Gallery Espace was established in New Delhi (India), in 1989 by Renu Modi with an exhibition of autobiographical works of MF Husain, Modern India’s most celebrated artist and one of the founder members of the path-breaking Progressive Artists Group. Soon success followed success, and the Gallery’s name became synonymous with representing artists, whose works defined the 1980s-Jagdish Swaminathan; Manjit Bawa, Krishen Khanna, Bhupen Khakhar & Vishwanadhan). From its early inception when the circulation of art was limited to informal efforts, Espace has constantly traversed borders and boundaries, showcasing the art of primarily Indian artists from multiple generations in diverse mediums. Efforts through the early and mid 1990s were concentrated on anticipating trends, spotting latent talent and giving a much-needed platform to many previously unknown talents (Subodh Gupta- Group Show (1991) Solo Show (1993); Ashim Purkayasta – Young Contemporaries (1995), Solo Show (1999) – some artists who today rank amongst the most prolific of the younger generation.
Primarily built around the vision of its Director, Renu Modi, the endeavour has been on representing artists who concern themselves in the realization of work dealing with issues reflecting contemporary society’s concerns; documenting today’s reality. Renu Modi’s foray into art began with M.F.Husain designing her home in 1986; a sculptural-installation that stands as the only one of its kind. Married into one of the most influential families of India, she started her long entrepreneurial career from a one board-room space, combining business acumen with a flair for showmanship and leading the Gallery into its present form- a three-tier area, made particularly conducive to greater interaction, experimentation and understanding of the arts, supported by dynamic design and modern technology. Her artistic vision was based upon an inter-disciplinary approach to fine art, uninhibited by preconceived notions and theories of the art movements of the past. Espace, under her vision, can be credited for organizing curated exhibitions, probably some of the first in the Indian art scene, providing a platform for leading art commentators and journalists to translate their ideas into an artist-shared pictorial vision (Drawing ’94, Sculpture ’95, Mini-Print ’96, Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai ’01, Bronze ’06). In its journey as a vast entrepreneurial enterprise, Espace has also had the pleasure of collaborating with leading institutions in India