Month: July 2015

Deccan opulence

An exhibition at New York’s Met brings together some two hundred works of art from the opulent Deccan courts of India. The Deccan sultanates were five dynasties of Afghan, Turk, Mongol and various other ethnic backgrounds that ruled kingdoms in the south-west of India during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Featuring paintings in a lyrical poetic style, vivid textiles and intricate metalwork, these works are the result of a unique melting pot of cultural influence in the sultan’s courts. The splendour of these courts, which were built on the wealth of the diamond-rich regions of the south-west, attracted artists, writers and traders from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Their influences combined to produce artwork of compelling beauty and lyrical charm. Sultans of Deccan India 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy is on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, until July 26th 2015. Image: Attributed the Bombay painter (probably named Abdul Hamid Naqqash). Sultan ‘Ali ‘Adil Shah II Shooting an Arrow at a Tiger (detail). Bijapur, ca. 1660. Ink, opaque watercolor, gold and probably lapis lazuli pigment on paper. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Lent …

Double take

The pioneering Argentine photographer and filmmaker Horacio Coppola (1906-2012) was a key Modernist figure. He was one of ten siblings born to Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires at a time when photography was only an emerging art form. He travelled to Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, where his early experiments with photography began to take on a Surrealist edge. Coppola is the subject of a new retrospective at New York’s MOMA, alongside his wife German-born Grete Stern, also an artist. Coppola enjoyed walking the streets of London, waiting for moments of Surrealist uncanniness to appear. In this photo, taken in London in 1934, clothes and shoes for sale outside a shop swing in the wind, giving the strange sensation that they are being worn. In another photo in the exhibition, also taken in London in 1934, he photographed a display of various antiques at a flea market in the city, including the reflections of passers-by in the mirrors. Viewed more closely, the reflection of a sculptural bust can be seen in the mirror too, …

Violence meets art

Colombian artist Doris Salcedo (b. 1958) is the subject of a new retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Over the past three decades, Salcedo’s sculptures and installations have addressed the often-violent history of modern-day Colombia. Her work also addresses other forms of social injustice, some of which are the result of colonialism and racism. The exhibition, displayed over four floors, features the artist’s most important series, made between the late 1980s and today. It also includes a video documenting her site-specific public projects and architectural interventions. Check out the latest issue of The Kurios for more exhibitions news from around the world. Doris Salcedo is on until October 12th 2015 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo: Doris Salcedo, Plegaria Muda (detail), 2008–10. Wood, concrete, earth, and grass in 122 parts, dimensions variable. Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York.

A History, in objects

Captain James Cook landed on the east coast of Australia in 1770. The landmass he alighted on was larger than the continent of Europe. For the next more than one hundred years, the British would rule the land as a series of colonies, which would eventually join together to become modern-day Australia in 1901. But the country’s history goes back much further than Great Britain’s involvement. People are believed to have lived in Australia for between around 40,000–60,000 years. The first people to arrive were the Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. They came by boat from nearby islands that are now known as Indonesia. Each Aboriginal group settled in a different area of the country and had its own languages, laws and traditions. They lived in diverse environments ranging from lush rainforest and desert-like landscapes to inland rivers, islands and seas. They lived off fishing and hunting, and invented tools like the boomerang. However they never farmed. Their religion is known as the Dreaming, and art and music was important to them. The cultural habits of …

Revolutionary in Brazil

Tarsila and Modern Women in Rio at the Museu de Arte do Rio pays tribute to a number of female Brazilian artists, who worked between the end of the 19th century and the end of the Second World War. The women featured were all selected for the revolutionary work they did, albeit in very different areas of creative production. Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973), known simply as Tarsila, is the central figure of the exhibition. Considered to be one of the leading Latin American modernist artists, she was a member of the notorious Grupo dos Cinco (Group of Five), perhaps the biggest influence on modern art in Brazil. She is also credited with having inspired Oswald de Andrade’s famous essay Manifesto Antropófago (Cannibal Manifesto), a key Brazilian cultural text which argued that the country’s history of of “cannibalizing” other cultures is its greatest strength. Tarsila and Modern Women in Rio is on at the Museu de Arte do Rio until 20th September 2015. Photo: Tarsila do Amaral, O Lago (The Lake) (1928). Courtesy of Museu de Arte do Rio.

History of violence

A dynamic new exhibition at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)  brings together the work of several international artists whose work has strong social and political themes. Featuring the works of Brazil’s Jonathas de Andrade, Argentina’s Leon Ferrari and Lebanon’s Walid Raad, the show includes works dealing with the conquest of Brazil by the Portuguese, the military coup in Chile, the civil war in Lebanon and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. Photo: Liu Wei, Unforgettable Memory (2009). Courtesy of MALBA. Memorias Imborrables (Indelible memories) is on at MALBA until 20th August 2015.

Dream or reality?

Zimbabwean-born Virginia Chihota makes highly introspective work that occupies a place between dream and reality. The quietly striking works showcased in the following pages are from her series munzwa munyama yangu (A Thorn in my Flesh). Her expressive paintings result from a mixture of screen-printing and ink on paper, and the artist has said she finds inspiration in solitude. Chihota moved to Triploli, Libya, in 2012 and has spoken of how the culturally isolated experience of living in a foreign culture has fuelled her work. Continue reading about Virginia Chihota in the July/August issue of The Kurios.  Photo: Virginia Chihota, The Root of the Flower we do not Know, screenprint on paper, 2014. Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary.