लेन देन - Len Den

4 June – 17 September 2015

Bartered Collections
A project initiated by CONA Foundation
In collaboration with Mumbai Art Room


Bartered Collections is a project based on exchanges between artists. It draws its lineage from an unwritten history of artist exchanges and reinserts the age-old system of barter into our present day context.

The process, which Hemali Bhuta and Shreyas Karle of CONA have engaged in over time with artist friends, is being brought into a broader and public frame through an exhibition called Len Den (or give and take). In the months leading up to the opening, a group of artists were invited into a temporarily ‘closed system’, to undertake a series of negotiations towards trading what they make. Some of these engagements have resulted in new productions. The bartered works will first stopover at the exhibition space, where they will be available, sometimes stacked, sometimes on display, and Mumbai Art Room will stage itself as a ground for further exchanges. During the course of this period, each artist will invite five others to partake in a second round of the same.


Having turned into an archival and storage room, the exhibition space reveals various aspects of the project’s proceedings. The viewer encounters a zone of confidentiality in which art works are usually traded. Files for each artist, as well as for each barter, including images and notations, are being prepared. A collective contract that sits alongside the idea of individual ownership is being formulated. A selection from the corpus of dialogues around the project will be compiled into a publication with other texts. Divorced from the aura in which they typically appear in public, the artworks come forth as real things, objects in an assembly line of meaning. They sidestep the economy of the art market but enter a collection, raising questions about the value of art and its system.


With Mahesh Baliga, Hemali Bhuta, Makarand Dhotre, Jason Dodge, Bhuvanesh Gowda, Shreyas Karle, Ritesh Meshram, Yamini Nayar, Gyan Panchal, Himanshu S., Amitesh Shrivastava, Gagan Singh, Kiran Subbaiah, Sashikant Thavudoz and others.

CONA Foundation is an artist-run space initiated in 2012 by Hemali Bhuta and Shreyas Karle. It emerged from a shared studio in Borivali, where a group of artists and designers felt the need to lay a ground for discourse around each other’s practices in an adda or salon-like situation. CONA, as the name suggests, is situated at the corner or edge of the city, where it operates as a parallel pedagogical and residency structure that aims to dissolve the hierarchies between art and design, and acts as a bridge between the vernacular and the sophisticated.


Special thanks to Kala Ghoda Café.

Bartered Collections