Journée d'étude « S.H. Raza et son temps »17 Feb 2023
The event is over
A major figure of modern Indian art, Sayed Haider Raza (1922-2016) has followed a transversal itinerary on the international scene. In India, where recourse to the figure and narrative paintings prevails, he is one of the rare advocates of abstract landscape art.
In France, where he lived for more than sixty years from 1950 onwards, he was initially associated with the School of Paris before embodying, through his use of the symbolic and geometric motif of the bindu ("seed", "dot", "drop" in Sanskrit), a synthesis between an Euro-American tradition of abstraction and Indian spirituality.
Following the opening of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to Raza at the Centre Pompidou (15 February - 15 May 2023, Galerie 4), this symposium will allow us to discuss the theoretical and formal frameworks of a cosmopolitan post-independence generation of artists within which Raza appears both as an example and an exception.
The symposium will be followed by the screening, at 7pm, of Kekee Manzil :House of Art (French subtitles) of Behroze Gandhy and Dilesh Korya, with a panel discussion in presence of the directors.
- Introduction by Catherine David
- Roobina Karode: “Sayed Haider Raza. Contemplating Space: here and beyond”
- Ashvin Rajagopalan: “S. H. Raza: The Bombay Years - 1943 – 1950”
- Rahaab Allana: “Image Cultures/Convergences at the time of Raza
- Laetitia Zecchini: “Worldly Modernisms: Bombay little magazines and the transnational traffics of the 50s/60s”
- Deepak Ananth: “Contemporary Indian Art: Relays and Returns”
Art historian, curator and researcher, Catherine David was deputy director of the Musée national d’art moderne (MNAM) - Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and head of the Research and Globalisation department from 2014 to 2021. From 1982 to 1990, she was curator at the MNAM and from 1990 to 1994 at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris. From 1994 to 1997, she served as artistic director for documenta X in Kassel, Germany (1997). Since 1998 she has been director of the long-term project Contemporary Arab Representations, which began at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona. Between 2002 and 2004, she was director of the Witte de With Center of Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
In the last fifteen years she curated the ADACH Platform for Visual Arts at the 53d Venice Arts Biennale (2011); the Hassan Sharif retrospective “Experiments & Objects / 1979 – 2011” presented at Qasr Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi (2011); “MARWAN: Early Works 1962 – 1972” at the Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut (2013) and Serralves Foundation, Porto (2014); “Unedited History. Iran 1960-2014” at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris and at MAXXI in Rome (2014); and “Dia al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (From 1963 until Tomorrow)” at Mathaf and Al Riwaq in Doha (2017).
As deputy director of the MNAM, Catherine David curated several projects among which: “Wifredo Lam” (2015); “Memories from the futures. Indian modernities” (2017); “Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago (1960-1969)” (2018); and “Yuan Jai” (2020), “Bagyi Aung Soe” (2020).
Art historian and educator, Roobina Karode is the Director and Chief Curator at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA). While steering the activities of the museum since it opened its doors in 2010, she has curated more than 50 major exhibitions, which include seminal retrospectives on the art practice of women artists Nasreen Mohamedi (2013-14) at KNMA and later at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and MET Breuer, New York (2015), Nalini Malani (2014) and Arpita Singh (2019), as well as Himmat Shah (2016) amongst others. Important thematic exhibitions include ‘Is it what you think? ‒ Ruminations on Time, Memory & Site’ (2014) and ‘Constructs/Constructions’ (2015). Some of her recently curated significant exhibitions include ‘Scripting Time | Memory | Ecology’, 2020 at KNMA, Saket; a Centennial SH Raza exhibition titled Traversing Space: Here and Beyond at Bikaner House, New Delhi, 2022; intimate watercolour painted each day for a whole year of lockdown by Atul Dodiya titled Walking with the Waves, Somnath Hore: Birth of a White Rose, KNMA, 2022. Saket. Karode was also the curator for the India Pavilion at 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. She recently co-curated POP South Asia: artistic exploration in the popular with Professor and Artist Iftikhar Dadi as a collaborative project between Sharjah Art Foundation and KNMA (2022-23).
Running a rigorous programme with her team at KNMA, Karode envisions the museum as a place for confluence, conversations, and collaborations across varied groups, geographies and institutions.
Ashvin E. Rajagopalan is the Director of Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai, which was opened in 2015. At the museum he has curated exhibitions that have explored various aspects of Indian Modern Art. One of Ashvin's primary focuses has been on art education and the impact each exhibition has on children and young adults. For the past 4 years, Ashvin has been researching the art and life of Sayed Haider Raza during his time in Bombay (Mumbai) between 1943 - 1950 which will soon be published as a book. The book re-visits and investigates Raza's life in Bombay by looking at primary sources from that specific time to traverse various parallel events and incidents that would have shaped his life and work in the city. The book will bring out a completely new understanding of Raza's role in Indian Modern Art.
Rahaab Allana is Curator/Publisher, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi (alkazifoundation.org); Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) and was previously, Honorary Research Associate at the University College, London. He has curated and contributed to several publications and exhibitions on photography from South Asia and its trans-national histories, internationally. He serves, and has served on the Advisory Committee/Juries of various cultural fora including the Prix Pictet Award (London/Switzerland/Paris); as well as the Editorial Board of the Trans-Asia Photography (TAP) Review, University of Michigan. Rahaab is the Founding/Managing Editor of PIX (enterpix.in); Founder of the first app for photography from South Asia, ASAP Art (asapconnect.in); has guest edited volumes for the Lalit Kala Akademi, Marg Magazine, and recently guest edited an issue for Aperture Magazine on photography from the subcontinent, 2021. He has edited the first ever Reader on Image Practices in South Asia titled Unframed, due to be released in the last quarter of 2022, co-published with Harper Collins India.
Laetitia Zecchini is a research fellow at the CNRS. Her research interests focus on contemporary Indian poetry, on postcolonial modernisms and print cultures, and on the politics of literature. She is the author of a monograph on the poet Arun Kolatkar (Arun Kolatkar and Modernism in India, Moving Lines, 2014) whom she has also translated into French for Gallimard, and is the co-author or co-editor of 9 other books and special issues, including “The Worlds of Bombay Poetry” (Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 2017, with Anjali Nerlekar) and The Form of Ideology and the Ideology of Form: Cold War, Decolonization and Third World Print Cultures (2022, with Francesca Orsini and Neelam Srivastava). A recent essay outlines the kind of archival work she is engaged in: ‘Archives of Minority: “Little Publications” and the Politics of Friendship in Postcolonial Bombay’. She is currently working on a monograph around issues of literary activism in India.
Deepak Ananth is an art historian based in Paris. He teaches at the École supérieure d’arts et médias in Caen, Normandy. He has written on a range of modern and contemporary European and Indian artists, mostly for museum publications. His essays have appeared in catalogues published by le Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, le Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, capc Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, Musée des beaux-arts de Nantes, Musée des beaux-arts de Grenoble, Tate Modern, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Ivam, Valencia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Mori Museum, Tokyo, and The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. His curatorial projects include exhibitions of contemporary French art, nineteenth-century French painting, Surrealist photography, the drawings of Roland Barthes, the place of India in the Western imagination (Indomania, Palais des beaux-arts, Brussels, 2013) and numerous international exhibitions of contemporary Indian art since Indian Summer at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, 2005.
The symposium is English speaking
S.H. Raza dans son atelier, Bombay, 1948, Image courtesy of The Raza Archives, The Raza Foundation, New Delhi.