Touch is an exhibition of fine art prints that celebrates the technical skill of the laborious print process. Focusing on the materiality of the print, the exhibition gathers a selection of unique & limited edition prints that luxuriate in the textures and surfaces of the everyday. Breaking from the convention of exhibiting art in the white cube gallery space, Touch belongs to a series of art exhibitions presented in pseudo living spaces, simulating the presence of art in a private domestic interior. Installed at the Nivasa showroom, each artwork compliments the spirit of a specific piece of furniture, inviting us to experience a medley of comfort and luxury.
Contemporary printmaking in India dates back to the middle of the 16th century; first introduced for publications and later popularized as kitschy calendar art by Raja Ravi Varma in the late 19th century. The practice of printmaking as a fine art medium only gained popularity with the establishment of Kala Bhavan (Kolkata) founded by the Tagores in 1919. Often relegated as digital duplicates or craft, the exhibition at Nivasa is also a way to reclaim the position of art prints.
For the show, a group of young printmakers were invited to draw on the idea of home and their everyday- on the moods and memories, warmth and familiarity that the domestic environment evokes. The markings and scratches, the chemicals and inks that are pressed, bled or contained in order to leave a desired impression on a surface, paired with Nivasa’s line of furniture contribute to a cornucopia of textures that create a dramatic experience. While some artists focus on line and form, others dwell on allegory and narration as reference points of inspiration.
Further, the site and format of the exhibition raises the long-standing debate on the differences between design and art, the crafted object and the artist’s assemblage as well as the aura of the art object’s architectural container. Touch is therefore, an attempt to dialogue with the above, as well introduce the design store or showroom as an intimate exhibition space that accents the intent of art for the home. It is within this rubric, that print and furniture as art forms and as traditional crafts are also addressed.