Historical meets contemporary - Rajasthan's palatial sculpture gallery

The 19th century Madhavendra Palace in Jaipur has been converted into contemporary sculpture gallery - we take a look at some of the artworks inside.

  Terrace view of the Madhavendra Palace. Vikram Goyal's brass sculpture series 'The Hundred Petal Lotus' sits on the rooftops. 

Terrace view of the Madhavendra Palace. Vikram Goyal's brass sculpture series 'The Hundred Petal Lotus' sits on the rooftops. 

Built in 1892 and sitting at the heart of the Nahargarh Fort, the Madhavendra Palace was first home to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The structure of this Rajasthani building is perfectly symmetrical, with a suite for the Maharaja at the head of the building and a parallel plan of duplex suites for his queens. The rooms are linked by meandering corridors and many of them still feature original murals painted during the period.

  Back in the 1800s the palace was home to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and his wives. In this courtyard we see Reena Saini Kallat's work 'Untitled (cobweb)' overhead.

Back in the 1800s the palace was home to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and his wives. In this courtyard we see Reena Saini Kallat's work 'Untitled (cobweb)' overhead.

Following a collaboration between the Government of Rajasthan and the Saat Saath Arts Foundation, the palace's rooms, corridors and courtyards now house a specially curated selection of over 60 sculptures by approximately 25 contemporary artists, from both India and abroad, directed by artist, curator and gallerist Peter Nagy (of Nature Morte). The purpose of the initiative is to breathe new life into a historical monument and to create a sense of community, both local and foreign, around art. In addition to the artistic programme, The Sculpture Park is also running an employment and education programme.

  'Annexation' by Jitish Kallat is among the 62 sculptures by around 25 artists presented in the space

'Annexation' by Jitish Kallat is among the 62 sculptures by around 25 artists presented in the space

  'Void Coitus' by Anita Dube, an Indian sculptor known for her rich, politically charged work

'Void Coitus' by Anita Dube, an Indian sculptor known for her rich, politically charged work

Supporting Indian contemporary art is one of the missions of the sculpture programme - Indian artists in this year's line-up include Bharti Kher, Mrinali Mukherjee, Virkam Goyal and Anita Dube. These sit in dialogue with international works by the likes of Huma Bhabha, Arman, Hans Josephsohn and Stephen Cox; international galleries contributing artworks include Hauser & Wirth (London) and Salon 94 (New York). 

  'The Day After' by French-American artist Arman is one of the works found inside the palace's rooms, many of which maintaining their original frescos

'The Day After' by French-American artist Arman is one of the works found inside the palace's rooms, many of which maintaining their original frescos

By fusing the modern with the traditional - that is, placing challenging contemporary artworks in a site of such historical significance - The Sculpture Park aims to present the complex picture of India in the 21st century. A new programme of sculptures will be presented in the space each year. The current works are on display until the end of October, with the next edition expected to be unveiled in December 2018. 

  The courtyards of the palace are now filled with sculptures.   Foreground: 'God of Some Things' by New York-based artist Huma Bhabha. Background, left: 'Arrested Image of a Dream' by visual art duo Thukral & Tagra. Background, right: 'Choleric, phlegmatic, melancholy, sanguine' by London-born, Delhi-based Bharti Kher.

The courtyards of the palace are now filled with sculptures. Foreground: 'God of Some Things' by New York-based artist Huma Bhabha. Background, left: 'Arrested Image of a Dream' by visual art duo Thukral & Tagra. Background, right: 'Choleric, phlegmatic, melancholy, sanguine' by London-born, Delhi-based Bharti Kher.


Visit www.thesculpturepark.in for more information