National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi | 7th January – 31st March 2017
Curated by Catherine David
This exhibition is an extensive solo exhibition of Jitish Kallat’s work over the last two decades curated by Catherine David and organised by Gallery Chemould. It is comprehensive and encompassing enough to pass for a retrospective but for the fact that Kallat, who is only 43 years old, has many more years of artistic enquiries ahead of him. The show is an excellent introduction to some of Kallat’s recurrent concerns of the rapidly changing Indian urban spaces, the nature of postcolonial nation-states and cosmic meditations on time. His work, much like his thematic preoccupations, flits between a wide variety of media: drawings, paintings, photography, video, sculpture and installations. The Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation loaned one prominent work by the artist from 1997 titled ‘P.T.O. May What Threatened Not Become Fact’ by Jitish Kallat.
Jitish Kallat is one of the most prominent figures of contemporary Indian Art. Born in 1974, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art in Mumbai in 1996.
Kallat’s vast oeuvre spanning painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and installation, reveals a deep involvement with the city of Mumbai and derives much of its visual language from his immediate urban environment. His subject matter has been described previously as ‘the dirty, old, recycled and patched-together fabric of urban India’. Wider concerns include India’s attempts to negotiate its entry into a globalised economy, addressing housing and transportation crises, city planning, caste and communal tensions, and government accountability.
Many of Kallat’s works focus on Mumbai’s downtrodden or dispossessed inhabitants, though treating them in a bold, colourful and highly graphic manner. Kallat traditionally mounts his paintings on bronze sculptures that are re-created from the wall adornments found on the 120-year-old Victoria Terminus train station in the centre of Mumbai.
His solo exhibitions at museums include institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Mumbai), the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne), CSMVS Museum (Mumbai), the San Jose Museum of Art and Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney).
He was the curator and artistic director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014. Kallat lives and works in Mumbai.