50 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY ART : BOOK
CLIENT : CHEMOULD PRESCOTT ROAD, MUMBAI
PUBLISHED 2017 | 328 PAGES | PRINTED AT SILVER POINT, MUMBAI
Five exhibitions, curated by
noted curator and Art critic Geeta Kapur.
India’s first exhibition history publication
Chemould Prescott Road is an internationally known, one of the oldest and the most prestigious of contemporary Arts Galleries in India. Established by Kekoo and Khurshed Gandhy in 1963, the gallery is a most welcoming place for young and mature audiences to witness the best of artists present their works, discover inspiration & collaboration.The founders had forged some of the finest relationships with artists and represented their works into the global arena – a vision that their daughter Shireen Gandhy, the gallery’s director and has continued and moulded the gallery into a revered art institution.
In 2013, Chemould Prescott Road completed 50 years and celebrated the year by inviting renowned curator and art critic Geeta Kapur to, in a the course of a year, curate five conceptually inspired shows that celebrated and represented the best of Indian Contemporary Art. The event led to inevitable requirement of publishing a book documenting and presenting the art. However, these was no ordinary exhibitions – Rarely had these artists been exhibited shown together through a whole year and that too with the most inspiring range of fine conceptual ideas. This project mandated us to think differently about this publication than usual gallery printed material.
The idea of the book stemmed from the self nominated mandate to present this book in authenticity to the curated exhibitions, to honour not just the works, artists and the gallery founders, but also the years of work that had gone into organising this year-long quest. I began with asking questions about the process on how the idea began, how the shows were organised and the artistic and curatorial choices that were made. Based on the answers, I introduced elements such as exchange of communications and discussions between the curator, gallery teams as well as the artists, and the mapping of these shows. The initial curatorial notes by Geeta Kapur became the stemming point of understanding her thought process to the eventual outcome.
Since I had also designed the identity of the show, I chose typeface and typography that was consistent with it. I made strategic design decisions, on the pagination rhythm that facilitated elegant transitioning from artist work to artist work. Technically, we made reader-behaviour based decisions, for instance doing away with a traditional hard cover – that with 336 pages, would make the book heavy, making a reader/viewer reluctant to hold it for long. The choice of paper was based on the lightness, texture and most importantly the opacity it offered when artworks are printed back and front. The curatorial texts was written, revised by Geeta Kapur in great detail, and for weeks the captions & illustration details were scoured for consistency and errors (as tiny as a comma or a double spaces). All images at my studio and then at the press were colour-corrected to be true to the original works.
EXPERIENCE AND AUDIENCE
The audience of this book anyone interested in knowing more about the thriving Contemporary Indian arts. But the most viable of audiences are art collectors, international museums and galleries, artists’ peers and finally art students interested in discovering Indian art practices and practitioners, history and pedagogy of exhibitions. This book, like the exhibitions themselves, is not a one-sitting experience. When I myself scour through it, I make new discoveries about the curation, the artist, their work, process, and context. It is indeed a book my clients and I are exceptionally proud of.