Wednesday, August 14, 2013

concept for for 'The Impossibility of Being'

Floor plan of Exhibit 320 at the time me sharing my initial concept note with artists

The exhibition concept note that we find for The Possibility of Being (, is something that has come up after studio visits, seeing work...discussing with artists getting feedback from everyone and thinking...trying to simplify yet keep the core values intact....feel the need to share the first note i share with my the artists......that time the show was conceived as the Impossibility of Being 

Concept note :
>  The Impossibility of Being
 The Impossibility of Being is dedicated to (re) exploring linkages between the narrative, the social and Painting as we come to the end of an era which was (is being) called Contemporary. As i try to imagine  post neoliberal, post contemporary worlds, curatorially i feel the need to revisit the linkages between  the narrative, the social and Painting, in collaboration with a group of artists who have given narrative figurative story telling the feel of myth making through inventions and reworkings of the iconic. As the neo liberal was defined and celebrated as the era of new media and the ‘futuristic’ , this exhibition  also becomes a project in cultural archaeology or ritual nostalgia. Slowly there is a growing recognition that painting practices continue to hold important contributing agency in shaping new cultural directions. These new directions in taste and cultural archaeological position disturbs the ‘meaning’ of ‘new media’ by placing old media as an vanguard act. That is why the impossibility of being.

 The Impossibility of Being is (also) proposed as a post digital re visiting of Geeta Kapur's 'Place for People' exhibition and looks at paintings of personal and social histories.  However, the idea of the narrative itself has changed over this period of time.  The age of digital aesthetics (one can trace a Global mainstream dominance of it from 1995-2005 and in India till about 2011), resulted in the idea of the narrative itself being cleaned and cosmopotianised. This shift from the 'bazar to the mall' shifted our understandings of the local, personal and the political. Capturing these shifts imply trading not only on the medium specificity of a post-conceptual re-visitation of Modernism (the ‘language of the mark, gesture and surface’), but that it should be equally receptive  to (and in dialogue with ) motifs taken  from contemporary culture and older narrative traditions of image-making.The narrative today is post iconic and post digital (when Geeta Kapur did Place for People the narrative was post abstract and post gestural). Thus, The Impossibility of Being also becomes a collaboration with artists whose studio practice has shown both a resistance to the dominance of the digital and the iconic.

What separates myths from legends is that myths are more layered and complex. That is why this show is not pitched at the level of ‘urban or contemporary legends’. To be a myth maker, the love for layering has to go beyond the content and have to enter the domain of the the ‘form’. As we look for a post digital aesthetics in this digital world, the analogue’s celebration of labour, gives us an ability to develop a critique of the ‘clean’, cosmopolitan golabism. Post digital aesthetics can only work when dichotomies between concept and craft are not forgotten, but transgressed. This understanding of art making where concept, medium , craftsmanship,and time inform the artistic process.

The zones between the possible and the impossible are also called upon because there is also personal engagement with the subaltern, and deep contributions in opening our thoughts to new sub alterities. The ‘icon’ and myth making become instruments of this position. Art has an ability to deeply personalize history and future, taking them into the domains of memory and fantasy.  Both memory and fantasy have been important tools of subaltern history. The Impossibility of Being  is informed by this engagement with subalternity, memory, fantasy; along with the iconic, narrative.

 This is not a new trend we are looking at. Through the heights of the dominance of digital aesthetics in global taste, there have been artists who have worked within zones that transgress labour, concept and skill.  Especially right now it becomes important to bring together a show of work that has taken place in the studio over the last one-two years.

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