Lawrence Liang
              A dilapidated building earmarked for demolition and destined to join the debris of socialist modernity in Jia Zhangke’s 2006 film Still Life abruptly transforms into a UFO in the middle of the night and takes off to an uncertain future. A moment of flight that rejects the burden of the real and the preordination of history serves equally well as a guide to the curatorial imagination of “INSERT2014,” an exhibition presented by the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and curated by the Raqs Media Collective. However, unlike utopian flights, which are assured of a successful take off, if not a landing, “INSERT2014” plays with the idea of a suspended moment between stasis and movement, the animate and inanimate, and potential and failed promises as a way of thinking about the contemporary global moment and Delhi’s place in it. Taking place in the shadow of the India Art fair—an annual event that has come to be associated with the burgeoning Indian art market and is, sadly, more known for its engagement with sky-rocketing art prices than with ideas—“INSERT2014” literally inserts itself as an interruption of the seamless integration of the art world into Delhi’s twenty-first century. The Mati Ghar, which hosted the exhibition, is …
              Zarina’s “Folding House”
              Agnieszka Gratza
              “What’s not to like?,” a fellow critic concurred as I waxed lyrical about Zarina’s solo show, which I had seen a few days before in Delhi. The opening was timed to coincide with the India Art Fair, around which a number of glittering events have coalesced in what has become the country’s art capital. Inscribed in gold, the black cardboard invitation and matching catalog cover depict the bare outline of a golden house from Folding House (2014), a set of 25 collages from which the exhibition takes its title. A house divided, and split down the middle by a neat dividing line, unmistakably alludes to the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. As a child growing up in Northern India (she was born in 1937), the artist experienced firsthand the massive population displacement and bloodshed that ensued; her work could hardly be accused of lacking political edge. But the critic’s question—with its hint of underlying criticism and the implication that Zarina’s delicate creations, fashioned out of precious and handmade materials, were simply too alluring for their own good—nagged at me. To be sure, there is an element of material fetishism in the artist’s work, as the elaborate and at times long-winded …
              The 5th India Art Fair and Parallel Events
              Natasha Ginwala
              Standing in front of Drawings on a Conversation (2012) at the Nature Morte booth in the midst of the 5th India Art Fair, one cannot help but relate its dense and chaotic weave to the general experience of art viewing in Delhi this week. Indeed, this work by Raqs Media Collective feels like inhabiting a conversation that relays back and forth—entanglement after entanglement—until its point of origin is impossible to find. While Raqs constructs an affective inquiry into collective labor, “thought signals,” and body-time relations through this recent series, the trails we can trace out here are somewhat anxious—shuttling between the gigantic tents of the India Art Fair within the exhibition grounds of the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) in south Delhi and the cultural venues that lie beyond. Before arriving at the Indian capital, many had just visited the Jaipur Literature Festival, which is now considered among the major events of the literary world. The India Art Fair has steadily grown since its inception in 2008, attracting not just the routine crowd of fair-hoppers but also independent researchers, museum teams, international students, and most significantly a broad local public. Over the fair’s three-day span, the cultural cartography of Delhi greatly …
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