Art

Abir Karmakar

our body is history. inked with lines of joy, orchestrated, a symphony entirely our own. it bears the scars of our defeats. our infinite failures. carved in stone. our body is sacred. and profane. it is wondrous in its workings, balanced always precariously between life and death. Read more

Alain Paiement

Almost sixty years ago, American photographer Alfred Newman pioneered ‘environmental portraiture’—the idea that a picture of an individual should be taken within a carefully-controlled setting, within a space where the objects surrounding the subject should add or help explain his… Read more

Art Floats

A decade ago, Guwahati was something of a frontier town, a place you’d pass in transit, a gateway to the northeast of India. It was a convenient stop. It had an airport, a railway station and somewhere to spend the night.Its transformation from a sleepy, nondescript town to a bustling city… Read more

Bharti Kher

There is something of Gregory Crewdson’s air of disquiet in Bharti Kher’s current show Disturbia, Utopia, House Beautiful, even though their media couldn’t be more different. Crewdson is an American photographer known for his surreal, elaborately staged scenes…. Read more

Dayanita Singh

For Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, words do the work of line and colour. “I have the painter’s sensitivity to light,” she said, “Much of my writing is verbal painting.” This is not unusual—after all, the arts have perpetually borrowed from each other. They say Turner’s ‘awful’ paintings… Read more

Dolls

In the deep, dark recesses of my mother’s cupboard lies Twinkle—a life-size toddler doll gifted to my elder sister when she was nine. Twinkle wears one of my baby dresses, has mangy dirty-yellow hair, faded blue eyes and a perfectly round pea-size hole in her forehead. Twinkle has spent… Read more

Edvard Munch

Often when looking at a painting, I try and imagine the artist’s thoughts and feelings at the moment of creation. It’s difficult with some—Dutch still lifes, for example, with their wealth of luxurious goods reveal more about the worldwide trade routes of the times than the sentiment… Read more

Eva Schlegel

In the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera tosses us a question—‘What shall we choose? Weight or lightness?’ The burden of heaviness, he says, can crush us, pin us to the ground, yet simultaneously the heavier the burden, the closer our lives come… Read more

Manuel Bougot

According to British parliamentarian Benjamin Disraeli, a great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is like some great idea. For him, Rome represents conquest; Faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies that pre-eminent quality of the…. Read more

Noida Soliloquy

Some cities have their writers. Lisbon, for instance, will forever be Fernando Pessoa’s ~ steeped in the saudade of his words, frozen by his poetry, restless as the disquiet between his journal pages. Paris is haunted by the ghost of Hemingway, tied to his heart and bleeding sweet, bitter wine. Read more

Otolith Group

In our movies, we have ghosts of other films, films we would’ve liked to make.” This whisper of Kodwo Eshun, co-founder of the London-based Otolith Group, is interrupted by a voice from the next room: “Why did you leave us trapped in that village dreaming of projection?”… Read more

Pablo Bartholomew

It is night at the gallery. The lights are turned off. The guard outside taps his cane against the cold cement steps. Somewhere is the faint ticking of a clock. A dog barks. The streets of Jhandewalan, Delhi, are quiet. Tomorrow, they will swell again with people and traffic; some of the crowd.. Read more

Rachel Cunningham

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper, the young lady protagonist, diagnosed as suffering from ‘nervous depression’ and a ‘hysterical tendency’, is confined to a room on her doctor’s orders. In true Gothic-horror fiction style she begins to believe… Read more

Rashid Rana

When Belgian surrealist René Magritte painted a pipe and wrote below it, ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (This is not a pipe), he did more than create a witty, thought-provoking work. He gleefully overturned the bulk of art history. In a stroke, he dismissed Platonist ideas… Read more

Raza

“Yes, we do get some funny questions from visitors,” says Kajoli, the gallery assistant showing me around. She points to the information plaques pasted beneath the paintings: “That’s why we put those up.” The plaques explain various Sanskrit terms—yoni… Read more

Reconstructing (White) 3

She left in haste. The bed lies rumpled, sheet and pyjamas entwined, a pair of black heels are abandoned by the door. The only ‘clue’ is a note pinned by the entrance saying she had no choice but to leave. Your role is immediately transformed from casual visitor to voyeur… Read more

The Chameleon Effect

For John Berger, British art critic and author, photography is in some ways always concerned with recollection. ‘The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us,’ he wrote in Ways of Looking. A decade later, he shifts his position, saying, ‘All…  Read more

The Flâneur in the City

In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Man of the Crowd (1840), a nameless protagonist follows a ‘decrepit old man’ through London’s crowded streets. The old man walks endlessly through bazaars and shops, and the poorer parts of the city. Eventually he makes… Read more

The Singh Twins

For artists Gilbert & George, the grimy East End of London serves as a wealth of artistic inspiration. This collaborative duo, known for wearing identical formal suits and who are rarely seen without each other has created a wide range of idiosyncratic works—from unusual… Read more

Within the Frame

At the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Porter Gallery, which is small and intimate, I ended up accidentally trailing an elderly, distinguished-looking gentleman and his young, suavely dressed student. I couldn’t help it; we were attending Light from the Middle East:New Photography, looking at… Read more

Words: A User’s Manual

Imagine you’re playing Hangman, a simple game where one person thinks of a word and another tries to guess it by suggesting letters. What would be your first guess? Probably ‘e’. After all, it’s the most common letter of the alphabet used in English as well as several… Read more

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