Monday, April 27, 2015

Fwd: We are not your Native Informers Series II | Dubai | Extended to 10 May

We are not your Native Informers Series II 
1X1 Gallery,  Al Quoz, Dubai 
Exhibition extended until 10 May 2015 
Saturdays to Thursday, Timings 11 am - 8 pm  Fridays closed
Yogesh Barve ,  Dubai 2015 

Justin Ponmany

Simon Liddiment 

Janek Simon

Yogesh Barve

Kemi Bassene 

Sachin Bonde 

Curated by Sumesh Sharma Clark House Initiative 

Exhibition making cannot often begin its premise in an act of refusal.  But the idea of exoticism often enacts the plot of many exhibitions where it seduces a varied set of economic factors that prescribe to its need.  Geo-political concerns privilege certain economies over others, collectors often invest in emerging nations,  that categorisation not only is based on right fiscal factors but rather on a deeper acceptance of a certain country by world powers.  Thus geo-politically if you are out of vogue a representation in a biennale becomes seldom to get by and nor do Art Fairs base their talks on practices from the region.  The Art Economy is based on a play of complex permutations that script the trend of exhibitions and market frenzies during a given period.  Perhaps a mid aged artist from a western economy doesn't auto-generate interest from collectors?  Or India exists in the auction frenzy from the past?  Museums are interested in Mozambique?  
Thus our exhibition 'We are not your Native Informers'  a second in a series becomes an act of refusal to the subtle racism many such speculative frenzies insure a participation in.  The exhibition begins with a sculpture of a Dog - Headed man, a 3-D print by the Polish artist Janek Simon made by processing a renaissance period illustration of Marco Polo's travels in Asia.  Marco Polo's travelogue is seen as an accurate account except for him reporting of encounters with dog-headed men.  Marco Polo was describing the Adamanese people as the dog-headed cannibals.  Most indigenous tribes in the Andamans which is a set of islands in the Indian Union were made extinct by diseases brought onto the islands by the colonising British,  now the tribes like the Jarawa live in communities that refuse contact with Indian settlers.  Recently they were lured by tourists visiting the islands who would photograph them by offering them food.  It was common to have such interaction with them,  curator Amanda Beth Sroka found photographs from the 1950's of the Jarawas while sorting through a bunch of private photographs in an antique store in Fort Kochi.  This image that captures the exotic lens becomes the first curatorial cue to the exhibition.  
Janek Simon's subsequent work in the exhibition is an animated floor carpet called 'Space Invaders'  here he puts motifs of a Caucasian carpet to act like the video game space invaders.  This is his earliest work from 2001, when he was working with video games and realised the motifs on the carpets of his parents home resembled exactly the shape of video game designs. Another work by Janek which is more recent has a similar quality of change in medium.  By changing mediums the object takes on the air of contemporaneity.  Polish artists in the 1950s and 60s would often travel to Paris visiting museums.  Most of them would spend hours at the 'Museum of Man'  rendering the 'Dogon Sculptures' from West Africa into drawings.  Janek researched the archives that held these illustrations and later rendered them into 3-D printed sculptures returning then to their original state.  
Justin Ponmany presents a set of 'Anarchist Manifestos' authored by  Francisco Ferrer for the Florentine chapter of the anarchist movement in the early 20 century.  These manifestos talked of universal humanism as a path to confront the idea of the state, an pseudo- anarchist movement in Delhi recently took power in the state defeating the fascist right.  But the so called anarchist movement like many others in Europe took on xenophobic undertones that made them popular with a section of their constituency this included leading a vigilante mob against West African immigrants in the Khirkee neighbourhood of Delhi, while one of its leaders made distasteful and sexist comments on the skin colour of nurses from Justin's home state Kerala. These manifestos are kept at a distance through an octopus mechanism of wires and bulbs that come alight only when peddled through a sewing machine, the documents sit on granite slabs underneath the bulbs making it impossible for the person peddling to access them.  Ponmany critiques the falsehoods of ideology and the ease with which people subscribe to them in passion much like his two skirt shaped lamps that reflect on the measures of censorship India and China put on their citizens , thus limiting the fertility of their minds just like menstrual stains on a skirt.  
'Rajdoe Mera Naam'  means - 'Raju is my name' .  The language used here is Bhojpuri, India's  national language does borrow literature and many words from Bhojpuri, but here it is written in Dutch.  From the beginning of the 19th century Indian indentured labourers began replacing African slaves across colonies.  The dutch tapped into a supply of this resource from the Gangetic plains specifically from villages in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.  These people found themselves in distant colonies in the Caribbean  sharing space with the Caribbeans.  The Indians brought with them their distaste for Black skin.  Thus until today Indians in the Caribbean have strained relationships with their African neighbours specially in socio-political terms.  Kemi Bassene a Senegalese artist has often reflected on this divide,   which is now imported into immigrant communities from Africa and India in Europe.  Many Indians have darker skin colours than people from Sub-Saharan Africa but their superiority complex is not hindered by this reality.  Musicians from the Surinamer Hindoestanen community in the 1970s though took on very visual Afro attitudes to popularise their music.  Bassene who is a musicologist has often used these blips in the routine to spread the idea of black consciousness among the few Indians who want to refute the colour graph of caste.  
"Simon Liddiment does not want to provide a set of information as art, rather he is interested in creating objects that inherently contain those connections which can stimulate new thoughts from understandings the viewer already possesses.He creates a grid of polygon shapes on a board that backs paintings.  This grid creates a limitation that subsequently creates many sets of freedoms for Simon to create shapes that are viewed as architectural or modernist but do not have any real reference to what is viewed. 'New Church'  has the magnitude of an Andalusian mosque or the 'Ends'  can be viewed as a drawing from Corbusier.  Rather Simon's practice is most defined by Nihilism, he painted a layer of white paint on a coat hook to create a very brittle but erotic and sensual perceived ceramic object which is rather two years of oil paint on a hook.  He drills many holes onto a ' 0 '  almost erasing the lure of the brass sign, the respectability it brings.  
Yogesh Barve ,  Dubai 2015 
Yogesh Barve's 'Product'  has a a low tech loop of bulbs that are used as night-lamps by the religious who have their deities or signs of the religion printed on them, by closely placing them together in a loop Yogesh creates a cinematic distraction from the printed visuals.  He alternately juxtaposes them near a ceramic bowl minted in Maastricht, bought from Burma to Fort Kochi and contains the Islamic sign of the crescent and the star.  The popular visual culture of all religions use similar signs and products despite their deep conflicts.  Barve while during a residency in Indonesia found a dead rat, he dried its bones and then painted it in cheap silver paint.  He installed the painted bones like a set of diamonds on the red vermillion paper often used by jewellers in India to display jewellery.  In another instance he created a chandelier inspired by Alexander Calder's kinetic sculpture where he uses non-political signs, signs that denote no meaning made with a blacksmith in Ezhupunna,  Kerala who usually designs sickles for communist cadres.  MENASA 15,  is a set of prints where he mixes images from a Christies catalogues of diverse works that have slotted together as Islamic Art,  creating a visual representative of such an unnatural grouping.  A set of videos commissioned by Ibraaz, a publication on the middle east inform you of Barve's lack of knowledge on a world he has just begun discovering through travel but also his own curiosity that he reflects through either documenting,  creating works or downloading videos from the internet.   
Exoticism creates a distance that separates us,  travelogues are interesting only if exaggerated, the human experience largely across continents is similar, one of them is sensuality.  Art is common experience which needs un-privileged access.  A set of Aluminium Kerosene cans which have gold leaf prints of the the map of UAE sit at the entrance of the show, Sachin Bonde often comments on the politics of oil and the subsidies attached to it.  India and the Emirates are tied to each other through many complex realities one being India's dependance on the UAE for oil and the Emirates counter-dependance on India for labour.  Oil, India's most expensive import is subsidised to millions of poor in India through the Kerosene cans  that distribute them to the unemployed. 
Sumesh Sharma Dubai 2015 

Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative and a union of artists based in Bombay.

Clark House curates a series of programs at Gallery 1x1 Dubai searching for intersections of commonality across a proposed solidarity described as the Global South. The exhibition program searches for those intersections in a city that is home to an undecided multiculturalism brought about by economic opportunities and a large aviation network that allows people from Africa, Asia and South America to assemble in Dubai. The program is curated by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma in conversation with Malini Gulrajani. This collaboration came into being at the initiative of the Bombay-based artist Justin Ponmany. 

1X1 Art Gallery

Founded in 1996 by Malini Gulrajani, 1x1 Art Gallery has established itself as the hub of Indian Contemporary Art in Dubai. The gallery provides established and emerging artists with a platform for projects and exhibitions while engaged in an exchange of ideas with the international art community. Since its conception the exhibition program at 1x1 has been supported by a series of serious publications both documenting the exhibitions as well as solo publications on artists represented by the gallery.

Malini Gulrajani +97150 6467351+919820087874

Simi Salim: +9496031517, +97155 9258610 


Yogesh Barve , Munir,  Bandung -  Indonesia,  2014 

Incidents of the Paradoxical Gaze

Yogesh Barve & Clark House Initiative

Conceived as a series of vignettes to be viewed in succession, Incidents of the Paradoxical Gaze comprises of short films, MMS footage, and collages presented on Snapchat. Focusing on the micro and the macro, the personal and collective, the works touch upon ideas of authenticity, censorship and the distribution of culture. The project proposes a re/mapping of 'imagined geographies', and considers afresh the contemporary narratives that exist between the Global South, the Middle East, and beyond through these amalgamated narratives.

Yogesh Barve (b.1989) is an Indian artist based in Mumbai, India. Barve's artistic practice encompasses sculpture, film, multimedia installations and site-specific works. A common thread throughout his work is a critique of our cultural fragmented thinking. Barve uses the idea of the slash in the form of un/learning, de/constructing and non/conformism, and as a means of thinking and working. Using a range of materials, including found objects, digital technologies, such as his mobile phone camera, and search and game engines, Barve's work examines social and cultural experiences of in/equality, ir/rationality, the un/invited, and the in/outsider. Barve is a member of Clark House Initiative.

Yogesh Barve is a resident at the Google Cultural Institute,  Paris as a part of the 89 plus program curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist & Simon Castets along with Julie Boukobza. Yogesh Barve was invited to be a comissioned artist at the online journal by Amanprit Sandhu as a part of the Ibraaz projects. 

Alternate Geographies

Sumesh Sharma in conversation with Amanprit Sandhu

This interview between curator Amanprit Sandhu and Sumesh Sharma from the Mumbai-based collective Clark House Initiative considers the cultural history of Indian cinema, and the use of DIY filmmaking techniques in reimagining the 'Global South'. Discussing previous projects, and Ibraaz's online commission Incidents of the Paradoxical Gaze, this interview is accompanied by a 008 project by commissioned artist and Clark House member Yogesh Barve.


Amanprit Sandhu is an independent curator and producer based in London, UK. She is the co-founder of the curatorial collective DAM Projects. The collective use temporary exhibitions and events to support emerging, underexposed and unorthodox artists, art scenes, discourses and debates. Recent roles include Curator of the performance programme at Art13/14 London art fair (2012-14); Producer on the 2014 Folkestone Triennial (2013-14); Project Manager at Frieze Foundation (2012), and Assistant Curator at the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art (2009-11).




Sumesh Sharma (1983) is a curator informed by alternate art histories that often include cultural perspectives informed by socio-economics and politics. Immigrant Culture in the Francophone, Vernacular Equalities, Movements of Black Consciousness in Culture are his areas of interest. He co-founded the Clark House Initiative in 2010.His Masters in Research at the Universite Paul Cezanne (2008) was an Inquiry into Artist Careers, and he was part of the Gwangju Biennale Curators Course 2010 as well as the first Independent Curators International's Curatorial Intensive in Bombay. He has been a resident at ISCP New York (2012), Kadist Art Foundation Paris (2013) and the Manifesta Online Residency (2013), Casa Masaccio Tuscany (2013),  San Art - Ho Chin Minh City Vietnam (2014),  Para Site Hong Kong (2014) . Forgotten art histories and engaging young visual art practitioners to create an alternate exhibition history is his primary curatorial concern. 

Sumesh Sharma ICI's 2014 Curatorial Fellow Sumesh Sharma seeks to uncover the complex histories of colonialism in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia by examining the funding mechanisms and institutional support of art institutions that utilize the power structures put in place by colonial laws. Looking at art and activist practices in former British and French colonies as case studies, Sharma seeks to find a non-linear history of activism (during pre- and post-colonial rule) through the work of artists-as-agents of gender, sexual, and racial equality. Sharma will use the Curatorial Fellowship to follow shared artistic sensibilities across continents, investigating pragmatic and philosophical approaches to art history that subvert colonial structures and tackles systems of discrimination. In 2014 Sumesh Sharma travelled to Senegal, New York and Paris as a part of his research for his fellowship for ICI.  

Clark House Initiative, established in 2010 by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma is a curatorial collaborative concerned with ideas of freedom. Strategies of  equality have informed their work, while experiments in re-reading of histories, and concerns of representation and visibility, are ways to imagine alternative economies and freedom. Clark House Initiative intends to actively recall political and artistic figures into contemporaneity, and to question the recent rise of fascism in India based on exaggerated rumours of economic prosperity and nationalist pride.


1 comment:

  1. Nice post,i like it,thanks for sharing.Cross Borders Art Gallery keeps adding to its already huge collection of Contemporary Art in Dubai. The paintings are from every genre of art and from world famous artists.