Published  05/01/2009

A highway to India

EM Forster could never have anticipated in his lifetime the contemporary regeneration of Indian culture, from literature, to Bollywood, to contemporary arts. At the Serpentine Gallery there is a revelation about the visual arts surge, but unfortunately the poor Serpentine is not large enough to accommodate it all with ease. Firstly, come the thirteen works of painter MF Husain, the master of Indian painting. Other artists include Nikhil Chopra, landscape painter. Then there is a wall in the gallery of the concentric circles created by Bharti Kher. Subodh Gupta has another room to himself, where he parodies a scenario much familiar to Indians that created by the activity of bureaucracy. Only the lobby is available for video art, which is sad nowadays. In the education room, the so-called Raqs Media Collective offers a ‘sub-exhibition’, sub-prime indeed. There are other rooms, including Bose Krishnamachari’s installation about Mumbai, a city with which we are all familiar now again. Overall, one has the impression that this exhibition, once it was contracted, just grew and grew in the way that cities do all over India. Which passage gets you out into the wider world? That is the question.

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