Vadehra Art Gallery: Arpita Singh 'Meeting'

2 - 17 June

Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by celebrated post-modernist Arpita Singh titled Meeting, featuring a curated body of canvases, watercolours and drawings. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in London.

Arpita Singh’s works assume new dimension as cartographical autobiographies, accenting imagined characters and landscapes with the flourish of expressionist emotion. With compositions foregrounded in movement, Singh tends to emphasise the potential of individual agency operating within collective constraints, though her mapping doesn’t seem to prioritise any one aspect – whether the fictional, mythical, personal, public fact or dream. These almost think-scapes capture constructs of space in abstraction, whose protagonists occupy their frames implicitly and navigate time, cultures and history through an assemblage of connection. While Singh’s symbolic mapping lends itself to a narrative reading, her intentionality is rooted in a stream-of-consciousness that expands and envelops, possesses and is possessed by its inevitable existence. Often Singh’s everyday digestions of literature, cinema, current events appear rendered lyrically, even surrealistically, moving from cognition to layers of interpretation that extend through to viewers. The textuality of her compositions are more than gestural inclusions; they represent the linguistics of shared landscapes that resound with fragmentary, diversified, disembodied voices in a congruent symphony that overpowers the coherence of sensorial vision and logic. Instead, by introducing observation points that are topographically flat, Singh personifies questions of beginning and belonging so pivotal to individual and collective journeys. The protagonists themselves emerge as part of the landscape, their internality in a state of flux as outlined by the world, however it is composed, at large.

The gallery viewing room holds works by three South Asian diasporic contemporary artists working across mediums, including London-based Indian-Canadian photographer Sunil Gupta, whose often theatrical interventions into mainstream cultural consciousnesses re-center subjects such as racism, alternative sexuality, migration, queer issues and marginalia, and Amsterdam-based Indian artist Praneet Soi, whose oeuvre pursues an interplay of open-ended narratives and the circulated image, exploring how symbols migrate across cultures, landscapes and shifting modes of perception. Also, exhibiting with us for the first time, is Houston-based Pakistani artist Zaam Arif, an emerging artist on the rise whose work presents philosophically and introspectively rich inquiries into the human journey and experience.

Arpita Singh (b. 1937, Kolkata), graduated with a diploma in fine arts from Delhi Polytechnic. Singh’s work has been celebrated and featured regularly in shows held in India and internationally, including a retrospective exhibition at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, in 2019, where Singh presented a stellar body of works reflecting a lifetime of practice, which was met with stupendous critical acclaim. She has also participated in important institutional shows at the Asia Society Triennale (2020– 21); the Gwangju Biennale (2021); Kochi Biennale (2021); the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2021); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2021); Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2014, 2013, 2011); Museo Nacional de Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid (2013); the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, USA (2013); Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2014, 2013, 2011); Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (2012); the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2012); Centre of International Modern Art, Kolkata (2011, 2010, 2008); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2009); and Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2007), among gallery shows such as Frieze Art Fair, New York (2019); Talwar Gallery, New York (2018, 2017); Grosvenor Gallery, London (2011, 2009); Nature Morte, New Delhi (2011); RL Fine Arts, New York (2010); and Aicon Gallery, London (2009). Her work will also be presented at the Kochi–Muziris Biennale in 2022. Singh has won several awards throughout her career, including the Parishad Samman from the Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi, in 1991; the Kalidas Samman, Bhopal, in 1991; and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. She was awarded a fellowship at Lalit Kala Akademi in 2014. The artist lives and works in New Delhi, India.

Arpita Singh, If You Only Let Me, 2022, Oil on canvas, 42 x 60 in.
Arpita Singh, If You Only Let Me, 2022, Oil on canvas, 42 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and Vadehra Art Gallery.