And the last shall be the fisrt:
G. R. Iranna works 1995-2015


Curated by Ranjit Hoskote

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru
(Ministry of Culture, Government of India)

in collaboration with 
The Guild

Jan. 17 to Feb. 16, 2016


“A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became a ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”  -  Mahatma Gandhi 

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru
 and The Guild Art Gallery are proud to present a selection of G R Iranna’s works from two decades of his oeuvre, in And the last shall be the first: G. R. Iranna Works 1995-2015, a solo exhibition at NGMA Bengaluru curated by poet, cultural theorist and curator, Ranjit Hoskote. The opening takes place on Saturday, 16 January 2016, at 6 pm. The exhibition will be on view until 16 February 2016. 

“A museum-level exhibition such as the present one enables us to survey and contextualise the activity of an artist, as it were, in mid-passage. Our attempt, here, has been to bring together a variety of works that attest to Iranna’s production since his earliest foray into the Indian art world, and spanning his increasing range and contribution to the scene. A vital subtext of the exhibition is Iranna’s journey, both literally and in figurative terms, from his points of anchorage and inspiration during his upbringing and early student years in Karnataka, to the further unfolding of his sensibility as a Delhi-based artist working in the context of global contemporary art.” – Ranjit Hoskote


The mid-career survey of an artist’s work is also an opportunity to gather some of the key artworks of the last couple of decades, to note and mark the turning points and shifts taking place in his oeuvre, and to reflect deeply on this exciting and creative journey. Different viewers would bring a different response to this body of work, seen as a whole across time. For the artist, it could serve as a moment of reassessment and a point of departure for future explorations.

Iranna’s body of work is connected by an underlying thread of reflection and thematic emphasis: it engages with specific social and political questions of equity, livelihood, the environment, and the place of the individual in a turbulent society. And yet it does so through means that are poetic and philosophical. In his recent work, God and Guns (Witness) the physicality of a carpet, a beautiful object associated with daily use, becomes symptomatic of the metaphysical aspects of suffering and resilience, with the carpet becoming a witness to experience, an object marked by shifts in time, space and human action. Its wear and tear stands testimony to all human actions, whether it is prayer or violence. 

“While reflecting on a twenty-year period in the oeuvre of G. R. Iranna (born 1970), I find myself marvelling at the variety of creative displacements to which he has subjected himself: he has negotiated between an account of the social predicament underwritten by the figure, yet has also revelled in the pleasures of abstraction and pattern; he has elaborated a vibrant form of compressed allegorical narrative in his paintings, yet has boldly translated his concerns with freedom, oppression and the desire for emancipation into sculpture and installation.” – Ranjit Hoskote


G. R. Iranna was born in Sindgi, Bijapur, Karnataka, in 1970. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the College of Visual Art, Gulbarga, 1992, and a Master’s Degree in Painting from the College of Art, New Delhi,  1994. He was awarded the Charles Wallace Scholarship by the British Council in 1999 and was an artist-in-residence at the Wimbledon School of Art, London.  Over the years, he has received many awards including the ABPF Foundation, Signature Art Prize, Singapore; the K. K. Hebbar Foundation Award; and In Search of Talent, M. F. Husain and Ram Kumar Selection Award.  

Iranna’s museum and institutional shows include The Eye and the Mind: New Interventions in Indian Art, organised by National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, at the Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China,  curated by Prof.  Rajeev Lochan; the Heritage Transport Museum, New Delhi, curated by Priya Pall; Museo de la toile de Jouy  Espace d’art contemporain, Paris;  Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern & Contemporary Art from India,  San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California, USA;  Crossings: Time Unfolded,  Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi, curated by  Roobina Karode; Go See India, curated by Amit Mukhopadhyay and Oscar Aschan, Contemporary Indian Art, Gothenburg, Sweden; The Intuitive-Logic Revisited, from Osians Collection at The World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, among numerous others. 

Iranna’s solo shows include Tempered Branches, Aicon Gallery, New York, 2014; Limning Heterotopias: A Journey into G.R. Iranna's Shadows of the In-Between, Gallery Espace, New Delhi, 2012; Scaffolding the Absent, The Guild, Mumbai, 2011; Ribbed Routes, The Guild, Mumbai, 2010; Birth of Blindness, the Stainless Gallery, New Delhi; The Dancer on the Horse, Berkeley Square Gallery, London, UK, 2007.


© 2002 The Guild | All rights reserved

Find us on