London UK – In October 2008, the Saatchi Gallery re-opened in the 70,000 sq. ft Duke of York’s HQ building on King’s Road in the heart of London. With free admission to all shows, the Saatchi Gallery aims to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible. Its first three shows, The Revolution Continues: New Art from China, Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East and Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, have attracted over one million visitors to date.
On 29 January the Saatchi Gallery will open with The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, an exhibition of 26 artists from the world’s largest democracy. Despite homegrown contemporary art being under represented in public museums in India, its commercial and international success has allowed small ventures to grow into thriving art galleries in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, with outposts opening in Europe and the US. The rapid flourishing of this art scene on one hand and the recent economic downturn on the other have prompted critical questions about Indian culture and globalization in a country torn between a proudly independent mindset and a dependence on global consumption.
Against this backdrop, contemporary Indian artists are making a diverse range of work, which responds to the complexities of 21st century India. The Raj and its legacy, the failure of Gandhi’s and Nehru’s hopes for a harmonious secular India, remain rich subjects for many of the artists, whilst others are engaging with the country’s incredible urban expansion, its slums – some of the biggest in Asia – and issues around migration.
The Empire Strikes Back will bring together works by established and emerging artists, most of whom have never been shown in the UK before. These include Jaishri Abichandani, Mansoor Ali, Kriti Arora, Huma Bhabha, Ajit Chauhan, Shezad Dawood, Atul Dodiya, Chitra Ganesh, Probir Gupta, Sakshi Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Tushar Joag, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Bharti Kher, Rajan Krishnan, Huma Mulji, Pushpamala N, Yamini Nayar, Justin Ponmany, Rashid Rana, TV Santhosh, Schandra Singh, Tallur L.N, Hema Upadhyay, T Venkanna.
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