“Jivya Soma Mashe”

Made in India: the new Indian contemporary-art scene

A meeting with “India” lover, art dealer and collector Hervé Perdriolle. With discussion turning around ethnocentrism, vernacular culture, the art market and the Warli tribe… Hervé Perdriolle is a collector as well as an art critic and exhibition curator. A promoter of Figuration Libre, he participated in the first exhibitions of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Ravinder Reddy in France. Since 1996, he has worked towards raising awareness of the “Other masters of India”, these contemporary artists stemming from tribal and popular art. In September 2009, he opened his collection to the public in his apartment-gallery near the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, where he welcomes art lovers by appointment…   What exactly is “Indian contemporary art”? India is a country composed of singular histories. A place we find contemporary art stemming from the local cultures, and also contemporary art inscribed in the global culture, the type where we come across artists supported by major international galleries today, with close ties to the art market, this nebula which for me is an artistic and economic haze. I myself believe that culture is about complementarity, about differences that dialogue with one another; this is the richness which has always fascinated me ever since André Breton’s cabinet of curiosities or André Malraux’s imaginary museum. This is also why the global response doesn’t satisfy me. Stuart Davis once said something when he painted the neons in American cities as a prelude to Pop Art: “The universal is offered in local terms. Great art looks to the commonplace to find a meaning pertaining to life as a whole.” Finding the universal in the local: this is something that has always pleased me enormously. Could you elaborate on this? I imagine that Jackson Pollock, for example, also turned away from his European influences by...

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Jivya Soma Mashe and Warli Tribe Art at Herve Perdriolle gallery

Paris, 9 December 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 1 to 20 December, Herve Perdriolle gallery in Paris is currently displaying Jivya Soma Mashe’s artworks, as well as other painters from the Warli Indian tribe. The Warli tribe, whose paintings are among the most famous in India, is settled 200 km north of Mumbai. The mural paintings created within the tribe are based on basic graphic shapes: triangle, circle and square. The triangle and the circle come from the observation of nature, referring respectively to mountains and stars. Only the square appears as man-made creation: it defines space, and is a reminder of the origin of the name “Warli”, from the word “Warla”, which refers to a plot of land. This pictography reduced to the essential is created with basic tools. Born in Maharashtra, India, in 1964, Jivya Soma Mashe was abandoned by his family at a young age. Withdrawn to himself, he chose drawing as a way of expressing his emotions, which he practiced on the floor. This unusual behaviour made him noticeable to his community, and his talent distinguished him from the others. Today, Jivya Soma Mashe gave up irregular and hardly reachable surfaces, like walls and floors,  to turn to paper and canvas, but his style remained singular and loyal to his origins. One of the largest galleries in Mumbai, Chemould gallery, has exhibited his work since the 70s. In 1976, he participated in the exhibition, “Magicians of the Earth”, at the Centre Pompidou: it was the first international exhibition to compare works from dominant Western ideas to those from minor cultures. In 2003, Evol met Richard Long, a major figure of Land art, thanks to Herve Perdriolle and both artists collaborated in an exhibition at Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf and at PAC in Milan...

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