Experimenter is a leading Kolkata-based contemporary art gallery that seeks to provide a neutral space for voices of dissent and an in-depth critique of established systems in art and society. Its exhibition programme fosters ambitious, challenging, and critical practices on the world stage. Furthermore, the gallery’s multi-disciplinary approach has made it a hub for public discourse and learning.Read More
Established by Prateek & Priyanka Raja in 2009, Experimenter occupies two spaces in South Kolkata’s affluent, art-rich Ballygunge neighbourhood. The gallery’s first space on Hindusthan Road features a distinctive two-foot-deep recess space—the original courtyard of the old 1930s building the gallery was built from—which in its integration within demonstrates the gallery’s experimental nature. From the outset the gallery’s underlying ethos, as expressed by its owners to Art Radar’s Megan Miller, is to present cutting-edge contemporary visual art ‘to capture contemporaneity in the truest sense, to be able to challenge not only viewers but also artists, and us as thinkers of the programme to push the boundaries that we have set for ourselves.’
From the outset the gallery has sought to work with critically engaged and boundary-pushing artists from a wide range of disciplines. The gallery soon developed relationships with international exhibiting artists such as Turner Prize-nominated filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen; satirical Pakistani video artist Bani Abidi; and multi-disciplinary, sound-obsessed Hong Kong artist Samson Young.
Beyond its exhibitions, Experimenter sets the pace for contemporary art of the region as its centre of knowledge-making. The gallery hosts the Experimenter Curators’ Hub: an annual international gathering of curators and art professionals to share developments in contemporary curatorial practice, initiated in 2010. Since 2016 the gallery’s publishing wing Experimenter Books has contributed to the literature on its artists. In 2018 the gallery established the Experimenter Learning Program. Intended to be fully independent of the gallery’s commercial activities, the programme serves to fill a public institutional gap in the region, offering a platform for discussion and education relating to visual culture and the arts.
In 2018 Experimenter opened its second gallery—a larger and more adaptable space occupying two floors of a restored 1930s house on Ballygunge Place. The inaugural show was a sequel exhibition titled I wish to let you fall out of my hands (Chapter II) (2018). The exhibition explored human emotions and identity in relation to architecture and spaces.
Marking its tenth year in 2019, the gallery launched Experimenter—Outpost initiative: a programme that extends beyond the physical gallery space to breathe new life into unique disused spaces through temporary exhibitions. This was inaugurated by Let’s Sing an Old Song (2019): a solo show by Indian documentary photographer Soumya Sankar Bose displaying photos of former artists of the traditional Bengal folk theatre form, Jatra, in an old building in Ballygunge.
Experimenter supports established and mid-career, Indian and international artists across a range of disciplines. Among its roster are established names like Sohrab Hura of Magnum Photos fame; multi-media visual artist Prabhakar Pachpute, whose works cast a critical eye on issues of mining and labour; and Dutch-based Indian visual artist Praneet Soi, who has represented India at the Venice Biennale. Not just restricted to South Asian artists the gallery also works with prominent artists such as New York-based Candian photographer and writer Moyra Davey. Experimenter also works with visual artist groups such as CAMP and Raqs Media Collective.
In its mission to promote the work of critically engaged South Asian artists on the world stage Experimenter participates in several major international and regional art fairs. These include Art Dubai; India Art Fair, New Delhi; FIAC, Paris; Frieze New York; and Art Basel in Hong Kong and Basel.
Taking place annually in India's capital, New Delhi, view highlights of India Art Fair's 13th edition of modern and contemporary art from South Asia.View More Ocula Feature Art Fair India 2022: Exhibitions to See By Elaine YJ Zheng, New Dehli
With India Art Fair's return this spring, Ocula Magazine presents the exhibitions to see in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.Read More Ocula News India Art Fair Announces Full Programme Delhi, 8 April 2022
Highlights include performance art by Gurjeet Singh and Arpita Akhanda, a panel discussion by leaders of India's NFT community, and a BMW wrap by Faiza Hasan.Read More Ocula Insight Art Dubai 2022: Artist Highlights By Stephanie Bailey, Dubai
Ocula Magazine brings you the highlights from Art Dubai's 15th edition.Read More
The strength of the South Asian art market is reflected in this year's India Art Fair. We select some of our favourite works on view.Read More Advisory Perspective Advisory Selections from Art Basel OVR: Portals 15 June 2021
Ocula Advisory present a selection of highlights on view in OVR: Portals—the first curator-led edition of Art Basel's Online Viewing Rooms.Read More
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