Five artworks to spot in Soho House Mumbai
To celebrate the inaugural Art Mumbai fair opening in the city this week, we’ve picked some highlights from the House’s collection of more than 200 pieces
Thursday 16 November 2023 By Anastasiia Fedorova
Since opening in 2018, Soho House Mumbai has secured itself as a hotspot for India’s cutting-edge creative community. Set in an 11-storey townhouse on Juhu Beach, the House’s interior celebrates the city’s artistic heritage, with block-printed fabrics from Rajasthan and antique furniture sourced from local dealers.
But it’s the art collection that connects the House to Mumbai’s evolving gallery scene, opening a conversation about the role that creativity plays in India’s rapidly changing society. Curated by Soho House Global Director of Art, Kate Bryan, the collection is one of the largest globally, with more than 200 artworks, mostly by artists based in India or of Indian descent.
With Art Mumbai 2023, the city’s first major art fair, opening this month, all eyes are on India’s creativity community. The fair will feature more than 50 exhibitors, including some of the country’s leading galleries, such as Experimenter, Vadehra Art Gallery and Chatterjee & Lal. Soho House will also have a dedicated space at Art Mumbai, the Soho House Art Deck, where members and guests can enjoy local bites and House Tonics.
What better way to kick off proceedings than with a celebration of Soho House Mumbai’s art collection? Here, we explore five of its most exciting works.
1. Raqib Shaw, ‘After Dejeuner Sur L’herbe’, 2018
Raqib Shaw’s works are instantly recognisable: opulent and vivid, his fantastical vision combines iconography from both the East and West, drawing on art history, mythology, poetry, religion, and natural history. Calcutta-born and London-based, Shaw uses embossed gold, coloured jewels and enamel to enhance his meticulously crafted creations, giving them a transformative, dream-like quality.
2. Princess Pea, ‘A Complex Cityscape – Princess Pea Practices Yoga Over The Rooftop’, 2015
Based in Gurgaon, India, Princess Pea relies on a carefully constructed alter ego to challenge common conceptions around femininity and womanhood. An anime-style figure, Princess Pea’s alter ego helps the artist to unpack ideas of identity, perfection and self-worth, as she explores the conflicts between traditional and contemporary roles of women in Indian society. ‘Over the past decade, my ever-evolving practice has looked at a diverse set of women through the lens of gender and urbanisation,’ the artist explains. ‘My projects have included housewives, entrepreneurs, differently abled women – as well as those who have suffered abuse or mental illness. Themes of visibility and systemic erasure are always at the core of my work.’
3. Achraf Touloub, ‘Screens’, 2014
Subtle yet expressive, Achraf Touloub’s work investigates the tension between tradition and modernity in a globalised world. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, often via a somewhat ambiguous visual language, he seeks to create new modes through which viewers can consider heritage, community, art, craft, and time.
4. Bharti Kher, ‘Algorithm For Living Well’, 2016
Born in London in 1969, painter, sculptor and installation artist Bharti Kher now calls New Delhi her home. Throughout her work, her focus often lingers on hybrid creatures, created and transformed through repurposed day-to-day objects. By tapping into ancient mythologies and their symbolism, Kher blurs the distinctions between humans and nature; ecology and politics; ephemeral and material.
5. Thukral and Tagra, ‘Knowledge Vs Passion And Devotion’, 2018
Thukral and Tagra are a Delhi-based artist duo comprising Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. Driven by the artistic methodologies of painting, gaming, archiving and publishing, their multifaceted practice reflects on the cultural and political landscape of India, as well as the country’s position in the wider world. Global consumer culture plays a large role in their output too, as they interrogate labour, ecology and climate change through their personal and family histories.
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