Thukral and Tagra (Painter, New Media)
Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra
were conferred with
Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Sanmaan
Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi
by Shri Atul Dodiya, well known artist
at Punjab Kala Bhawan
Sector 16 B, Chandigarh
on 5th April 2019
JitenThukral and SumirTagra are iconic examples of collaboration between artists—though each has his distinct personality, in their art works their individual contributions blend like rivers pouring themselves into the ocean to become one harmonious whole. That is why it is fitting to talk of them together, though Thukral was born in 1976 in Jalandhar, Punjab and Tagra took birth in 1979 in New Delhi, and both grew up and studied in different places: Jiten is an alumnus of the College of Art, Chandigarh and did his Masters at College of Art, Delhi while Tagra did his post-graduation at NID, Ahmedabad. They first met in 2001; the realization that they had similar interests led to this enduring and fruitful partnership.
They work collaboratively with a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, installations, interactive games, video, performance and design. From designing apparel and fashion accessories for high end brands to making thought provoking installations and films on migration and the agrarian crisis in Punjab, they transcend with panache the boundaries of fine art and popular culture, product placement and exhibition design, artistic inspiration and media hype. They break out of the mediated and disciplinary world and create strikingly colourful, often whimsical and quirky multi-modal sensory and immersive environments by working on new formats of public engagement and attempt to expand the scope of what art can do, merging aesthetics with activism.
Though unmistakably rooted in the culture and aesthetic of the homeland, Thukral and Tagra do not accept it unthinkingly; they question and probe the nature of our Indian identity. As natives of Punjab, they delve into their own personal histories and memories to address the social-cultural changes most visible in their home state. Shifting family values, a desire for ‘escape’ via migration, changing middle-class aspirations and the globally manifested consumer culture have been recurring motifs of sociopolitical commentary in their work They often use ‘games’ as a tool to address complex issues through interactive and playful means and their approach simultaneously evokes dreamy nostalgia and unsettling disquietude. Their recent work has dealt with off-beat and enlivening interpretations of Indian mythological narratives and symbols in the contemporary context. From a pop visual character to a pre-dominantly abstract approach and compositional philosophy, they constantly shift in terms of their visual grammar and vocabulary.
Over the years they have had notable exhibitions across the world: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Arken Museum, Denmark; Kunstmuseum in Bochum, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, France; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Alberta Art Gallery, Canada; Fed @ KCAD Galleries, Michigan; BTAP Gallery and Tokyo Art Fair, Tokyo; Arario Gallery, Seoul; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; South Bank Centre and Dairy Art Centre, London; The Manchester Museum; UCCA, Beijing; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Maxxi Museum, Rome; Helsinki Art Museum, Finland; Kennedy Center, Washington DC; University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Wereld Museum, Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Essl Museum, Vienna; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; Venice Biennale; Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Arts 06-Queensland, Brisbane; and also in Dubai, France, Germany, Stockholm, Sydney, Singapore…. The list is ever growing!
This year they have been invited to mount exhibitions at Quarry Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park in UK, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg in Stuttgart, Germany and Lille Tripostle in France.
Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi feels honoured in conferring the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Sanmaan upon Shri JitenThukral and Shri SumirTagra better known as Thukral and Tagra.