FEVER DREAMS

India Today - - INSIDE - —Latika Gupta

COM­PRIS­ING var­i­ous ob­jects, videos and films such as Amar Kan­war’s ‘Such a Morn­ing’ and New York-based Shezad Da­wood’s vir­tual re­al­ity ‘Kalimpong’, the Ki­ran Nadar Mu­seum of Art’s on­go­ing ex­hi­bi­tion—‘Delir­ium//Equi­lib­rium’—is a tes­ti­mony to the rich­ness of the col­lec­tion and the pa­tron­age the mu­seum pro­vides to artists. Cu­rated by mu­seum direc­tor Roobina Kar­ode, the show cuts across geog­ra­phy and chronol­ogy to present “a unique se­lec­tion of in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary ex­plo­rations of move­ment through images, sculp­tural forms and in­stal­la­tions”, say the or­gan­is­ers.

Spread over the mu­seum’s en­tire 34,000 sq. ft and en­com­pass­ing sev­eral full-length films, the show de­mands more than one visit to do it jus­tice. It fea­tures works by Aliya Syed, Amar Kan­war, Mithu Sen, Kaushik Mukhopad­hyay, Nalini Malani, Neha Choksi, Nandita Ku­mar, Naeem Mo­haimen, Ran­bir Kaleka, Shahzia Sikan­der, Sheba Ch­hachhi, Shezad Da­wood, So­nia Khu­rana,

Su­dar­shan Shetty, Vibha Gal­ho­tra and

Wil­liam Ken­tridge.

The pieces range from 1969 to 2017. Many of them are be­ing seen in In­dia for the first time.

En­ter­ing the mu­seum, one en­coun­ters Kaushik Mukhopad­hyay’s ‘Small, Medium but not Large’ (2010-2016), a kinetic in­stal­la­tion that drives home how ubiq­ui­tous tech­nol­ogy has be­come and how swiftly it be­comes out­dated. It fea­tures elec­tri­cal com­po­nents such as de­funct pho­to­copy ma­chines, bake­lite tele­phone in­stru­ments, hand blenders, DVDs, old ‘brick’ style mo­bile phones, re­mote con­trols, food blenders and com­puter mon­i­tors. Laid across three ta­bles and bun­dled into a tall shelf, the de­tri­tus comes to life, with ob­jects whirring and the tele­phone ring­ing.

For many, the high­light of the ex­hi­bi­tion may be ‘Kalimpong’, New York­based Shezad Da­wood’s vir­tual re­al­ity en­vi­ron­ment. To ex­pe­ri­ence this work, the viewer ‘en­ters’ an imag­i­nary place that is cre­ated by layering his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives from the 1920s to the 1960s and Da­wood’s own sense of won­der at the ex­ploratory ex­pe­di­tions that marked the early decades of the 21st cen­tury. Kalimpong is a mo­tif for rich ma­te­rial ex­changes, the site of es­o­teric mys­ti­cism and the place of leg­ends such as the Yeti.

Among sev­eral video works is ‘Two Meet­ings and a Funeral’, an 85-minute multi-chan­nel video in­stal­la­tion by Turner Prize nom­i­nee Naeem Mo­haimen, a North Amer­ica-based Bangladesh­i artist. Co-com­mis­sioned by Doc­u­menta 14—the 2017 it­er­a­tion of the art show held once ev­ery five years—it uses the 1973 Non-Aligned Move­ment meet­ing in Al­ge­ria and the 1974 Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Coun­tries meet­ing in Pak­istan to ex­plore why the Third World coun­tries never man­aged to unite. Also screened at Doc­u­menta 14 was Amar Kan­war’s

‘Such a Morn­ing’, a fic­tional film shot in the North­east that traces the jour­ney of a math­e­ma­ti­cian who grap­ples with his grad­ual blind­ness. The film ad­dresses ex­is­ten­tial ques­tions cru­cial in the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate.

Leg­endary South African artist Wil­liam Ken­tridge’s mul­ti­ple an­i­ma­tion video in­stal­la­tion ‘I am not me, the horse is not mine’ (2008) draws upon Dmitry Shostakovi­ch’s satir­i­cal opera ‘The Nose’ (1928) and a short story by Niko­lai Go­gol writ­ten in 1837. The ti­tle of the work al­ludes to a Rus­sian say­ing that de­nies guilt and is from a tran­script of the plenum of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of the Soviet Union.

The eight an­i­ma­tions look at Rus­sian for­mal­ism in visual arts and film in the 1920s and 1930s, and the Stal­in­ist de­struc­tion of the Rus­sian avant garde.

The show presents a unique se­lec­tion of images and in­stal­la­tions

Aliya Syed ex­plores the idea of loss, al­beit from the per­spec­tive of a di­as­poric im­mi­grant mov­ing be­tween Pak­istan and the UK. Shot on a 16 mm film, ‘Eat­ing Grass’ (2003), along with Shazia Sikan­der’s ‘Par­al­lax’ (2013) which is an HD video an­i­ma­tion of painted images, un­der­score the tech­nolo­gies of mak­ing the mov­ing im­age and the ma­te­ri­al­ity of film and video that are an in­trin­sic part of the works.

Three films (16 mm) made by Nalini Malani dur­ing the Vi­sion Ex­change Work­shop set up by Ak­bar Padamsee in a flat in Bom­bay, where artists ex­per­i­mented with film, edit­ing, etch­ing and photograph­y, are in­stalled on three ad­ja­cent walls. Ti­tled ‘Still Life’ (1969), ‘Taboo’ (1973) and ‘Onanism’ (1969), they are each less than five min­utes long. Malani’s vi­sion of the world re­mains strik­ing as she doc­u­ments a weaver in ru­ral In­dia (‘Taboo’), ur­ban life through do­mes­tic ar­chi­tec­ture and ob­jects (‘Still Life’) and fe­male angst through a rest­less, sleep­less body (‘Onanism’). Other notable works in­clude Neha Choksi’s ‘Ice­boat’ and Ran­bir Kaleka’s ‘Forest’ (2009).

KALIMPONG A frame from Shezad Da­wood’s vir­tual re­al­ity in­stal­la­tion

ALL PHO­TO­GRAPHS COURTESY KNMA

ARTISTS AT WORK

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