An arts organisation founded by philanthropist Feroze Gujral and her husband Mohit Gujral, the Gujral Foundation provides funds and other support to projects, exhibitions and hosts talks by artists and other practitioners in the field. The Foundation was established in 2008, and its main exhibition space and office are located at 24, Jor Bagh, New Delhi. It is particularly focused on encouraging innovation in the way institutions support contemporary Indian art and its place in global discourse.
The Foundation organised the launch of Outset India, also headed by Feroze Gujral, in 2011 in New Delhi and Mumbai. Subsequently, the Foundation has collaborated with Outset India to curate several shows at their space in New Delhi. The Foundation facilitated the Outset India Breakfast talks which were held between 2011 and 2015 as part of the India Art Fair. It also conducts initiatives to expand the scope of the exhibition format, such as Studio 24 where artists create works on site for display. So far, these have been NAAG (2012), a site-specific installation by Vishal K Dar and Gabrielle Dunne at The Toilet, Mehrauli; The Emporium at the Edge of Certainty (2018), an immersive installation by the theatre company Crow held at a disused building in Okhla, New Delhi; and an open studio show by Raj Jariwala in 2018, following his two-week residency at 24 Jor Bagh. Since 2011, an associated venture by Feroze Gujral, Studio G-Spot, has served as a multipurpose space where talks, artist residencies, workshops and other events are held with the primary goal of fostering interdisciplinary connections between art, design and architecture. Through the Foundation, the Gujrals acquired and donated the Fort Kochi sites of Aspinwall House and Cabal Yard to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2014, and these venues have since become crucial to the Biennale. In December 2019, the Foundation also sponsored a course called Feeling for the Future: Sensory Architecture, held at CEPT University, Ahmedabad and taught by architect Suchi Reddy.
Major exhibitions organised by the Foundation at 24, Jor Bagh include Tolstoy Farm: Archive of Utopia (2011), a group show curated by Gayatri Sinha on artists’ responses to the utopian visions of historic figures; Wish Trees in India (2012), a solo show of works by Yoko Ono; House of Everything and Nothing (2013), a site-specific installation and exhibition by Raqs Media Collective; Oneiric House: round about midnight (2014), an installation of multiple works by Sonia Khurana; Some Kind of Nature, a show of Tejal Shah’s work on deep time; The Silent Call Of The Earth (2015), a solo show by Israeli architect Achia Anzi inspired by the ideas of Martin Heidegger; This Night Bitten Dawn (2016), a group show curated by Salima Hashmi based on her father Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Subah-e-Azadi; Queen-Size (2016), an interactive performance by Lalit Khatana and Parinay Mehra on the public and private life of LGBTQ partners, choreographed by Mandeep Raikhy; The Open Hand (2017), a collateral event of India Art Fair showcasing projects that were funded by the Foundation in the past, by Basir Mahmood, Desire Machine Collective, Pallavi Paul, Shilpa Gupta and Vishal K Dar; In the Absence of Writing (2019), a solo show by Astha Butail curated by Reha Sodhi, the culmination of the artist’s research on written and oral histories in South and West Asia; and most recently, Memory’s Cut: Its Deep Embrace (2020), a solo show by Remen Chopra W. Van Der Vaart. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns in 2020, the Foundation has held virtual shows.
Exhibitions supported and organised by the Foundation in other venues include A Brush with Life (2015), a retrospective exhibition on modernist artist and Mohit Gujral’s father Satish Gujral, held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts; Regimes of Truth (2018), a two-part exhibition series curated by Shaunak Mehbubani, held at Gati Dance Forum’s erstwhile studio in Lado Sarai, New Delhi, and a neglected theatre space in nearby Saidulajab; Property of a Gentleman: Stamps from the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Dominions (2019), an exhibition from the Ewari (Feroze Gujral’s family) collection curated by Pramod KG and held at Bikaner House, New Delhi; the sculpture park on the CEPT campus in 2019 with installations by reD Architects and artist Ayesha Singh; and The Song of the Earth and the Sky (2020), a large metal pavilion made by the architect Ankon Mitra at Sunder Nursery, New Delhi.
The Foundation’s collaborations with international events and venues have garnered it a reputation for being a key player in the Indian art scene. These include Painting as Process, Painting as Life (2014-2015), a retrospective of the late modernist painter VS Gaitonde at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; My East is Your West at the Indian pavilion for the 2015 Venice Biennale, noted for showing the work of Indian artist Shilpa Gupta alongside that of Pakistani artist Rashid Rana; Vishal K Dar’s light installation Storm Deities (Maruts) at the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, curated by Raqs Media Collective; installations by Pallavi Paul, Basir Mahmood, and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam at Contour Biennale 8 (2017), which was curated by Natasha Ginwala; and State of Indigo at the 2018 London Design Biennale, on the colonial legacy of indigo cultivation and trade. The Foundation was one of the key funders for the eighth Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014).
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