TAKE Sculpture has been long overdue. And nothing could’ve been more appropriate for the theme of the tenth issue of TAKE on art. Yes, we are proud to have completed 10 successful issues covering themes like Black, Gallery, Modern, Oeuvre, Curation, Market, Design, Biennale, Collector and now Sculpture each one becoming a collectors issue! We have tried to innovate, surprise and educate our readers by contributing to the discourse on Indian art. While we attempt to outdo ourselves with each issue and give our readers fresh perspectives from new writers – we strive to encourage critical writing not just from writers and critics, but from artists and gallerists as well. TAKE Gallery and Collector turned many a gallerist and collector into first time writers, acknowledging the importance of putting to paper and archiving experience in building an institution or art collection. Ten issues later, we can say that TAKE knows itself better now, and has managed to carve out a distinct identity.
TAKE Sculpture is an organic result of my personal investment in sculpture, going as far back as my master’s dissertation on ‘Vakataka Sculpture: Formal Analysis of the Brahmanical Period 4th – 5th Century AD’. Even today, my interest in the area materialises in the curated ventures I conceptualise and exhibit at LATITUDE 28, which has a strong focus on contemporary and cutting edge sculpture. Nek Chand’s Rock Garden that is featured on the cover (photograph by Diwan Manna) is another instance from my personal relationship with the work, as I saw it grow in my formative years spent in the ‘City Beautiful’ as Chandigarh is popularly known. My discussions with Diana Campbell over the last couple of years finally culminated in the realisation of this issue. Diana has been working extensively with Indian sculpture, and together we decided it was important to ground it in the country’s deep art history, and ‘take’ readers forward into the exciting innovation with materials that is carried out by the young generation of sculptors from India and around the world. We did not want to re-hash what readers already know, and made it a point to push the understanding of sculpture past the usual suspects while engaging some of those who have a cult status in the area through artist interventions, and profiles by international writers. The artists were incredibly generous with their time, as were the writers, sharing new material, helping us reassess the understandings of sculpture and I would like to thank each one profusely for their contributions. This has been evidenced by survey shows such as ‘Bronze’ at the Royal Academy of Art, London late last year where one material – bronze in its varying alloys have been used by diverse artists – ancient to contemporary – to realise works that are poles apart but remain linked through this versatile metal. Avni Doshi comments on this ambitious and immensely successful show in her review. In India as well, there has been such a trajectory, from the Pala and Chola bronzes (that is elaborated upon in the extensive study of the period by Hugo Weihe and Tristan Bruck) to contemporary works by artists such as Ravinder Reddy, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Himmat Shah. India’s long tradition and history of sculptures which is often taken for granted but we have not tried to historicise our study except where it was felt necessary (Seema Bawa’s article ‘A Visual Timeline of Indian Sculpture’) and have tried to maintain links that transcend a linear development (as seen in Natasha Ginwala’s article ‘Suspending States /Suspending Place: Three works’) .
We celebrate revolutionaries in their field – Louise Bourgeois, K P Krishnakumar, Somnath Hore, Ramkinkar Baij and Rina Banerjee. There are several who have been left out, given the limitations of a quarterly magazine and we feel sad but hope to feature them in the forthcoming years. We wanted to give our readers a peek into international developments in the field of sculpture, through the ‘Emerging Artists’ Survey’ by six leading curators from around the world; and we have tried to maintain the flow in terms of context between India and the rest of the world without it seeming like a leap, through articles that study the exchange international artists and art has had with India over the years in Shanay Jhaveri’s excellent article. Gauri Krishnan talks about the challenges of curating sculpture at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, especially in the context of their history, and issues of representation in a contemporary context, and Arshiya Lokhandwala critiques the same with respect to survey exhibitions. Annie Fletcher remains in dialogue with this critique by providing a possible alternative through her article which shares her curatorial experience with the Van Abbemuseum retrospective of Sheela Gowda.
The issue keeps its readers updated with the events that surround its publication – the laudable Kochi-Muziris Biennale which has been contextualised in the issue through the artists exhibiting at the event – Sudarshan Shetty [Katya Garcia-Anton], Tallur L N [Artist’s Intervention], Sheela Gowda [Annie Fletcher], Shreyas Karle [Sandarbh report], Ernesto Neto [Amanprit Sandhu] and others; besides Deepika Sorabjee’s breezy, personal report of the Kochi experience. India has a rich crafts tradition which is frequently discussed and falls well within the broad realm TAKE on art has allotted to sculpture in this issue. We have tried to give a different perspective by looking at the Swiss appropriation of crafts within sculpture in Patrick Gossati’s essay. There is often immense debate on the challenges involved in collecting Sculpture and I have tried to bring that to fore through my interview with the Samdanis, and this concern is again taken up in Gayatri Rangachari Shah’s interview with Michelle D’Souza. The making of sculpture is equally ridden with difficulties, both conceptual and physical; and Christine Ithurbide’s interview with Eve Lemesle throws light on this aspect, while simultaneously proposing the emerging idea of arts management in India as a possible solution. Sculpture through its possibilities of innovation and play with material has immense scope for latent humour – Siddhartha Karawal’s Funny Bone (Artist’s Intervention) and Susan Hapgood’s artice on Andrea Zittel’s ‘potty humour’ stands testimony to it. The social responsibility through public and interactive sculpture has been researched extensively by Deepika Sorabjee in her article ‘Sculpture for Social Good’. My special thanks to Diana Campbell for guest editing TAKE Sculpture and to Anushka Rajendran for her dedication and perseverance.
TAKE witnesses several new names with contributors and artists from all over the world in this issue, expanding its scope in terms of perspective by including multifarious viewpoints. To continue with the tradition of our previous issues we have our regular favourite Manisha Gera Baswani’s ‘Fly on the Wall’ that pays homage to Kekoo Gandhy who sadly passed away in November. Quoting Ranjit Hoskote in his tribute to the legend, “When Kekoo passed away last Saturday, he took with him a nation-sized archive, an intimate knowledge of the epic debates as well as the invisible micro-politics that shaped the postcolonial Indian art.”
We look forward to another fabulous chapter of the India Art Fair as media partners and 2013 has an exciting line up in store for TAKE including participations and collaborations at Sharjah Biennale, Art Dubai, Art Basel Hong Kong and more. Wishing all our readers a Happy New Year.
January, New Delhi