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Renowned art collector Charles Saatchi to showcase Indian art


Renowned art collector Charles Saatchi is likely to host the much awaited show of Indian art show at his new gallery in London this month.

The ambitious show titled ‘Empire Strikes Back’ sums up the spirit of the thoughtfully conceived show. It indeed is an apt title for the art exhibit since it will showcase artworks predominantly by Indian artists in London.

The Saatchi Gallery is set to reopen in the 70,000 sq. ft. Duke of York HQ building on King's Road, Chelsea with an exhibition dedicated to new art from China along with the show of Indian art, as part of the gallery’s aim to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible.

The new Gallery will also include a dedicated space for Saatchi Online artists to exhibit and sell their work commission free. The space will feature a rotating selection of artists chosen from Saatchi Online Magazine’s weekly critics’ picks.

The show of new Indian art will collate works of a number of several prominent artists from the country who have already established themselves internationally. Each individual artist has a unique artistic practice that deals with one’s chosen theme. For instance, works by artists including Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Kriti Arora, Hema Upadhyaya and Rashid Rana are going to be displayed in the exhibition.

Jaishri Abhichandani, Shezad Dawood, Chitra Ganesh, Probir Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Tushar Joag, Reena Saini Kallat, Bharti Kher, Rajan Krishnan, Tallur L.N, Huma Mulji, Pushpamala N, Yamini Nayar, Justin Ponmany, TV Santhosh, Schandra Singh, Hema Upadhyay and T Venkanna are the other artists who will feature at the Saatchi Art Gallery, which is among the largest private museums in the world. The event would bring great exposure to Indian artists on the world stage.

Underlining the significance of the show artist Jitish Kallat has been quoted as saying: “Charles Saatchi has been working on this show for a year now. He has picked up Indian artworks from across the globe and will showcase all of them together at one go.” Jitish Kallat’s work, occupying almost 200 feet of wall space, is one of the biggest ones to be showcased, according to media reports. It is made of close to 4600 individual bone letters.

Regarding his role Charles Saatchi has mentioned in an interview: “The art collectors are pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things. What matters and survives is the art. I buy art that I like. I buy it to show it off in exhibitions. Then, if I feel like it, I sell it and buy more art. As I have been doing this for over three decade, I think most people in the art world get the idea by now. It doesn't mean I have changed my mind about the art that I end up selling. It just means that I don't want to hoard everything forever.”

“I do not think too much about the market. I do not mind paying three or four times the market value of a work I really want. As far as taste is concerned, I primarily buy art in order to show it off. So it is important for me that the public respond to it and contemporary art in general.” Just to indicate how he goes about his job, the famed collector selected works by artist Kriti Arora from a gallery in London. According to the artist, he browsed and spent 20 minutes or so in the gallery before buying a few of his works.

‘The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today’ at Saatchi Gallery is indeed a significant show. On eve of the event, an extensive survey of ‘new Indian art’ will be available to buy from publisher Random House / Jonathan Cape.

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