When Art Transcends Human Creativity

the art1st blog

Delhi-based Nature Morte Gallery’s recent exhibition, ‘Gradient Descent’, seeks to establish artificial intelligence as a new genre of contemporary art-making

Ankush Arora

What happens when a statistician and an artist decide to create a new form of art? The outcome is an experimental initiative for artists and technologies of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) to reimagine creativity in contemporary art practices, while establishing a collaborative human-machine relationship. That is the stated goal of ‘64/1’, the Bengaluru-based art curation and research collective founded by brothers Karthik Kalyanaraman, whose interest in visual arts predates his career as an economist, and Raghava KK, a multidisciplinary artist known for creating an art book for children on the iPad.

And what happens when a gallerist realises that AI (broadly, the ability of machines to replicate human intelligence) is slowly beginning to shape the way we access technology? The result, this time, is a startling…

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From ‘India and the World’, a gallery tour of masterpieces on 200-year-old freedom struggles

the art1st blog

Ankush Arora

An oil painting by Amrita Sher-Gil, recently mounted at New Delhi’s National Museum, showed a confident-looking European girl with a comparatively demure Indian. The European, painted in bright yellow, had her arm around the shoulders of the visibly dark Indian girl. While the painting has been interpreted as an exploration of the artist’s mixed identity (she was born to a Sikh father and a Jewish-Hungarian mother) and her corresponding artistic influences, it also deals with a transforming social and political landscape.

‘Two Girls’ was painted by Sher-Gil during her brief visit to Budapest in 1939, around the time Europe witnessed the rise in fascism, and India a nationalist, anti-colonialism struggle against the British rule. The artwork, by one of the greatest avant-garde artists of the 20thcentury, was part of a large-scale, transcontinental collaboration that offers a unique perspective on India’s history by placing it…

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Colours, only

the art1st blog

A new exhibition in Delhi introduces the rare genre of ‘colour field’ painting to art lovers  

Ankush Arora

How does an artist’s canvas reflect natural landscapes, without using any kind of recognisable shapes, images, forms or human figures? A good example of this style of art-making is the work of Pandit Bhila Khairnar, who is known as a ‘colour field’ artist. Delhi-based Gallery Threshold recently inaugurated a solo show of the artist, who hails from Nashik city in Maharashtra.

Nashik_Flickr_Deeku's.jpg Nashik. Courtesy: Flickr

As a young man, Khairnar found himself drawn towards abstract painting, and began his training in art at Yashwant Kala Mahavidyalaya, Aurangabad, and L. S. Raheja School of Art, Mumbai. His early interest in abstract painting deeply influenced his artistic vocabulary that we see today, so much so that he is now considered one of the lesser known, but foremost, colour field painters of India.

Pandit Bhila Khairnar Profile Photo.png Pandit Bhila…

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Interwoven narratives of Indian and Thai textiles   

the art1st blog

The revival of Thai’s ‘mudmee’ silk industry is the subject of a new exhibition at New Delhi’s National Museum

Ankush Arora

Between the 14th and 18thcentury, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya (present-day Thailand) began importing various kinds of Indian textiles for the local market and royal court. These included block-printed or painted cotton from Masulipatnam (Andhra Pradesh), silk brocades from Banaras, and Gujarat’s patolaor double ikat silk—the latter was believed to have been commissioned for the Ayutthaya king during the 1660s.

1024px-Gezicht_op_Judea,_de_hoofdstad_van_Siam_Rijksmuseum_SK-A-4477.jpg Painting of Ayutthaya c.1665, painted by Johannes Vingboons, ordered by the Dutch East India Company, Amsterdam. Courtesy: Wikipedia

While the origin of silkworm breeding and silk weaving in Thailand remains unknown, the early hybridization of Indian-made textiles with Siamese (dated term for Thai people) royal court patterns began to take place sometime during the Ayutthaya kingdom, according to a new art exhibition at New Delhi’s National…

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In a rare showing, Delhi gets a glimpse of indigenous art from National Gallery of Australia

New Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art is currently showing masterpieces from Australia’s indigenous artists – a rare, large-scale project that is not only a precursor to the upcoming Australia-India Fest, but also part of India’s long-standing initiative of cementing ties with other nations through the realm of art and culture. In the recent past,…

Sunday ‘baithak’ with Ashwini Bhide Deshpande at Mumbai’s NCPA

It was a Sunday morning well spent listening to a Hindustani classical recital by vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande at Mumbai's National Centre for the Performing Arts. In a small, but cosy, musical gathering, Deshpande presented the different styles of the Todi raga that is traditionally sung during the morning hours. Todi is believed to be one of main parent scales in…

Pictures from Mumbai’s theatres

The set of Pakistan Aur Alzheimer's, a tragic-comic play about India's partition, at G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Shakti Mills Qissa Urdu Ki Akhri Kitaab Ka, a satire on contemporary appropriation and censorship of historical narratives, Prithvi Theatre, Juhu The Father, a tragi-farcical play about an Alzheimer’s patient, at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu Gypsy Under the Moon, the theatrical adaptation…

Like Vidya Balan, this melody from ‘Tumhari Sulu’ stands out too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS-0jES79d8 A composition rendered by independent artist Ronkini Gupta in new Bollywood film 'Tumhari Sulu' (Yours Sulu) is being rated as one of "finest pieces" heard this year. That may not be an overestimation, considering Bollywood's contemporary repertoire is mostly cacophony masquerading as music. "Rafu" (which means darning) has been composed by indie musician Santanu Ghatak,…

Mumbai Through My Eyes

Marine Drive, South Mumbai Marine Drive, South Mumbai Cuffe Parade Garden, South Mumbai Cuffe Parade Garden, South Mumbai Worli Seaface, one of the seven islands of Mumbai Cuffe Parade reclamation area Cuffe Parade Garden, South Mumbai Cuffe Parade Garden, South Mumbai Mumbai Fort area, built by the British; also a business district hosting large institutions…