evolution and the ambiguities of translation and language pedagogy. Quoting Pieter Brueghel’s Tower of Babel in both digitized video and three-dimensional formats, Tan delineates the influence of Western culture on the Chinese lexicon. His large-?scale video installation, featuring a mosaic of blinking and winking eyes, references a spurious education technique that highlights the challenges of language acquisition—particularly in the cases of English speakers learning Mandarin and vice versa.
PRESENTED BY ART LEXÏNG (MIAMI, FL, USA)
ARTIST: Qin Weihong
QIN WEIHONG, Guardian of Life, 47" x 31" x 69", 120 x 80 x 175 cm, Bronze sculpture
One of the most talented, dynamic emerging artists in the contemporary Chinese sculpture scene, Qin Weihong injects a hypnotic, dreamy melancholy into his life-?size sculptures. Inspired by childhood fantasy and mythic animal-human hybrids, Weihong tears viewers away from politics, religion, and the banality of everyday living. His new series, Guardians, melds adolescents and forest creatures into unusual protectors and companions: the “invisible friend” we never had or the critter we hoped would come to life when we left our bedrooms. Weihong brings the Asiatic dialogue on “cuteness” into a visual, but rigid format in his vivid resin figures. They exist on the fringes of emotional comfort and in the depths of daydreams. These extraterrestrial friends shield our most precious, most forgotten psychological anchors: romanticism, life, fantasy, naivety, beauty, purity, calmness, and imprisonment.
Qin Weihong was born in Shandong Weifang, China, in 1985. He graduated from the prestigious China Fine Arts Academy in Beijing, with a focus on sculpture, and was awarded first prize at the 2008 graduate exhibition. Weihong has shown at the Xi Island Museum, the Songzhuang Art Village Museum, and at Art Beijing, where his work was met with critical and commercial success. The Today Art Museum in Beijing will host Weihong’s first solo exhibition in November 2012. Art Asia 2012 marks Weihong’s debut in the United States.
MIX MATCH (2012)
PRESENTED BY UPRISE ART (NEW YORK, NY, USA)
ARTIST: Pratima Björkdahl
PRATIMA BJÖRKDAHL, Mix+Match, 2012
Dimensions variable, Multimedia installation and interactive tool: iPhone application
Mix+Match is a multimedia, interactive installation that creates composite photographic portraits of people from different backgrounds, using technology, interactivity, social media, and content sharing. Björkdahl creates a theoretical representation of contemporary culture and uses the visual mixing of cultures and races to reflect the perpetual integration within our shrinking global culture.
Inspired by the traditional game “mix and match,” each portrait is divided into four squares, which users can rearrange with a swipe motion to create a unique face. There are more than one million distinct combinations.
The release of the Mix+Match iPhone app coincides with Art Asia 2012, and is part of the Salaam Bombay: Beauty and Chaos in the Urban Environment exhibition. The remixed images will be projected onto a large screen, and visitors can download the app from the iTunes store, join in creating and discussing new portraits, and share their creations through the app’s integrated social media.
Additional works by Pratima Björkdahl can be found at the Uprise Art booth.
PAPER TIGER ARMY (2012)
PRESENTED BY UPRISE ART (NEW YORK, NY, USA)
ARTIST: Fay Ku
FAY KU, Paper Tiger Army (detail), 2012
Dimensions variable, Silkscreen print on handmade Japanese paper and archival adhesive
Originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum in 2012, Paper Tiger Army is the realization of several cultural and personal themes from artist Fay Ku’s life. Born in the year of the tiger, Ku has consistently defined herself in close association with her Chinese zodiac symbol.
In Chinese, to call someone a paper tiger is an insult—albeit not one that is particularly strong or profane. Growing up in the United States, Ku found this phrase to be strange, exotic, and intriguing. For this installation, she chose paper material for its associations with Chinese cultural history and the funerary ritual of burning joss paper (paper money). Paper Tiger Army is also influenced by First Emperor Shihuangdi’s terracotta army necropolis.
Ku crafts each tiger through screen printing, hand cutting, and assembling seven individual pieces of paper. The silkscreened pattern comprises the character for tiger written in seal script, an ancient calligraphic form used on bronze vessels. This script recalls the idea of sutras—repeating a word over and over in a meditative practice.
Individual paper tigers and additional works by Fay Ku can be found at the Uprise Art booth.
THROUGH ANCIENT EYES
PRESENTED BY GB-AIBO ASIAN ART (RYE, NY, USA)
ARTIST: Marlene Rose
MARLENE ROSE, Merlot Large Eternity Relic, 2012
10'4" x 3'6" x 10" Sandcast glass and steel
Large Eternity Relic was created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Studio Art Glass movement. The process that American-born Marlene Rose uses is based on the thousands of years old tradition of bronze casting, adapted only recently for glass.
“In Large Eternity Relic, as in all my work,” says Rose, “I look to my real and imaginary forebears for the root inspiration.
“This work refers to a distant system of symbols that derive their power and strength from the common core we share with our ancestors. I feel myself riding this ancient energy, and in the glass, I reach out through time, linking the shards of what I have seen, linking these unnamed emotions, these visions, and these part-?remembered memories of the past.”
Rose has won numerous awards for her glass sculpture and is internationally known in museums, as well as among top art and glass galleries. Her works are collected by the glass cognoscenti, by fine-art collectors, and by Hollywood A list celebrities.
INDELIBLE SCENT AND MARRY MY EGG
PRESENTED BY GALLERY COSMOS (DHAKA, BANGLADESH)
ARTISTS: Monica Jahan Bose And Preema Nazia Andaleeb
MONICA JAHAN BOSE, Indelible Scent (performance still), 2012
Dimensions variable Archival pigment print (photo credit: Siobhan Rigg)
Gallery Cosmos presents two performances by two female artists. In their work, Preema Nazia Andaleeb and Monica Jahan Bose address gender, power, and the female body. Andaleeb’s piece, Marry My Egg, and Bose’s performance/installation, Indelible Scent, each present a woman carrying out a repetitive food-related act—one eating eggs while wearing bridal attire, the other chopping onions in a bed under a canopy of saris. Both artists use food to refer to consumption, fertility, and sexuality.
Andaleeb’s Marry My Egg critiques the blind, automatic way in which the ritual of marriage, along with assignation of gender roles, is carried out, over and over for generations. Preema Nazia Andaleeb lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has had 14 solo exhibitions at home and abroad. She has participated in the Asian Art Biennale, Tashkent Biennale, Istanbul Biennale, Venice International Art Expo, and Sharjah Biennale (2009).
Bose’s Indelible Scent shows a woman wielding a knife in bed, methodically, sometimes violently, cutting onions (forbidden to Hindu widows for a supposed link to passion). Blurring the line between a private and public space, the performance speaks to love, longing, and loss, and questions the traditional role of women as passive and chaste. Monica Jahan Bose is a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist based in Washington DC. She is currently working on Her Words: Storytelling with Saris, a collaborative printmaking and story project celebrating art and literacy, with women from her ancestral village in the Bay of Bengal who recently learned to read.