Exhibitions

> Notorious Rowdies

Clare Arni

14 September - 21 October, 2017


Notorious Rowdies – a series of performative photographs by Clare Arni marks Arni’s third solo exhibition at TARQ. The term ‘rowdy’ has a particularly evocative quality in South India. The ‘rowdy’ is an unsavoury character, an outlaw, with a strangely alluring bravado. Clare Arni’s fascination with the figure of the ‘rowdy’ began a few years ago while scouring the crime beat section of a local daily, the Deccan Herald. This captivating section carried sordid tales of the nefarious activities of local gangsters, many of whom carried cryptic and outlandish aliases like Dairy, Chicken and JCB. The crime beat section and its sensationalist reportage style was for Arni, an echo of the garish aesthetic of film posters that are plastered across Bangalore, the city she calls home. The posters glamorized violence, with larger than life characters in incredulous scenarios.

Fascinated by the specific persona of the ‘rowdy’, Arni began toying with the idea that perhaps there is a violence and drama in all of us; a rowdy under the surface, waiting to leap out. She began her project by photographing friends – fellow artists and writers – in various modes of the ‘rowdy’. The participants were asked to delve into the inner life of the rowdy they had chosen to embody, creating elaborate back stories and crime sheets. What began as a fun project has turned into a series of performative photographs that are simultaneously humorous and macabre, with an aesthetic reminiscent of a low budget film. They unearth the dark fantasies of the subjects while also serving as a mirror to the universal voyeuristic fascination with violence.

The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Zac O’Yeah – an author and one of Clare’s first “Rowdies.”

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Artists

Clare Arni

Clare Arni is a photographer based in Bangalore, India. Her work encompasses architecture, travel, social documentary and cultural heritage. She has been published by leading British book publishers Phaidon, Thames and Hudson and Dorling Kindersley. She has also contributed work to magazines like Abitare (Italy) Tatler, Conde Nast (UK) Wallpaper, The Wall street journal and Harvard Design magazine as well as many Indian magazines. Her solo photographic books document the history of the architecture of Banaras, Palaces of the Deccan, the recent excavations of Hampi, the capital of the Vijaynagar Empire and a four month journey along the course of the river Kaveri. Her solo exhibitions document the lives of marginalized communities in some of the most remote regions of India and the disappearing trades of urban India. Her work has been exhibited Internationally at the Essl Museum, Vienna Austria, Grosvenor Vadehra, London, Bose Pacia, New York, Berkeley art museum, California and is the permanent collection of the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Freer/Sackler gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Press

  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Rowdy

    The official definition of the word rowdy is a ‘noisy and disorderly person’. But a rowdy in Bengaluru-based British photographer Clare Arni’s world could be anybody or anything. From a brothel owner to the butterfly effect, the choices that fit your idea of what a rowdy could be are endlessly exciting.

    The Hindu
    24 Sep 2017
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  • Cryptic & Outlandish

    The term “rowdy” has a particularly evocative quality in South India. A “rowdy” is an unsavoury character, an outlaw, with a strangely alluring bravado. Clare Arni’s fascination with the figure of the “rowdy” began a few years ago while scouring the crime beat section of a local daily. This captivating section carried sordid tales of the nefarious activities of local gangsters, many of whom carried cryptic and outlandish aliases like Dairy, Chicken and JCB.

    The Sunday Guardian
    16 Sep 2017
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  • What’s your spin? Art shows that invite you to view art differently

    simple installation, which puts together a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, a trowel, stone beads, a rosary and laminated marine frame, tries to see 1947, the year of Independence and Partition, from the view of a disappointed and dejected Mahatma Gandhi.

    The Hindustan Times
    16 Sep 2017
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  • Tarq art gallery’s new photography show delves into the anatomy of a rowdy

    It is an unarguable fact that Indians in general have a penchant for grandeur. Films conflate every emotion with elaborate sequences of song and dance, and even low-budget productions don’t let their lack of funding hinder their larger-than-life characters and incredulous plots. We are a culture that relishes hyperbole and melodrama in fiction—and sometimes, real life tends to follow suit.

    Architectural Digest
    12 Sep 2017
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