Regarded as the darling duo of contemporary Indian art, New Delhi’s Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, or ‘Thukral and Tagra’ as they have come to coin themselves; are a young dynamic pairing who see their work as a fluid exchange between art, design and immersive installations. Which facilitates for them a brand of aesthetics that they have made entirely their own. Working in a similar way to Chinese artist Xu Zhen, Thukral and Tagra have divisioned their work into diverse mediums and narratives.
Fuelled by such cultural derivatives as music, media hype and modern technologies, they appear as happy to mock themselves, as they are to critique the foibles of modern life. Which enables them to positively probe and peel away the facade of one’s social status in India, by effectively attracting and critiquing the upwardly mobile masses whose aspirations appear at loggerheads with the country they belong to. Always seeing art as a shifting aesthetic that acts as the basis for socially inclusive activities, as much as it is about the individual, coloured and cultured by their country. Thukral and Tagra work collaboratively with a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, interactive games, video, performance and design. Working on new formats of public engagement they expand on the possibilities of what art can do. Whilst attempting to break out of the mediated and disciplinary world, in order to create multi-modal sensory and immersive environments, having previously dealt with ideas relating to migration, and motifs of consumer culture. Questioning the provenance of Indian identity and its various articulations, their more recent work comes to address the interpretation of Indian mythological, narratives, and symbols, in ways that renew and enliven a largely pedantic and static area of cultural material. Employing pop characters, with an abstract approach, and compositional philosophy, Thukral & Tagra constantly shift in terms of their grammar and vocabulary. Tellingly as contemporary artists they offer sociopolitical commentary that has become implicit in their work for the past fifteen years.
Since graduating from New Delhi Art College in 2000 and 2002 respectively, Thukral & Tagra have exhibited extensively, including solo shows Everyday Bosedk, Nature Morte, New Delhi 2007, New Improved Bosedk, Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, 2008, Nouveau Riche, Nature Morte, Berlin, 2009, Middle Class Dreams, Arario Gallery, Seoul, 2010, Nosturistic, Hilger Contemporary, Vienna, 2012, Games People Play, Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, 2015, and more recently Bread, Circuses & Wifi, Pearl Lam Gallery, Hong Kong, 2017. With group shows Imaginary Realities, Max Wigram Gallery, London, 2008, Urban Matters 2, SESC Pompie, Sao Paulo, 2010, Indian Highway IV, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, France, 2011, All Well & Good?!, Herbert Gerisch Stiftung, Neumunster, Germany, 2014, The Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur - Nature Morte, 2017.