in Frieze London | 12 OCT 23

Kolkata Gallery Experimenter Wins Frieze London Stand Prize for Work by Women Artists

The Indian gallery was awarded the prize for their presentation ‘Do You Know How to Start a Fire’, which features seven intergenerational women artists

in Frieze London | 12 OCT 23

Experimenter, a gallery based in Kolkata and Mumbai, India, has been awarded the 2023 Stand Prize at Frieze London for its presentation ‘Do You Know How to Start a Fire’, a group exhibition of seven intergenerational women artists: Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Pakistan), Bhasha Chakrabarti (b. 1991, USA), Biraaj Dodiya (b. 1993, India), Reba Hore (1926–2009, India), Radhika Khimji (b. 1979, Oman), Afrah Shafiq (b. 1989, India) and Ayesha Sultana (b. 1984, Bangladesh). 

Ayesha Sultana, Untitled
Ayesha Sultana, Untitled, 2023. Graphite on paper, 20.3 x 20.3 cm. Courtesy the artist and Experimenter

‘Do You Know How to Start a Fire’ is broadly themed around paradoxes. Ayesha Sultana explores encounters and movement in the space between things, while Biraaj Dodiya and Radhika Khimji navigate landscapes and distance. Afrah Shafiq and Bani Abidi explore shifting power dynamics through archival materials and research modes and Bhasha Chakrabarti explores art-making as a mode of discourse. Juxtaposed with them is the practice of the late Reba Hore, whose paintings emanate fervent, frantic lines of colours, a singular gaze that renders form, figure and landscape indiscernible.

Reba Hore, Untitled
Reba Hore, Untitled. Oil on canvas, 60.9 x 53.3 cm. Courtesy of the artist, the Seagull Foundation for the Arts and Experimenter

Experimenter was founded in 2009 in Kolkata as an incubator for ambitious contemporary practice. Its programme is considered to be a ‘pace-setter’ for its region, and extends from exhibition-making through talks, performances, workshops and its much-acclaimed, annual Experimenter Curators’ Hub. A second space was added in 2018. Its third space Experimenter – Colaba, established in 2022, marks its commitment to Mumbai, a city that represents the diversity of the region.

Frieze Director Eva Langret (left) and Experimenter. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.
Frieze London Director Eva Langret (left) and Experimenter. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

Responding to the award, the co-founders of Experimenter, Prateek & Priyanka Raja, said: 

‘We are delighted to receive the Frieze Stand Prize, and are grateful to the jury for recognizing the nuances and intimate connections between the intergenerational women artists that we present at our stand this year. While making exhibitions, we always hope to build dialogues that are generative and propose new ways of seeing. While this is not always easy to do at fairs, we were certain this exhibition would bring forth the multiplicities of voices and practices that are a reflection of our programme. The prize underscores our belief that Frieze London is a celebration of the internationalism of global contemporary art.’

Main image: Afrah Shafiq, An Endless Afternoon Defragments, 2018. Archival pigment print, 40.6 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Experimenter