Mumbai, 1st March 2013, Untitled (Cobweb / Crossings) by Reena Kallat (Delhi, 1973), the first work of public art in collaboration with Dr. Bhau Daji Lad City Museum City, was presented. The project is the result of a special commission by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group as part of ZegnArt Public / India.
The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum of Mumbai is the oldest museum in the city whose collections document the applied arts and everyday life in Mumbai in the nineteenth century. Under the guidance of its director, the museum has opened its doors to contemporary art with an ambitious and far-sighted program that involves Indian artists. The institution was chosen based on a common vision of art as a factor for development and awareness-building of the entire community.
The artwork by Reena Kallat – produced entirely by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group and scheduled to be donated to the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum consists of a large installation which is located on one side of the Museum: Untitled (Cobweb/Crossings) is an oversized web formed with hundreds of rubber-stamps, each one bearing the colonial name of a city street that has now been replaced by an indigenous one. The work weaves a story of past and present. Through the recovery of the memory of one of the aspects of the process of decolonization, the renaming of cities and other locations to regional or Indian names from their anglicized British ones, it forms a palimpsest onto which generations re-inscribe stories. “A cobweb is evocative of time,” explains Reena Kallat. “And just as a room is left vacant, stories that are not visited gather cobwebs that appear to hold dust from the past.”