Travel to India. A collection of Indian contemporary art

In India, at the Italian Cultural Institute in New Delhi, in January 2012, we presented the book we wrote about Antonio Stellatelli’s collection of contemporary Indian art. A collection that we designed and curated and that grew out of a long journey with him in India.

Antonio Stellatelli is a brilliant Italian who, for over half a century, has made art his second life. His first being a teacher of statistics and then a manager at the top of private and public companies. Stellatelli has devoted much of his life to putting together major collections of art, to which books and exhibitions in international museums have been dedicated.

Antonio Stellatelli has chosen to collect in order to know and to make known. His collections only remain temporarily within the walls of his home. His story as a collector is that of his exhibitions. After forming a major collection of modern Italian art, displayed many times and which museums have fought over for years, he has created an enormous collection of contemporary Italian art containing more than four hundred works, including paintings, sculptures and photographs. The collection has been exhibited several times in Italy.

But since periods of stability must be followed by periods of change, a turning-point was inevitable. After devoting himself exclusively to Italian art throughout his life, fascinated by the major changes affecting Asia, Stellatelli began to follow us in our explorations of the new frontiers of art. So, a few years ago he travelled with us to China. Together we visited the studios of the greatest artists, Zhang Xiaogang, Rong Rong, Wang Qingsong and many others. Thus, the idea for a new collection came about: Chinese art.

But here we want to talk about yet another collection. Another trip dates back to 2011: this time in India, Mumbai, New Delhi and Jodhpur. With our irreplaceable Farah Siddiqui, here too we visited the studios of great artists. For Stellatelli the encounter with contemporary Indian art was the discovery of an art that was still able to amaze. An art that is proudly rooted in a history thousands of years old, of which it is able to reinvent the magic. An art that knows how to speak to the heart. Intense and profound.

The result is a new collection with at present works by Nikhil Chopra, Sunil Gawde, Shilpa Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Bharti, Kher, Riyas Komu, Nalini Malani, Mithu Sen, Sakshi Gupta, Thukral & Tagra, Sudarshan Shetty and Hema Upadhyay.

The young Indian artists bravely tackle demanding issues, often associated with the dramatic, recent historical events of their country. They have the courage to speak out, but never using this as a pretext for splatter art. A denuciation where death can even take the form of a red rose, as in the poetic Virtually untouchable, by Sunil Gawde.

In the last few years India has been experiencing an extraordinary Renaissance from the social, cultural and economic perspectives. This collection, undoubtedly a work in progress, which we present as the testimony of a project, of a journey just begun, is intended to be an Italian homage to Indian energy and also an act of faith in the infinite possibilities of man.