Born and raised in the city of Patiala in northern India, Ranbir Kaleka studied painting for a number of years in London before returning to live in New Delhi in the late 1990s. Since the mid-1990s he has been experimenting with video art and often combining the projected image with paintings on canvas, inverting the traditional Indian form of the painted photograph. Kaleka has exhibited in India and abroad since the 1970s. Selected group shows include, in 2004: Edge of Desire, Recent Art in India, Art Gallery of Western Perth, Australia and at Asia Society in New York, in 2003: An apparent calm… (GrantPirrie, Sydney); in 2002: Kapital & Karma (Kunsthalle, Vienna); Private Mythologies (Apeejay Media Gallery, Delhi); in 2000: Images for a Hundred Lamp Posts, Public Art Project (Ealing, London); Boxwallahs (The DeEgo-Cube, Indo-Austrian Art Projects in Public Space); in 1999: Edge of the Century (British Council, Delhi); in 1998: public mural for Thames Trains (Southall Station, London).
While in residence Kaleka is working on a project for iCon: India Contemporary, a pavilion representing Indian artists at the 2005 Venice Biennale, in which he will present a large-scale version of this synthesis of video and painting which will tap into his earliest memories of growing up in the Punjab, and which will relay a series of events relating to passages and journeys. For the production of this piece he is collaborating with his brother, Jasbir Kaleka, and Madan Gopal Singh, a semiotician and scholar of English literature, screenwriter, Sufi singer and composer.