लेन देन | Bartered Collections | CONA Foundation and Mumbai Art Room
05 June 2015

लेन देन | Bartered Collections

Initiated by the artist-run CONA Foundation in collaboration with Mumbai Art Room, Bartered Collections- opened on the 5th of June 2015- is an ongoing project based on exchanges between artists. It draws its lineage from an unwritten history of artist exchanges and reinserts the age-old system of barter in our present day context. The process, which Hemali Bhuta and Shreyas Karle of CONA have engaged in overtime with artist friends, was brought into a broader and public frame through an exhibition called Len Den (or give and take).

In the months that led up to the opening, a group of artists were invited into a temporarily & closed system, to undertake a series of negotiations towards trading what they make. Some of these engagements resulted in new productions. The bartered works were first exhibited at the Mumbai Art Room, where they were sometimes stacked, sometimes on display, and staged as a ground for further exchanges. During the course of this period, each artist invited five others to partake in a second round of the same.

Having turned into an archival and storage room, the exhibition space revealed various aspects of the project’s proceedings. The viewer encountered a zone of confidentiality in which art works were usually traded. Files for each artist, as well as for each barter, including images and notations, were being prepared. A collective contract that sits alongside the idea of individual ownership was being formulated. A selection from the corpus of dialogues around the project will be compiled into a publication with other texts.

Divorced from the aura in which they typically appear in public, the artworks come forth as real things, objects in an assembly line of meaning. They sidestep the economy of the art market but enter a collection, raising questions about the value of art and its system. The Exhibition was on view from the 5th of June till the 16th of September 2015. Between this period, it saw three installs and expanded to include 37 artists, initial 14 from the first phase to which 23 more artists were added in the second phase through recommendations by the first 14.

During the span of three months, the three displays seem to propose that the space is always under construction. It proposed multiple options to display the same works and whether in doing so, the meaning shifts, and the way one approaches the exhibition, the collection, or the value of the works and their relation with each other change, whether each display brings out newer meanings and readings into the project. What if the exhibition itself is constantly under construction? The third install starting on the 1st of September displayed the first phase exchanges one after the next in succession. Everyday it hosted a new installation and the two bartered works were on view as a pairing, along with the record of the corresponding conversation.

The daily installs were to savor the moment of their paths crossing and to celebrate the works for themselves. Visually performing the binding of these two objects, these displays also sealed the agreement between the two artists who made them. Participating artists for the first round were Mahesh Baliga, Hemali Bhuta, Makarand Dhotre, Jason Dodge, Bhuvanesh Gowda, Shreyas Karle, Ritesh Meshram, Yamini Nayar, Gyan Panchal, Himanshu S., Amitesh Shrivastava, Gagan Singh, Kiran Subbaiah and Sashikant Thavudoz.

Participating artists for the second round were Prayas Abhinav, Florent Audoye, Shivani Bhalla, Shailesh B.R., Rebecca Chesney, Mansha Chhatwal, Shahid Datawala, Nicola Durvasula, Teja Gavankar, Jayant Jadhav, Sachin Kondhalkar, C. Koteshwar, Kalpak Kulkarni, Deshna Mehta, Nilanjana Nandy, Chinmoyi Patel, Shrimanti Saha, Vishwa Shroff, Nibha Sikander, Iain Stephenson, Mariam Suhail, Sajeev Visweswaran and UBIK.

The schedule was as follows:

Tuesday 1 September
Hemali Bhuta and Gyan Panchal

Wednesday 2 September
Mahesh Baliga and Bhuvanesh Gowda

Thursday 3 September
Hemali Bhuta and Sashikant Thavudoz

Friday 4 September to Tuesday 8 September
Bhuvanesh Gowda and Kiran Subbaiah
Bhuvanesh Gowda and Makarand Dhotre
Bhuvanesh Gowda and Amitesh Shrivastava

Wednesday 9 September
Ritesh Meshram and Amitesh Shrivastava

Thursday 10 September
Hemali Bhuta and Ritesh Meshram

Friday 11 September
Shreyas Karle and Kiran Subbaiah

Saturday 12 September
Sashikant Thavudoz and Shreyas Karle

Tuesday 15 September
Amitesh Shrivastava and Shreyas Karle

Wednesday 16 September
Hemali Bhuta and Yamini Nayar

back to top