Delhi photographer takes centre stage in Berlin

Nature Morte debuts in German capital with Delhi-born photographer

MUMBAI. European fans of contemporary Indian art will have one more opportunity to indulge their tastes from 20 November as yet another contemporary gallery chooses Berlin as its latest destination. Delhi-based dealer Peter Nagy will be launching Nature Morte Berlin, a 400 sq. m space at Zimmer­strasse 90-91 in the German capital.

Director Julie Engelmeier, who has worked at Jablonka Galerie, Berlin, and gallery-owner-cum-curator Mr Nagy have decided that their inaugural show will be a solo exhibition of work by Delhi-born photographer Dayanita Singh (20 November-3 January 2009). This will include photographs of marginalised communities in India.

Mr Nagy says his cross-cultural background will boost his ability to promote Indian art in Berlin. Nature Morte was originally part of New York’s East Village art scene in the early 1980s and was re-established in Delhi in 1997.

Nature Morte Berlin is the second gallery in the capital dedicated to contemporary Indian art. BodhiBerlin, situated behind the Hamburger Bahnhof museum, opened its doors in May and has concentrated on holding curated exhibitions to introduce its new audience with Indian art. “Berlin is about the art, and we see an appreciative and thoughtful art-loving audience at every show,” says Sharmistha Ray, sales director of Bodhi for Europe and India. But she admits: “Our collector profile has remained exactly the same. There are not that many collectors in Berlin, which has never been affluent, unlike other German cities.”

Mr Nagy, however, is convinced his Berlin venture will be welcomed by collectors. “We have a special edge in terms of brand recognition with the international art world. Nature Morte was the first gallery from India to participate in the world’s most prestigious art fairs. We meet many people at these fairs who are just starting to become aware of Indian contemporary art, so they will want to travel to Berlin to see what we are doing there.”

Mr Nagy says he will also give priority to international artists who have a connection with India and Indian culture. From 10 January-14 February 2009, Nature Morte Berlin will show abstract paintings by New York-based Stephen Mueller, whose art is inspired by Indian philosophy and classical music.

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