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Indian Tantric & Western Contemporary


Indian Tantric & Western Contemporary The Indian term tantra is generally linked with mystery and mysticism as well as with sex, magic and hocus-pocus in the West. Indeed, tantrism is connected with all these and even more. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism, Vajrayana, BÜnpo, Ayurveda and Shamanism are some of the philosophies, religions and sciences that were somehow influenced by tantrism. Tantras expand doctrines on the creation and destruction of the universe, the worship of certain deities, spiritual exercises, secret rituals, magical powers and meditation. Three words in Indian tantrism are related, also phonologically: tantra (the philosophy), mantra (the knowledge through sound) and yantra (the means to leading a tantric existence). Many of the diagrams, mandalas and symbols, represented in Indian tantrism are of Jain origin and deal mainly with cosmographic themes. Jains have always made clear diagrams and maps of the world (Jambudvipa) and the cosmos (Lokapurusa). Jains described in the smallest of detail the macro as well as the micro-cosmos, using notions equivalent to light-years and atoms, long before western scientists discovered them. For this exhibition we have chosen to juxtapose selected tantric objects and drawings with works by contemporary artists, which both directly or indirectly relate and reflect on some of the notions of tantric art. Abstract in appearance the circular tide drawings by the New York artist Jill Baroff are depictions of tidal movements at specific geographic locations. Similar to the astrological studies these drawings render and explore natural phenomena of cosmic origins. The late Swiss painter Rudolf de Crignis who together with his partner Michael Paoletta collected tantric drawings for many years is a perfect example how the study of yantra has attracted and bridged artistic practices over many centuries. Hence it comes as no surprise that reviews and essays concerning the work of American painters James Howell, Phil Sims, Winston Roeth and Kate Shepherd refer to apparent aesthetic similarities between their paintings and early tantric art. Literal references equally play an important role; Mike MeirÊ has been referencing Indian philosophical writing for the titles of his work, which is routed in tantrism. Equally much of Beat Zoderer’s early work shown here is heavily influenced by his experience traveling in India at the beginning of his career. This exhibition is the result of a shared passion for both Indian Tantric and Western Contemporary Art.


Mike MeirĂŠ Diptych: This Formless Love 2012 Lacquer-paint on newspaper Each 56.5 x 41 cm 22 1/4 x 16 1/8 in Bronze Yantra Rajasthan 17th-18th Century 3 x 7 cm 1 1/8 x 2 5/8 in


Beat Zoderer Spickarbeit 1995 Chalk and filler on wood 100 x 60 cm 39 3/8 x 23 6/8 in


Lokapurusha (Cosmic Man) Rajasthan 19th Century Gouache on cloth 151 x 106.5 cm 59 1/2 x 42 in


Astrological Study North India 19th Century Ink on paper 43 x 30.5 cm 17 x 12 in Hadi Tabatabai Thread Drawing 2012-17 2012 Thread and Polymer varnish on paper 25.4 x 22.9 cm 10 x 9 in Astrological Study North India 19th Century Ink on paper 49 x 54 cm 19 1/4 x 21 1/2 in Hadi Tabatabai Thread Drawing 2012-18 2012 Thread and Polymer varnish on paper 25.4 x 22.9 cm 10 x 9 in


Kate Shepherd Diptych: Half Tone Suits 2012 Cut and taped screenprints Each 64 x 28 cm 25 1/8 x 11 in Triangular Bronze Mangala Yantra depicting Durga Rajasthan 18th Century 8.5 x 9.5 cm 3 1/4 x 3 3/4 in


Folio from a Nyasa Manuscript Western India circa 16th Century Ink on paper 26 x 11 cm 10 1/4 x 4 3/8 in Folio from an Astrological Manuscript Western India circa 16th Century Ink on paper 26 x 11 cm 10 1/4 x 4 3/8 in Stefana McClure South Pacific: Closed captions to a film by J. Logan 2008 Transfer paper 59 x 77.5 cm 23 x 30 1/2 in


Jill Baroff Set of six drawings: Gustav Landing 2009 Ink on Japanese gampi Each 35 x 35 cm 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in Yantra Rajasthan 18th Century Ink on paper laid down on cloth 40 x 39 cm 15 3/4 x 15 3/8 in


Winston Roeth Black / Green Square 2004 Tempera on MDF 61 x 61 cm 24 x 24 in Bronze Vishnu Shrine Rajasthan 17th-18th Century 10 x 5.5 cm 4 x 2 1/8 in


Rudolf de Crignis Painting #95032, (Light vibrant blue) 1995 Oil on canvas 78.7 x 78.7 cm 31 x 31 in Bronze Lotus Yantra Rajasthan 17th-18th Century 1.5 x 7 cm 1/2 x 2 3/4 in


Indian Tantric & Western Contemporary

Astrological drawing North India 19th Century Gouache on paper Diameter 33.5 cm 13 1/8 in Phil Sims Untitled 2011 Watercolour on mylar 91.4 x 60.9 cm 36 x 24 in

This publication was published in an Edition of 1’000 Copies on the occasion of Indian Tantric & Western Contemporary a collaboration between Joost van den Bergh & Bartha Contemporary. Exhibition held at Bartha Contemporary, 25 Margaret Street, London W1W 8RX Feburary 8 - March 23 2013 Opening hours Tuesday - Saturday 11AM - 6PM and by appointment. Underground Station Oxford Circus

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Indian Tantric Western Contemporary