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Paris-Delhi-Bombay, one way all the way
What is India today? We talk about it with 50 Indian and French artists through topics such as politics, urban planning, environment, religion, crafts, home and identity for a magical Indian summer.


Published on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011.

Paris pays tribute to India with Paris – Delhi – Bombay ... an exhibition running from a pilot project launched in 2007 by the President of the Centre Pompidou, Alain Seban, in order to build a global museum and create a concrete exchange between French and Indian contemporary art. 

The festival, which features concerts, dance, theatre, film and discussions is built around the works of fifty artists from India and France, including the painting by Thukral & Tagra, referring to the famous Khajuraho temples and the erotic sculptures; Tejal Shah photography that explores the desires of the hijras, or that of Dayanita Singh that captures Indian nightlife. 

And again the installation by Hema Upadhyay which tells about Dharavi slum, the largest in Asia or Ali Baba by Subodh Gupta, which was built with steel cookware and refers to those who cannot feed themselves and the general disproportionate use of tools. Impressing the video by Ayisha Abraham who assembled amateur movies of the 50s and 70s shot in the family or the sculptures by Sheela Gowda which, through everyday objects, denounce violence against women in India. Some of the French artists, having never been to India before, have created works for this first occasion, unexpected, and very far from the usual Western stereotypes, exposing new or little known aspects of a country that has inspired artists of the calibre of Rossellini, Louis Malle, Moravia, Duras, Rauschenberg and Stella, thus giving to the public an idea of India, just to borrow the title of an essay by Alberto Moravia dating 1961. 


The route starts with a beautiful head of Tara, the female Indian and Tibetan goddess, carved by Ravinder Reddy in honour to the modern Indian woman. Placed at the very centre of the exhibition, she invited, with her shadow in the shape of a lotus flower as a compass or a Michelangelo shaped star like the ones found in the Capitol, to visit the different areas through which the show develops. Starting with a documentary section on Indian society and politics with its different parties, the fights for homosexual rights, with a focus on the woman's dowry still in use, along with the castes and much more. 

The exhibition continues with different works, including a video of Camille Henrot Le Songe de Poliphilo with a duration of 11'37'', selected for Directors' Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival last year. The movie explores the spiritual dimension, the concept of death and the symbolism within the figure of the snake between fears and healing properties. Pierre et Gilles have a score with three new works, including photographs depicted as Hanuman, monkey god, clin d'oeil to the iconography of popular Indian Bollywood religion. 


Philippe Ramette with L’ Installation (Place publique d'intérieur), sculpture made of Indian artisans, is a girl who tries to climb on a stone fence in the middle of a typically Indian garden, metaphor of power and the future of the struggle of Indian women. 

The Regard is an installation by Leandro Erlich that presents a bourgeois Parisian room which windows are used to project scenes of Parisian life and Indian life. Sophie Duplaix and Fabrice Bousteau curated this exhibition, a major event for the Indian contemporary art in Europe.

curated by livia de leoni
show visited on August 20th

Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou
Entry fee: 12,10,8 euros
Open everyday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.   - closed on Tuesdays
Tel.0033(0)144 78 12 33


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