Last week we had the tremendous pleasure to travel to one of our favorite places, vibrant Mumbai, for a very special opening.
Our friend Hena Kapadia of TARQ gallery (Tarq means in Sanskrit: discussion, abstract reasoning, logic, and cause) opened her new gallery space and we sat down with her to look back on almost a decade of gallery work (she founded TARQ in 2014 in her twenties #girlboss) and what this next step means for her, her artists and TARQ.
When Kapadia was asked what 4 words would describe herself – as some of you out there might not have had the pleasure yet to meet this force of a women – she said: “You’ll be surprised”. Later in the conversation revisiting this question a second sentence came up: “Ants in my pants”. The idea of moving to another gallery space has been playing around in her mind, but in her own words:” Motherhood and the pandemic delayed my plans by 6 months” -that is the kind of powerhouse Kapadia is, while most of us feel like we lost years in the pandemic alone, she was merely delayed by these two monumental life events by 26 weeks.
Formulating plans, finding a space, and overseeing its extensive renovations within the course of 12 months the new TARQ has now emerged. In close collaboration with the architect Katsushi Goto they transformed the roughly 120-year-old office structure into an airy, stunning space with loads of natural light and high ceilings allowing Kapadia to show twice the amount of artworks than in her previous space and house her staff properly.
Sharing the TAG philosophy #youcansitwithus, her approach to running a gallery and working with her artists is deeply genuine and warm. Doing away with the high-brow and superficial ways of the global art elite, Kapadia runs a quiet, intentional, and substantial program. She represents 22 artists permanently, with others being part of group shows. For the artists represented, nothing will change, Kapadia says, other than having more natural light and a much bigger space to show in.
Generally “a consistency of practice and a consistency of thought” are most important to her and “while the visual representation might change over time” the underlying ideas of her artists stay consistent.
Kapadia, deeply invested in her artist’s practice always co-curates their shows in close collaboration and conversation with them – she calls it lovingly a “benevolent dictatorship”.
Other than that she does not limit herself into boxes, she said she would be bored if she’d only shown abstracts or only focused on one kind of school. She is deeply involved, curates all her solo shows herself, hosts workshops for both the general public and her artists, and generally understands her gallery as a laboratory for experimentation pushing the boundaries of what a gallery means in both an Indian and a global context.
The honor of the opening show, titled Edifice Complex*, was bestowed upon Sameer Kulavoor who filled the space with his multifaceted practice spanning endearing stop motion films deriving from his post-it drawings – filling an entire pad of up to 100 small drawings with meandering cityscapes, abstractions on houses and the occasional almost photo-realistic fleeting human figure, roadside sign or on the other end of the spectrum abstract neon blob, blue line, shape morphing on and out of focus; behind glass paintings; overpainted prints and paintings that again explored the theme of the ever-changing city and human dwellings.
Special shout out to Kaveri who guided us with tremendous knowledge and kindness through this trip. If you have PR needs in India, she is your woman. @kavericharya
KK (Navsari) Chambers, Ground Floor
39B AK Nayak Marg, Fort
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am – 6:30pm
*The term “edifice complex” was coined in the 1970s by Behn Cervantes to describe Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos‘ practice of using publicly funded construction projects as political and election propaganda, a play on “Oedipus complex” it further evokes Deyan Sudjic book of the same name from 2005 dealing in the relationship between power, money and architecture in the 21st century.
Text by Anna Maja Spiess