Year
Author
Title
Publisher
Pdf
2012
Ipshita Mitra
40-YEAR-OLD RARE PAINTINGS AT THIS ART DO
Times of India
Around four decade old paintings, drawings and other artworks were showcased in the exhibition titled 'Crossings' that defined the paradox of permanence and transience with the passage of time. A connoisseur and an art collector, Kiran Nadar's motive behind sourcing the age-old and unseen artifacts was to make people aware and appreciate art in all its splendour. Says Kiran Nadar, "India is still far from achieving the status of an 'art hub' and this is an initiative to achieve the same. There is definitely an interest that seems to be growing but somewhere the sensibilities have not matured and there is less of an involvement with art."
Further reading
2012
Olina Banerji
DAY 4 OF INDIA ART FAIR: HIGHLIGHTS
India Today
Delhi's crash course in high culture and art appreciation continued well into the fourth day of the India Art Fair. If things may have been a bit dull postlunch on Friday, the fair made up in numbers on Saturday as phone camera wielding students and enthusiasts crowded the more popular stalls, posing with paintings and installations that caught their fancy, or were just plain bizzare.
Further reading
2012
Deccan Herald
TIME TO UNFOLD AGAIN
RETRO ART
Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is all set to come up with some exclusive artwork of about 30 well-known artists, including legendary painter M F Husain that have not been displayed since the past four decades.
Further reading
2012
Kishore Singh
I DO LOVE DONKEYS VERY MUCH
Business Standard
To know what a maverick artist looks like, look no further than Ranbir Kaleka. He wears a hat even when indoors, from which on occasion I have seen fish hooks dangling — or perhaps they were earrings. Unlike the networking artist, his eyes don’t dart impatiently across the room, scanning to see whether there are buyers interested in seeking him out. You have all his attention when he speaks to you, and his speech is deliberate, slow and accented.
Further reading
2012
Deepika Shetty
ARTWORKS SNAPPED UP BEFORE PUBLIC VIEWING IN SINGAPORE
The Straits Times
Even before it opened its doors to the public, Singapore's most high-profile art fair, Art Stage Singapore, had sold several expensive works after a by-invitation-only evening last night.These included one of controversial British artist Tracey Emin's neon works brought in by New York gallery Lehmann Maupin and priced at more than £55,000 (US$84,000). Indian new media artist Ranbir Kaleka's four-channel video projections on paintings were acquired by the private Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi for an undisclosed sum, while Singapore gallery Gajah sold two paintings including one by leading Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi for US$350,000.
Further reading
2011
Zeenat Nagree
Take One
TimeOut Mumbai
In the late 1990s, when contemporary Indian art was being redefined through experiments with video and new media, Ranbir Kaleka’s first video-painting made its debut in Delhi. Since then, the 57-year-old Delhi artist has shown his disctint artworks in museums and art galleries across the world including New York, Venice, Berlin, Lisbon and Sydney but rarely in his home country. Further reading
2011
Gitanjali Dang
Ranbir Kaleka
Frieze
Morphing and reproducing exponentially, the image, as we now know it, is perennially beleaguered. To outwit this condition is a challenge, but Ranbir Kaleka is happy to pick up the gauntlet. Having studied art at the Punjab University in Chandigarh, Kaleka moved to London in 1985, where he completed his MFA in painting at the Royal College of Art and remained in England until finally returning to Delhi in 1998. ‘Sweet Unease’ was the 57-year-old artist’s first solo show in India since his return. The exhibition encompassed Kaleka’s decade-long multidisciplinary practice; barring the video Man with Cockerel II (2004) – the earliest work in the show – all other works were video projections on painted images. Further reading
2011
Zehra Jumabhoy
Volte Gallery
Artforum
Delhi-based Ranbir Kaleka’s first solo show in Mumbai includes a number of bewitching installations, from older video pieces, like the grainily poetic Man with Cockerel, 2001–2002, to newer ones, such as Cul-De-Sac in Taxila, 2010, in which a white horse magically appears when a man waves a hammer. The whimsicality of the exhibition, “Sweet Unease,” draws upon Kaleka’s childhood in a village in Patiala, Punjab. The recalcitrant rooster seen in Man with Cockerel was inspired by the macho beasts Kaleka witnessed in rural cockfights. In the video, a man holds a struggling cockerel in his arms while standing in a silvery pool of water. Finally, the cock (pun intended) dashes away, while the man and his reflection dissolve in swathes of gray mist. A similar mind-body struggle is represented in Wrestlers, 2010, a video that alludes to rustic wrestling troops, in which two identical men indulge in a sweaty brawl that could be mistaken for violent lovemaking. Further reading
2010
Ranjit Hoskote
Sweet Unease
Volte Gallery
Ranbir Kaleka’s works have achieved significant international saliency during the last decade: they have been exhibited in museum, biennial, foundation and gallery contexts in Venice, Berlin, Lisbon, Vienna, New York, Mexico City and Sydney, among other centres. Born in 1953, in Patiala, Kaleka was educated at the Punjab University, Chandigarh, and the Royal College of Art, London; he has lived and worked both in Britain and India. Across the three decades of his artistic activity, he has produced both a remarkable body of paintings, vibrant with phantasmagoria and epic disquiet, as well as a body of trans-media works that combine conceptualist sophistication with a calibrated opulence of image. Further reading
2010
Uma Nair
Ranbir Kaleka Cobbler
Art HK 10
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/plumage/entry/art-hk-10 Hong Kong will be the hub of an art paradise this week. ART HK 10 will reflect Hong Kong's ‘Gateway’ status in presenting a unique opportunity for collectors to see and buy work of a quality and geographical diversity not available anywhere else in the world. ART HK will be the showcase for international Modern & Contemporary Art in Asia with over 150 galleries participating from 29 different countries.
SAKSHI GALLERY: Mumbai
Ranbir Kaleka - Viewing Ranbir Kaleka's work is like a manipulation of time in which one may both experience the moment of action as well as view it from above. The works bring back nostalgia steeped in surrealism.
Further reading
2010
Jordan Magnuson
Viewing Kaleka in Taipei
On-line review
I was reminded of the importance of balancing context with immediacy today, as I observed a child observing Ranbir Kaleka's multimedia installation, "He Was a Good Man." The piece itself is a fascinating one, if a bit slow‐paced: we see an oil painting of a man in the foreground, intently focused on threading a needle… gradually, the painting comes to life: the man's image takes on warm tones, and we see that he is breathing; likewise, the background starts to shift, and change, revealing images from the man's youth; wait long enough, and you see the scene become a painting once again… curtains are drawn back, and shadows of observers come and go; from the background, a voice: "he was a good man." It is a subtle piece, interesting precisely for its slow pace and quiet rhythm; for its self‐awareness, and its multidimensional treatment of life and art and observation.
Further reading
2009
Himanshu Bhagat
No solace in the imagined
Art Review
After working with the moving image in inventive ways—such as marrying it with a still image— which evoke a sense of wonderment in the viewer, Ranbir Kaleka has returned to paintings for his latest show, Reading Man. In three of the four works that form the show, the paintings are supported by elements of sculpture and installation art.
The use of different elements is most in evidence in the large and complex work also titled Reading Man—it consists of three panels of colourful oil paintings with psychedelic scenes that “flow” on to the floor, turning into a cloudy carpet of black and white swirls; three wire sculptures of a man reading a book in standing, sitting and reclining positions; a working clock and solid sculptures of aluminum moulded in the shape of a bowl, a knife and a jacket (that’s been sliced in half).Further reading
2009
Beth Citron
Ranbir Kaleka, Bose Pacia
Artforum
After a decade of working primarily in video art (albeit often projected onto canvases), Indian artist Ranbir Kaleka turned the bulk of his attention back to his home medium of painting for this exhibition, titled "Reading Man." The show, conceived as follow up to "Fables from the House of Ibaan: Stage 1," Kaleka's 2008 exhibition of video installations (also held at Bose Pacia), included several installations incorporating his pictures, and thus posed a set of questions about the relevance of painting today and the implications of experimentally working between media.Further reading
2009
Nancy Adjania
A Passage from Indifference to Adulation
New-Context Media
This narrative of the shift from an art situation dominated by painting, to one in which new media practices set the tone, is adequate as the snapshot of a decade. Unfortunately, it is rather simplistic: it shows us only piecemeal solutions, tactical choices, and often derivative reactions to fast-changing circumstances. And indeed, in early 2000, in the course of a series of lectures that I gave in Germany and Austria, I realised that there were major issues that this narrative could not account for and that there was a gulf separating the mainstream Western history of new media art and the history of new media art in India. It seemed that the historical assumptions, chronologies of technical infrastructure, and regional histories of communication that I was proposing, as armatures for Indian new media art, were very different from the ones to which colleagues in Central Europe and North America were attuned. Further reading
2007
Geeta Kapur
INSIDE THE BLACK BOX: IMAGES CAUGHT IN A BEAM
(EXCERPT)
Art in America
The use of the digital medium allows Ranbir Kaleka to achieve a transparency, a spectral quality, where the (male) character/person/body is both present and absent, reducible to a pixel puzzle and conjured as a simulacrum -- a copy of that which does not exist in material terms or just enough to throw a shadow and create a contemplative moment of identification. A video image of a pockmarked man in a vest threading a needle (Man Threading Needle, 1998) is beamed on a framed painting of the same man; the live image and the still painting fuse; the soundtrack picks up the hoot of a train, the cry of a summer peacock, the threading fails. The six-minute loop with an image that is neither still nor moving achieves in its failed action a subliminal existence.
Further reading
2006
Courtney Martin
Bose Pacia Gallery
Art in America
Since transitioning from painting to video in the 1990s, Ranbir Kaleka has used video as a tool for material innovation. His installation at Bose Pacia demonstrates his capacity for moving easily between media and genre, Crossings (2005), a four-channel video projected over pained panels, is the most ambitious of the three works on display. First shown at the Venice Biennale in the “iCon: India Contemporary” pavilion (2005), Crossings is a 15-minute loop of inter-related images that give evidence to Kaleka’s confidence in painting’s ability to incorporate, but not be subsumed by, video. Crossings is based on a script Kaleka wrote about a Sikh man and his turban. The cultural and social symbol of the turban guides the momentum of the narrative as he dyes, ties and finally puts on the turban. Further reading
2006
P C Smith
RANBIR KALEKA at Bose Pacia
Art in America
Born in 1953 in Punjab, Ranbir Kaleka is based in Delhi. In the ‘90’s he became known for intensely hued Neo-Expressionistic paintings with dense, libidinal narratives, recalling the work of Sandro Chia. Since the late ‘90s Kaleka has also created installations involving stripped-down realist paintings with video projections superimposed upon them. His tableaux no longer feel congested, even though video can carry more imagery and variety than paintings alone. The three installations at Bose Pacia were first shown in the iCon (india Contemporary) exhibition in Venice during the 2005 Biennale. Further reading
2005
Holland Cottar
ART AND ARCHITECTURE: THE NEW YORK SCENE
Art in America
ANOTHER season of griping and cheerleading. Art fairs bordering on sales conventions were promoted as the most fabulous things. Aggrieved voices complained about the politics of hype, and about new art looking tiny and shiny and thin. A few old-time idealists dared to wonder if the art world shouldn't, maybe, offer a noncompliant critical alternative to the real world, of which it is at present an indistinguishable (and, let's face it, inconsequential) part. Further reading
2005
Holland Cottar
RANBIR KALEKA at Bose Pacia
Art in America
Ranbir Kaleka's contribution to Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India at the Queens Museum of Art last year was a colorful little tent holding a pulpitshaped ministage and folding chairs. The installation was modeled on a portable puppet theater, though the featured attraction was a video. The film, shot and hand-colored by the artist, used real actors and animation to tell a romantic tale of love thwarted but fulfilled. Sophisticated in concept, ingeniously low tech in form, it was a delight.

The same can be said of Crossings, the main piece in Mr. Kaleka's first New York solo show. Though the tent is gone, a four-channel video plays panoramically across a gallery wall, and the narrative is multilayered and elusive. The four separate projections, set side by side, are different in content, but share certain images, including characters who occasionally move from one screen to another. Further reading
2005
Meera Menezes
VIDEO ALLOWS YOU THE POSSIBILITY OF PRODUCING
NEW KINDS OF IMAGES
ArtIndia
Well my works can be read at so many levels. In “Man Threading Needle” you have a man who is unable to thread a needle. There have been readings that we are talking of a man as a sexual being with his inability to thread a needle but it could be read at other levels as well. If you look at the man he belongs to the working class which would immediately shift the meaning. Then threading the needle would be to sew something which he doesn’t have on his back. Further reading
2005
Peter Goddard
TORONTO STAR
Venice Biennale
In Giudecca again, a sign reading "iCon" leads me to the exhibition of Indian contemporary art. It is, by far, the most enticing collection at the Biennale. Its centerpiece is Crossings; Two Stories, a four-screen DVD projection by the wellknown Indian painter Ranbir Kaleka. This accomplished video work superimposes movie pictures against painted stills, as one narrative is woven across each screen to cross and eventually tie up with another. This may or may not play into the Biennale's prize-giving mentality. But it suits Venice, which understands how great art can emerge from great mystery. Further reading
2005
Peter Nagy
Reflections: With and Without
Art in America
The case can easily be made for all art being psychedelic, that is being generated by the mind or aiming to intensify awareness or perception. Psychedelia, per se, is defined as having to do with hallucinogenic drugs and identifies a certain style of art, design and music propagated by the Hippie subculture of the 1960s. Yet both conceptually and stylistically, this Psychedelia has many antecedents. Surrealism, Automatism and Art Brut, Futurism, Symbolism, Impressionism and even Romanticism are schools of art that acknowledge the mind’s pre-eminence over an observable reality, man’s ability to self-generate his world, or, perhaps ultimately, the human condition of “culture” as an opposition to God’s “nature.” At the dawn of the 21st Century, adrift in a technological revolution that favours the dematerialization of the physical body by foregrounding telecommunications and whole super-structures composed only of data and images, our relationship to the Psyche becomes ever more complex, as it colonizes both Body and Spirit, hosts both the Self and the Social. Metaphysics (as in abstract philosophies but also the occult sciences) are beginning to become accommodated into Physics proper at both the sub-atomic and the supra-cosmic levels; artificial intelligence acquires its own creative and associative (can we say neurotic?) capabilities; Reality has become a construct to be dissected in the laboratories of commerce and entertainment. Further reading
2004
Arnab Chakladar
The Waking World
Art in America
Ranbir Kaleka is an important and innovative contemporary Indian a rtist who, like many contemporary Indian artists, is too little known outside the world of the collector, the curator and the art aficionado. With this exhibition we hope to bring not just Ranbir but also the h e t e rogeneous world of contemporary Indian art to a larger audience that does not necessarily move in those circles. Locating Ranbir's work in the larger context of contemporary Indian art is beyond the scope of this introduction; instead a few words on the pieces exhibited here and the title of this exhibition. Further reading
2004
Abhay Sardesai
After Dark Exhibition
ArtIndia
Ranbir Kaleka’s large, mural-sized painting, Boy Without Reflection, described a dystopic universe that had mutilated dogs and fishes caught in a dreadful frenzy of gross mutation: even as the denizens of the animal world, caught in a technicolour miasma of colour, generated multiple reflections in the contaminated water, we could see that the squat, defeated figure of the boy could not summon up even a single reflection. Incidentally, many of Nalini Malani’s works in the show also chose to use dogs as metaphors to invoke a ghastly netherworld, fuelled as it was with pathological drives and repressed desires. Both Kaleka and Malani successfully dwelled, much like Anita Dube, on the perverse spectacularity of violence. Further reading
2004
Madhu Jain
VISION BY NIGHT
The Hindu
The most overwhelming and powerful work is Ranbir Kaleka’s huge canvas (eight feet) titled Boy without Reflection. Amazingly, the painting is peopled almost entirely by baying dogs, unleashed from some netherworld and harbingers of our worst fears. A huge, howling dog — its chalk-like skeleton visible — is the centrifugal force of the work. Everything else in the painting exists in relation to it — whether it is the other mauled dogs, cocks (recurrent in Kaleka’s paintings and videos), the sinister looking leash that resembles a snake. Or the sole witness to it: the boy of the title who is a helpless spectator to the devastation. Further reading
2004
Marta Jakimowicz
Newer sensitivities
Deacon Herald
A gently phantasmagoric inner reality emerges for Ranbir Kaleka, as he blends images and proportions - a cobbler’s shop, immense bright-plumed birds with a period woman and a current erotic figure, all surrounded by dark and luminous clouds and water. This painter-video artist lets the enchantingly eerie computer hues enhance the poetic essence with a note of enigmatic narrative. Further reading
2002
David Lillington
IDENTITY POLITICS
Art Monthly
…Perhaps the best piece is by Kaleka himself: Man Threading a Needle is a video loop of a man poised on the point of threading needle, cast onto an identical painting of the same subject. The protagonist does not move, except for the inevitable movement of a person sitting still. ‘We liked this for its way of extracting a notion of time out of painting and a notion of light out of film and making a third thing… Paintings are important in India but here some of the paintings might just look exotic’. So one of the roles of these Austrian curators is to decide how the Viennese context will affect the look of a piece; there is little point in including works whose significance drains away to leave mere exoticism. Further reading
1999
Geeta Kapur
SPECTRES OF THE REAL
ArtIndia
Ranbir Kaleka’s most recent artwork, Man Threading a Needle (1999), is presented to the viewer as a painting set on a good easel and placed in a darkened alcove of what is presumably the white box of the museum or gallery. The painting is lit rather as one might find an old master painting lit, rather as you might find an old master painting set apart for special attention when it has just been acquired and holds pride of place in the collection, or when it is isolated to make a point at the time of a curated exhibition. Knowing that ‘a work of art’ gains its meaning from the process of viewing it in the sacred space of the art gallery, you enter the space demarcated by Kaleka imbued with the requisite awe. Thereon the artist’s ingenuity has to be matched by the viewing protocol: together this yields unexpected meanings. The light comes from a (hidden) projector. The image occasionally twitches, it responds to a periodic sound that punctuates and penetrates the image - as it does the spectator. Slowly, you realise that Kaleka has manipulated the image: he has doubled (tripled?) its effect by a video projection of a real man on a painted image of the same man. He has done what must be written into the script for a painter who turns to another form of visuality: he matches image to image as between painting and video, he makes it faintly animate, he presents it theatrically, as an installation. Further reading