New Delhi, Aug 15: An untitled falling figure by Tyeb Mehta, estimated at $6,00,000-$800,000, which became the mascot for “culture against communalism” movement in Mumbai in 1990s will lead Christie’s fall auction of South Asian modern and contemporary art in New York Sep 11.
The sale will also offer works by pioneers Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Maqbool Fida Husain, Syed Haider Raza, as well as contemporary works by younger artists like Subodh Gupta, Alwar Balsubramaniam, T.V. Santhosh, Nalini Malani, Rina Banerjee and Zarina Hashmi together with a selection of works by contemporary artists from Pakistan, Christie’s said Wednesday.
The works are estimated between $1,500 and $600,000.
Leading Pakistani artists including Ismail Guljee, Anwar Shemza, Shezad Dawood, Khadim Ali and Tazeen Qayyum will represent the new contemporary wave from the Islamic nation.
The untitled falling figure by Mehta, representing synergy between the artist’s artistic and social concerns, derives from a traumatic experience in his youth, when he witnessed the violent death of a man during the 1947 Partition Riots.
The “Untitled (Falling Figure)” was the backdrop for the Artists Against Communalism, a 12-hour cultural sit-in in Bombay on March 14, 1992. It became the banner under which artists communed in creative unity.
Also on offer is a rare untitled work by Gaitonde (estimated to go for $300,000-500,000) known for his linear form, light and colour, from the collection of Bernard Peters, a cosmic ray physicist who was deeply influential in the early years of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay.
The painting, say experts, is an example of Gaitonde’s minimalist and conceptual approach to a time in India’s early post-Independence history when Indian artists and scientists shared a common belief that for India to join the ranks of the greatest nations new discoveries and new ways of understanding the universe were necessary.
A untitled work by Gupta (estimated $200,000-$300,000) with stainless steel pots serves as a commentary on contemporary India.
Representing the new generation of Pakistani artists, Dawood appropriates various forms of western and eastern popular culture from films to music in his multi-disciplinary works.
In “Beata Benazir” (estimated $3,000-5,000), Dawood depicts the former Pakistan prime minister (late) Benazir Bhutto as a film heroine, suggesting that Pakistani politics, much like cinema, is a fabricated reality.
A sculptural work (estimated $60,000-$80,000) by Balasubramaniam on sale plays with the interaction between space and form.
An outstretched arm made from a cast of the artist’s own hand extends from the wall, pulling a rope that is adhered to an adjacent wall. From the force of the pulling, the wall pulls away like the pinching of skin or fabric, immediately drawing in the viewer.
Balasubramaniam is the only Indian artist to be invited to participate in the 18th Sydney Biennale.