Dean Baldwin: The Calyx-Krater Chamber
26 April - 15 June 2013
Dean Baldwin, a British-Canadian artist known for his flair for hospitality and humorous social situations, is creating a new installation for the Mumbai Art Room. Recruiting the purveyors of assorted local street industries, Baldwin is enlisting their myriad everyday services to fabricate iconic objects recalling Greco-Roman antiquity. He adopts the pragmatic aesthetics of Bombay's contemporary street kiosks, but tangles them with classical archetypes of western history, providing viewers with an unusual exhibition encounter.
The Calyx-Krater Chamber is both a functioning food stall and an immersive museological display. It is an ensemble of unique sculptural components produced in collaboration with individual sign painters, Dharavi potters, copper tambats, marble workers and metalsmiths of Bombay. At the centre of the room, as in an ancient Greek symposium, stands a large terracotta vessel. It is a recreated calyx-krater (krater from the Greek verb κεράννυμι, keránnymi— to mix), made in collaboration with Dharavi potters. In the fifth century B.C.E., the calyx-krater was invented to hold a wine concoction, and it served as a gathering place, an immovable hub of conviviality. This installation also includes gastronomic offerings, wall paintings, and other hybridized evocations of the symposium aesthetic.
The Calyx-Krater Chamber was made in collaboration with many different people, including Poonam Jain, Abbas Zakariya Galwani, Aarzoo Shaik, Ibrahim Shaik, Kumar R. Jaiswal, Gracian D'souza, Atique Ahmad, Mohammed Fazil Sharif, and M. Mani. It was produced in collaboration with Eve Lemesle, of What About Art?
Dean Baldwin is a Canadian-British artist living in Montreal who has been exhibiting internationally for over ten years. His work involves social practice, a form of artmaking recently described as "blur[ring] lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art" (Randy Kennedy, The New York Times, March 24, 2013, p. AR1). Baldwin's recent projects include installations at Parisian Laundry and Centre Clark, both in Montreal, Canada; at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; and at Space Studios in London, UK. He produced a work for the opening of the Canada Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). His work has also been included in Oh Canada! at MASS MoCA (2012), North Adams, Massachusetts; and The Quebec Triennial, Le Travail Qui Nous Attend at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2011), Canada. A video interview with the artist can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-avz0nptUY
About the India-Quebec Cross-Residency Program
The Calyx-Krater Chamber is the culmination of Baldwin's participation in the India-Quebec Cross-Residency Program between The Darling Foundry in Montreal and What About Art? in Mumbai. The Darling Foundry, an alternative visual arts complex in Old Montreal (Quebec, Canada), and What About Art?, a recently-formed organization offering opportunities for young and international artists in Mumbai, directed by Eve Lemesle, have launched this residency exchange program between Mumbai and Montreal, Quebec. Artists involved in this program benefit from a studio, professional support, and an exhibition. Residencies have been hosted at the Darling Foundry, Montreal, and Last Ship, Mumbai.
Funding and Support
The India-Quebec Cross-Residency Program benefits from the generous support of the Ministry of International Relations of Quebec, the Bureau du Quebec in Mumbai, the Creative India Foundation, and the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.
The Mumbai Art Room enjoys support from Perkins Eastman Architects, Pico, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, Outset India, Kala Ghoda Café, Nandam Realtors, and AZB & Partners.