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02.11.2016

More than one digital art enterprise is buying real-world real estate (hello, Saffronart, whose meatspace gallery opens at the Claridges this week), but this one’s a real throwback. Former hack Georgina Maddox and documentary photographer Vikram Singh are bringing art to Hauz Khas Village, but they aren’t doing the TLR adda. They’re curating online magazine Big Art, which hopes earnestly to bring art to the masses. 

As part of this vision, a whole new gallery, Art Explore, has just opened a few doors down from Smokehouse Deli. A sort of viewing room for the start­up, the result is both Instagram-worthy and — in parts — will-you-take-a-cheque desirable.

An inaugural exhibition, ‘More Than Human,’ opened on October 14, and features artists from across a range of experience. Heavyweights Gogi Saroj Pal, Kanchan Chandar and Ritu Kamath show alongside mid-career artists like Shampa Sircar Das and Birendra Pani, and emerging names like Pramod Jaiswal, Amith Das and Pallav Chander.

Former hack Georgina Maddox and documentary photographer Vikramaditya Singh are bringing art to Hauz Khas Village, but they aren’t doing the TLR adda.

The art speaks in a very personal register, and draws heavily on individual histories and styles. Self-portraits by Hifzul Sheikh Kabeer in the form of the Hindu trinity bravely counterpose individual selves against a majoritarian collective, even as Anjum Khan's heads focus on veiling and unveiling. Satadru Sovan's ethereal acrylics play with our mediatic selves, while a set of six portraits by Venus Thockchom force the viewer to recognise their complicity in flattening difference. We did say ‘serious,’ didn’t we?

Big Art’s publishing schedule is somewhat ad-hoc at the moment, but is open to contributions from students, collectors and artists. Even from your MoMA. 

Getting there: 23 Lakeside, Hauz Khas Village, visit www.artexplore.in or call 65699444. A Birendra Pani canvas with a Jatayu-like figure costs Rs 80,000, while a portrait by Venus Thokchom costs 22,000.

Accessibility: The gallery is slightly below floor level, and has a few stairs between levels inside.

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