The curatorial concept informing the exhibition, “My Colour on Your Plate”, is to use the idea of a “map” as a metaphor, rather than a literal image. It seeks to move beyond the practical history and function of maps as the representation of territory and the boundaries of nation states, towards the way maps embody our desires, as a society and as individuals, to constantly make, unmake and remake our own identities. It also attempts to explore our relationship- as human beings, artists, citizens- to the familiar and the unfamiliar, the Self and the Other. Experienced and perceived through various kinds of difference and similarity it will seek to look for what we hold in common, as well as what we struggle to communicate across limits and distances. What we acknowledge as “my” and regard as “your” is a space bridged yet kept unique and distinct by the diverse practices of art. In talking about “colour”, the exhibition invokes the notion of a plural sensorium of possibilities. It also gestures towards a political or collective understanding of identity and difference beyond the purely individual and the intimate. Be it in the United States, Europe, India or farther East – the participating artists are from all over the world. How does art arise out of but also transform, unsettle, complicate or transfigure, particular experiences of culture, society, race and other ways of being and making in the body and in the world? In this wider understanding of what maps might come to mean, what is the relationship between the private and the public, between space and place, and how does location become inextricable from the experiences of subjective as well as geographical realisations of dislocation and displacement? To think of the “plate”, one’s own as well another’s, is to bring to the perception of our place in the world, the intimacy and the sensuousness of eating, something that all human beings must do in order to live both alone and with others. The works in the show do not need to necessarily reference maps but reflect the artists’ own sense of their own existence, individually and in relation to others. They work perhaps along, or against, the grain of these ideas, images and metaphors. This is an exhibition curated by an artist whose own practice has imagined and absorbed the whole range of images and experiences suggested by the words, “colour” and “plate”, to forge an entire realm of connection and possibility that would be essential to this curatorial vision.
Latika Gupta has worked as a curator at the National Gallery of Modern Art and at KHOJ International Artists’ Association in Delhi, besides curating independent exhibitions of South Asian contemporary art. She curated ‘Homelands: A 21st century story of home, away and all the places in-between’ drawn from UK’s British Council Collection and Arts Council Collection, that toured Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Colombo, Lahore and Karachi in 2013-2014; ‘Folk Archive’ by Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane that toured Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata in 2015, and most recently ‘Jeevanchakra’, Kolkata, 2016, as part of the Wellcome Collection’s Medicine Corner project in India. She has received fellowships from the Nehru Trust for research projects on Himalayan art and a Museum Fellowship from the India Foundation for the Arts and INLAKS to curate a permanent exhibition for a museum in Kargil, Ladakh, and was recently a research fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2017). Publications include an essay in the Journal of Ritual Studies, essays in ‘Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India’ (University of California Press) and in Marg. Gupta currently works as Associate Editor at MARG publications.
Paul McCarthy is widely considered to be one of the most influential and groundbreaking contemporary American artists. Born in 1945, and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he first established a multi-faceted artistic practice, which sought to break the limitations of painting by using unorthodox materials such as bodily fluids and food. He has since become known for visceral, often hauntingly humorous work in a variety of mediums – from performance, photography, film and video, to sculpture, drawing and painting. During the 1990s, he extended his practice into installations and stand-alone sculptural figures, utilizing a range of materials such as fiberglass, silicone, animatronics and inflatable vinyl. Playing on popular illusions and cultural myths, fantasy and reality collide in a delirious yet poignant exploration of the subconscious, in works that simultaneously challenge the viewers phenomenological expectations.
Whether absent or present, the human figure has been a constant in his work, either through the artists own performances or the array of characters he creates to mix high and low culture, and provoke an analysis of our fundamental beliefs. These playfully oversized characters and objects critique the worlds from which they are drawn: Hollywood, politics, philosophy, science, art, literature, and television. McCarthys work, thus, locates the traumas lurking behind the stage set of the American Dream and identifies their counterparts in the art historical canon.
McCarthy earned a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969, and an MFA in multimedia, film and art from USC in 1973. For 18 years, he taught performance, video, installation, and art history in the New Genres Department at UCLA, where he influenced future generations of west coast artists and he has exhibited extensively worldwide. McCarthys work comprises collaborations with artist-friends such as Mike Kelley and Jason Rhoades, as well as his son Damon McCarthy.
Born in Lucknow in 1958, Anita Dube completed her BA (History) from Delhi University in 1979 and her MVA (Art Criticism) from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda in 1982. As a member of Radical Painters and Sculptors Association she wrote the manifesto of the seminal exhibition Questions and Dialoguee in 1987. Dube is the co-founder and board member of KHOJ International Artists Association. She has contributed texts to many publications on contemporary art. Anita Dubes select solo exhibitions include Yours Disparately (Nature Morte, New Delhi, 2014), Chance Pieces (Nature Morte, Berlin,2013), Eye etc. (Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai, 2013), Babel(Galerie Dominique Fiat, Paris, 2011), Kal (Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai, 2010), Phantoms of Liberty(Galerie Almine Rech, Paris, 2007), Illegal (Nature Morte, New Delhi; Bose Pacia, New York, Gallery SKE, Bangalore, 2005), The Sleep of Reason (Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai; Nature Morte, New Delhi, 2003), Via Negativa (Nature Morte, New Delhi, 2000), You Tell What You Know Down Here Girl(Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 1999), Desire Garden (Community Hall, Apartmenrs, New Delhi, 1992). She has been represented in various national and international biennales and festivals such as the first Kochi Muziris Biennale (India, 2012), Biennale Jogja XI (Jogja National Museum, Indonesia, 2011), Against Exclusion 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, Garage Center, Russia, 2009), iCon: India Contemporary, Venice Biennale (Collateral event, Italy, 2005), Yokohama Triennale(Japan, 2001) and 7th Havana Biennial͛ (Cuba, 2000).
Hemali Bhuta work deals with the effect of time on space, through which she tries to transform the impression and identity of a space into a tangible experience. Usually drawing on her personal experiences, memories and understanding of the material, its afterlife in relation with the landscape, climate and its correlation with the body, the sacred. Her multi-disciplinary practice is primarily concerned with the notion of an ‘in-between’ or ‘transitory’ space and the elements that contain or create such spaces. For Bhuta, ‘in-between-ness’ is a plane where the limitations of dimensionality do not apply and there is a possibility for transcendence. By attempting to translate one medium or form to another, her practice questions the authority that frames an interior for its own purpose. Bhuta adopts materials that seem robust and ageless, but in fact are susceptible to disintegration over time. Her site-specific sculptural works generally lie on the floor like fossils of bygone eras, sometimes embracing their spaces, and other times destabilizing them. Through the tension between the works and the spaces they inhabit, viewers experience a state of ‘in-between-ness.’ Hemali Bhuta (b. 1978) has completed her Diploma from the L.S. Raheja School of Art, Mumbai and her Post Diploma from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University Baroda. She has also pursued interior designing from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. Bhuta has exhibited at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Frieze London Sculpture Park, Parasol Unit, ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, the 9th Shanghai Biennale, the Singapore Biennale, Montalvo Arts Centre, Thalie Lab Foundation, Darat Al Fanun, Cultural Centre of Belgrade as well as in the travelling Indian Highway Exhibition. She was shortlisted for the Rolex Protegee Award. She recently had her solo show at The Centre international dart et du paysage de lile de Vassiviere,France. In addition to her practice as a visual artist, Bhuta is also the co-founder and programme director of CONA Foundation, an artist run space in Mumbai, India.
Since 2007, Mayank Austen Soofi has been collecting hundreds of stories taking place in Delhi, through writing and photography, for his acclaimed website The Delhi Walla. Every day, Mayank walks around the city with his camera and notebook to track down the part of extraordinary that exists in the seemingly mundane aspects of urban lives. By exploring and documenting the streets, buildings, houses, cuisines, traditions and people of Delhi, his work is also an attempt to give the megalopolis an intimate voice, and to capture the passing of time in this otherwise restlessly changing city. Mayank is also a daily columnist on city life for Hindustan Times newspaper, and the author of Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Delhis Red Light District (published by Penguin) and the four-volume The Delhi Wall guidebooks (HarperCollins). Mayank Austen Soofi compulsively publishes texts and photos on his website, Facebook and Instagram. Follow him:
Born in 1953 in Paris, Sophie Calle is a French artist who has exhibited extensively throughout the world since the late 1970s. She has been described as a conceptual artist, a photographer, a movie director or even detective; but has developed a practice that is instantly recognizable for a distinct narrative and the frequent combination of images with text. Each of these projects can be seen as another chapter in a vast overall system of references and echoes where Calle often blurs the boundaries between the intimate and the public, reality and fiction, art and life. Since the late 1970s, Sophie Calle has merged image and narration. Her work methodically organizes an unveiling of reality – her own and that of others, while allocating a controlled part of this reality to chance.
Huma Mulji works with sculpture, photography, drawing, and painting, creating material juxtapositions that are attentive to the absurd, and question notions of certainty, and truth. Her works broadly address notions of failure and futility, endurance and transformation. The deliberately awkward artworks are spatially evocative, and imbue an anti-heroism, playing out ironically, in her works.
Mulji’s participation in recent exhibitions includes In the Open or in Stealth, MACBA, Barcelona 2018, Witness, Karachi Biennale 2017, DzA country of Last Thingsdz (solo), Koel Gallery, Karachi, 2016, DzThe Great Gamedz, Irani Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2015, “Burning Down the Housedz, 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, 2014. Mulji was a recipient of the Nigaah Art Award for photography in 2017 and the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013. She currently lives in Bristol, UK and is Lecturer, BA Hons. Fine Art, at Plymouth College of Art, and Senior Lecturer, BA(Hons) Fine Art, UWE, Bristol.
Born in 1975 in Seoul (South Korea), Daphne Le Sergent carries out artistic and theoretical research into the notions of separation or schize, with reference both to geopolitical boundaries and potential internal disjunction. Her work involves various systems of assembly and disassembly. It proposes an analysis of border landscapes as a phenomenon of perception comparable to a screen. Daphne Le Sergent has recently taken part in the following exhibitions and festivals: Newspeak#11 a project by Agnès Violeau, Jeu de Paume, Paris/ CAPC Musée dart contemporain de Bordeaux, Museo Amparo, Mexique (2018); FotoLimo, Cerbère/Portbou (2017); De lExperimental aux films-essais, La Clef cinema, Paris (2017); Le 6b dessine son salon, 6b, Saint-Denis (2017); Republic of O-Sang , 11th Mega-Exhibition, Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2016).
Zuleikha Chaudhari is a theatre director and lighting designer. Her current research uses archival documents (texts and photographs) to develop theatrical performances as a way of thinking about the relationship between production of memory and the role of the archive and how this pertains to the retrieval and reliving of an event. The constructed narratives within the works looked at the relationship between personal lived experience and memories and larger historical events and narratives. These works use a combination of reportage, portraiture, documentary and fiction – the editing, re-interpretation and re-positioning of speculative ideas, opinions, beliefs and anecdotes towards the production of new narratives is central to these investigations about the relationship between history and theatre.
Her ongoing research considers the structures and codes of performance as well the function and processes of the actor as reality and truth production. It investigates the tension between looking or watching and doing or acting. Her current projects include three court trials – The Bhawal Court Case (1930-46), The Trial of Bahadurshah Zafar (1858) and the India National Army Trials (1945-46) within the framework of law as performance; the role of performance in law and the performativity of legal truth-production.
For more than 50 years, British artist Phyllida Barlow has taken inspiration from her surroundings to create imposing installations that can be at once menacing and playful. She creates anti-monumental sculptures from inexpensive, low-grade materials such as cardboard, fabric, plywood, polystyrene, scrim and cement. These constructions are often painted in industrial or vibrant colors, the seams of their construction left at times visible, revealing the means of their making. Barlows restless invented forms stretch the limits of mass, volume and height as they block, straddle and balance precariously. The audience is challenged into a new relationship with the sculptural object, the gallery environment and the world beyond.
‘There’s something about walking around sculpture that has the possibility of being reflective, like walking through a landscape’, Barlow has said. ‘The largeness of sculpture has that infinite possibility to make one engage beyond just the object itself and into other realms of experience.’
Barlow has exhibited extensively across institutions internationally and in 2017 represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Harun Farocki, (born 1944 in Nový Jicin / Neutitschein, died 2014, near Berlin) The oeuvre of the German film maker and video artist Harun Farocki comprises more than 100 feature films, essay films, documentaries, and video-installations. He was one of the most important directors of contemporary documentaries and essay films working in Germany. Since 1966 Farocki has also been collaborating with other filmmakers as scriptwriters, actors and producers. Since 1995 he had numerous exhibitions and installations in galleries and museums worldwide. His films and installations are generally socio-political in nature and reveal a keen interest in the role of technology in modern society. His films have dealt with such subjects as Vietnam, capitalism, labour systems, surveillance technology and military reconnaissance. Another recurrent theme in Farockis work has been the investigation of images and what lies behind them, of what is really visible to the viewer and likewise what remains invisible – essentially the possibilities of seeing. As Thomas Elsaesser has said:Farockis films are a constant dialogue with images, with image making, and with the institutions that produce and circulate these images.His films and installations are difficult to categorize and demandclose viewing. Nothing is as it seems and the viewers are challenged to keep questioning what they see.
Antje Ehmann is a curator, author and artist. She lives and works in Berlin. Among her curatorial projects: Harun Farocki Retrospective (artistic director, with Marius Babias, Berlin 2017 | By other Means (with Carles Guerra), NBK, Berlin 2017, Harun Farocki. Empathy (with Carles Guerra), Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona 2016 | Among her artistic projects: How shall I name what I am missing? (with Jan Ralske), Forum Expanded 2015 | War Tropes, (with Harun Farocki), Gorki Theater, Berlin 2011 | Feasting or Flying (with Harun Farocki), Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, Ljubljana 2009.
Photography Credits: Daphne Le Sergent, (Still from the video) Geopolitics of Oblivion, 2018.