Indo-European Residency at AF Bengale

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Art transcends boundaries, builds bridges and helps bring people together. It is for this reason that the Alliances Françaises in India and Nepal take a keen interest in nurturing artists and providing them a platform to display their works. To highlight the collaborative and transformative potential of the Arts, Alliance Française du Bengale recently participated in the Indo-European Residency Project Kolkata in partnership with the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata, the Kolkata-based contemporary art gallery CIMA and Visva Bharati, Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan. The goal of the residency was to highlight how a cultural space is discovered.

The Closing Ceremony of the Residency

The Closing Ceremony of the Residency

An interdiscplinary residency, the Indo-European Residency Project Kolkata was organised within the framework of the Franco-German Elysée Fonds. The current iteration of the residency took place over the course of seven weeks starting from mid September 2017. The aim of the residency was not the creation of an individual or collective work of art. It focussed on the personal and artistic enrichment of the participating artists through interaction and exchange with their fellow-residents along with other Indian artists. For the current edition of the residency, the three participating artists were Laurent Reyes (Lyon, France), Ida Roscher (Hamburg, Germany) and Harendra Kumar Kushwaha (Kolkata, India). They met a variety of people from all walks of life for a series of productive exchanges.

The three participating artists (from left to right) -  Harendra Kumar Kushwaha, Ida Roscher and Laurent Reyes

The three participating artists (from left to right) – Harendra Kumar Kushwaha, Ida Roscher and Laurent Reyes

These three artists explored Kolkata together for six weeks and Santiniketan for one week. Each of them practices different art forms. For instance, the filmmaker Reyes considers artistic media as tools to experience life – as an interface to discover and meet his environment. Using photography, sound recording or video, his work focuses on the “the other” to better understand himself. On the other hand, the installation and performance artist Roscher works towards developing strategies for examining social relations in an intercultural environment. She is interested in societal forms, norms and questions regarding common actions in times of individualism. Kushwaha initially worked with various media including acrylic, oil, pastel, mixed media and watercolours. While these media presented their own lure and pictorial possibilities, what ultimately stuck to him was the notion of “making” rather than a finished object. This reliance on the idea of “process”, the unfinished and the “continuous” led him to explore the elastic possibilities of various materials.

The Closing Ceremony of the Residency

The Closing Ceremony of the Residency (from left to right) Fabrice Plançon, Director of Alliance française du Bengale, Pratiti Basu Sarkar, Chief co-ordinator of CIMA Gallery and Friso Maecker, Director of Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata

Each of the artists admitted to being anxious at the beginning of the residency. The Nepal-born Kushwaha does not speak English fluently. Reyes, on his second visit to Kolkata, had a love-hate relationship with the city whilst Roscher was initially intimidated by the noise and the crowd. However, the three quickly warmed up to each other over shared meals and creative experiences. Even though there was no pressure or a deadline to embark on a project, each of the them were inspired to work on their œuvres by different aspects of the cities. Fabrice Plançon (Director, AF Bengale) added that the residency was a learning process not just for the artists but also the organisers and that he hoped to repeat the initiative in the near future.

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...