‘Vita Nova’ exploring transformations and departures in contemporary craft

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These works claim contemporary craft as a dynamic critical position for understanding the most immediate political and aesthetic issues of our time…reports Asian Lite News

Vita Nova’, a touring two-city exhibition, will open in Jaipur (March 9-22) and travel to Delhi post-April 20.

The exhibition has been produced by the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre and curated and conceived by Myna Mukherjee and Davide Quadrio.

In Jaipur, it arrives as a collateral event to the Jaipur Literature Festival and is spread across two sites. It is presented in collaboration with the Jawahar Kala Kendra, Rajasthan Department of Art and Culture and Gyan Museum, and is part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations marking 75 years of India’s Independence.

Inspired by Dante’s literature, Vita Nova is a two-site exhibition exploring transformations, connections and departures in contemporary craft and art between Italy and India. Vita Nova is the title of the poems by Dante, composed in honour of his lover and muse, that shaped the history of poetry in Italy and worldwide.

The curation called six artists from India and Italy to be challenged by this literature hero’s extraordinary body of work and explore the territory of “new life” (vita nova) or the transformative life that Dante wrote about. The resulting exhibition lets the viewer enter a realm of mystery and metaphor; the arcane and the magical; nature and humanity; mythology and memory; transformation and preservation; and ultimately the manifestation of something new.

All six artists — Andrea Anastasio, Francesco Simeti, Marta Roberti, Puneet Kaushik, Raghava KK, and Shilo Shiv Suleman — blur several distinctions as they work with a range of ‘handmade’ techniques from woodcuts, block prints, embroidery, tapestry, metal forging, blue pottery, miniatures, bidri, ceramics, clay and even cardboard making.

Together, they create a hothouse of new works that expose the conjunctions and disjunctions inherent in these contemporary hybridised artworks. They generate questions about the role of craft in their evolutionary shift to the ‘dematerialised’ and conceptual while retaining their historical and cultural significance.

These works claim contemporary craft as a dynamic critical position for understanding the most immediate political and aesthetic issues of our time.

Encompassing tapestries, carpets, sculptures, miniatures, textiles & artisanal objects, moving from magic realism to metaphors of political protests, ‘Vita Nova’ is an eclectic immersion into the “conceptual craft futures” referenced and celebrated by artists promoting new ways of thinking about the role of craft in contemporary art and significance of the ‘handmade’ within conceptual art-making practices.

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