Speaking Lines | Verve Magazine
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November 04, 2014

Speaking Lines

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Gallery Espace is hosting a mega drawings show, Drawing 2014. Gallerist Renu Modi speaks about the fascinating creative journey of over two decades

Gallery Espace was launched in 1989 by Renu Modi at the suggestion of the legendary master MF Husain. Over the last 25 years, the gallery has pioneered several changes in the art world, perhaps even reinventing the nature of art itself.

In November, Gallery Espace completes 25 years. On the occasion, it will showcase Drawings 2014 – a show that is curated by Prayag Shukla and Annapurna Garimella. An ambitious effort, it will feature drawings by more than 50 Indian contemporary artists. Modi states, “Since drawing has been one of my favourite mediums and Espace has consistently been doing exhibitions around this theme, I feel that drawings as a ‘line’ is an essential and infinite element. Due to the art market boom people have forgotten works on paper and we want to showcase the evolution of drawings that has taken place in seven decades.”

Through its many exhibitions, Gallery Espace has believed in showcasing new talents, thus becoming a viable, pivotal link between artists and buyers. Over the two and a half decades of its existence, the gallery has successfully adapted to the several changes in society and culture that have affected and shaped the art world – a fact that is made evident by the variety of shows, encompassing many media forms, that it has been a part of. Going ahead, Modi believes that it will remain true to its tenet of “keeping pace with the evolving mores of artistic expression and appreciation.”

Drawing 2014 will be on show at Art Gallery, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), Mansingh Road, New Delhi from, November 10 till November 28, 2014.


On the changing art scenario and her tryst with art

THE ART SCENE: Over the past 25 years it has undergone a 360 degrees change. From something which was unstructured, it’s becoming more structured now. Buyers’ profiles have changed – developments in technology have also added changes. Investment in art has definitely grown.

THE GALLERY’S USP: I have always followed my instinct and stood by my convictions. The USP of the gallery has been medium-based shows. The gallery has done at least five exhibitions based on drawings starting from Drawing ’94, Lyric line, The Paper Flute, to name a few – and now Drawing 2014. It has been the same with sculptures and even printmaking, with Gallery Espace putting forward exhibitions like Sculpture ’95 and mini prints respectively.

A SIGNIFICANT SHOW: It will be very difficult to name one, but Sculpture ’95 was a breakthrough exhibition. It was curated by Madan Lal a sculptor based in Varanasi. For the first time 20 sculptors below the age of 40 years showed together under one roof. At that time an exhibition of this scale – where we booked all the galleries of Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and published a major work – was very rare.

PERSONAL FAVOURITES: My personal favourites in terms of medium are sculpture and drawings – specifically works on paper. A few of my favourite artists are MF Husain, Manjit Bawa, VS Gaitonde, and Zarina Hashmi.

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