Friday, January 7, 2011

constructing Myth and reality

Myth Reality

Constructing Cult-u’re

Curated by: Veeranganakumari Solanki

4th – 30th January 2011; The Guild, Mumbai, INDIA

Participating Artists:

Charwei Tsai (Taiwan); Job Koelewijn (The Netherlands); Johan Grimonprez (Belgium); Mithu Sen (India); Neha Thakar (India); Prayas Abhinav (India); Renata Poljak (Croatia); Riyas Komu (India); Vidya Kamat (India); Vijayendra Sekhon (India)

Performances: 4th January 2011: 7:30 p.m. onwards by: Charwei Tsai and Prayas Abhinav

Film Screenings: Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (68 mins); Double Take (80 mins) by Johan Grimonprez

4th January 2011: 5p.m. – 7 p.m.

5th – 30th January 2011: Both films will be screened twice daily at 12p.m. and 4 p.m.

For this exhibition, artists have created works based on the notion of myth and representation. They create, valorise and shatter – ideas, notions, ideologies, cultures, beliefs, facts and myths.

Culture = Cult + you are = Culture is what you are.

It is what you create, construct and accept that becomes a culture.

In societies around the world, culture and ideology co-exist. They in turn create myths.

Myths become beliefs, which grow into facts.

Over a passage of time, a fact stirs the curious who probe – there is an awakening –the fact is questioned and grows into a belief and then becomes a myth...

Roland Barthes described the notion of myth as constantly changing notions, with implications of the original. In his collection of essays – Mythologies – Barthes revealed how myth was created through the theory of semiotics.# When something (signifier) is used to indicate an object (signified) over an implied period of time, it creates a sign which loses it denotations and becomes a connotation, in turn implying a myth.

In the contemporary world, there is a constant creation and destruction of myths and cultures.

Myth naturalises situations and meanings that have been created to make them appear real.


(b. 1980; Taiwan)

Charwei Tsai previously earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2002) and is presently engaged in a research program at the L' Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Tsai's work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions internationally including Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Today Art Museum (both in 2010), 6th Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008), ZKM Center of Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (both 2007), the Singapore Biennale (2006) and the Foundation Cartier, Paris (2005). In addition to her art practice, Tsai publishes, designs and edits Lovely Daze, a contemporary art periodical released biannually.

Tsai utilizes a variety of media in a politically engaged, performative practice. At once highly personal yet general in concern, Tsai grounds herself and her art practice in a sense of (national / Taiwanese) identity and the consequent implications. Geographical, social and spiritual concerns inform a body of work directed towards activating participation outside the confines of complacent contemplation. Tsai presently lives and works in Paris and New York. (By Jeffrey Ian Rosen)

About her works:

Ice Explorations– 35.5 x 44 inches each; C-Print; 2009; Edition 2/6

A block of ice was placed onto a piece of mirror reflecting the sky as it melts away.

Circle – video loop – 0:40 mins; video projection - 12 x 12 inches; 2009; Edition 4/5

I drew a circle onto a block of ice then watch it melt away. A circle makes both a form and a void. To draw it as a perfect form takes discipline and to let it go takes ease. The work continues to explore my reflection on the Heart Sutra, a Buddhist text that I have memorized since growing up in Taiwan.

- Performance:

Driftwood; Performance on 4th January 2011 at The Guild, Mumbai

The Heart Sutra is written onto pieces of Driftwood found from the Kaveri River, in Vansda, a town in Gujarat, India. This will be released back to the river after the exhibition. The use of driftwood reflects on a journey where the wood is shaped by its environment and is in constant flux; while the Heart Sutra implies carrying wisdom to another shore...


(b. 1962; The Netherlands)

Job Koelewijn is an artist who engages in mind-expanding explorations of time and space, and has a special fondness for poetry and literature – Marsman and Beckett for instance. His work has a clear conceptual streak. Imagination and reality are, for him, identical entities. He visualizes ideas and transforms thoughts into images that can be concretely experienced, which can vary from photos and film to architectural constructions, from small objects to (often temporal) installations that take up a whole room.

For Koelewijn art and life move forward in a constant dialogue. The participation of the viewer is indispensable for the works he creates. Koelewijn has built a varied oeuvre over the past twenty years which he has exhibited worldwide. Currently he is showing his work in Museum De Paviljoens in Almere, NL and in The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY, USA. He is also travelling the world for his Spinoza Reading Performance.

About his works:

Ongoing reading project

Text, especially poetry plays an important role in Koelewijn’s work. It is not just about recalling an intellectual experience, but also an actual physical experience.

On February 1st 2006, Koelewijn made a statement, declaring that from that moment onwards, he would each day read a book (from a diverse range) out loud for the time duration of 45 minutes (one side of a cassette tape). Starting on page one, reading out loud the whole book, but never longer than 45 minutes a day, until the book is completed.

This daily rhythm with an almost meditative power has resulted into The Ongoing Reading Project. A project that has been presented in different manners, for example in a jukebox set, playing on request a certain book reading.

Cassettes; Digital print on archival paper; 24 x 41 inches; 2009; edition 2/3

The 45 minutes Agreement (Reading schedule)
Job Koelewijn reading (Audio)


(1962; Belgium)

Johan Grimonprez is an internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker. Acquisitioned by NBC UNIVERSAL, ARTE TV (Germany/France), and CHANNEL 4 (UK), his productions travelled the main festival circuit from SUNDANCE to BERLIN. They garnered several Best Director Awards, a ZKM International Media Award, a Spirit Award and the recent 2009 Black Pearl Award (Abu Dhabi). His curatorial projects were host at museums worldwide, such as the HAMMER MUSEUM (LA) and the PINAKOTHEK DER MODERNE (Munchen). His work resides at major museum collections, including CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU (Paris) and TATE MODERN (London). He is published with Hatje/Cantz (Germany), and in distribution with Soda Pictures and Kino International. He spends his time between Brussels and New York, where he lectures at the SCHOOL OF THE VISUAL ARTS.

About his works:

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997); film; 68 mins

Praised by The Times and The New York Times as "an eccentric rollercoaster ride through history", Johan Grimonprez's award-winning film Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997) depicts a freefall through a chronology of airplane hijackings. Since its highly acclaimed premiere at the POMPIDOU CENTER and DOCUMENTA X, it has toured worldwide, garnering 'Best Director' awards at the SAN FRANCISCO and TORONTO film festivals. With contributions by DON DELILLO and SLAVOJ ZIZEK, a DVD edition was released by OTHER CINEMA.

(More info at

Double Take (2009); film; 80 mins

In a story by novelist TOM McCARTHY, Double Take (2009) traces the rise of television as it instigated a culture of fear. Acclaimed by critics as “wildly entertaining” and “a delicious oddity”,it premiered at the BERLINALE and at SUNDANCE, winning the BLACK PEARL AWARD at Abu Dhab and the NEW MEDIA GRAND PRIZE at Los Angeles. (More info at


Special thanks to Zap-o-matik for Johan Grimonprez’s films:

For the past decade, the Brussels based production office zap-o-matik has seen its productions travel the main festival circuit, from SUNDANCE through to BERLIN. Bagging many awards along the way, the productions have been acquired by NBC UNIVERSAL, CANAL+, ARTE and CHANNEL 4, and are in current distribution through SODA (UK), FACETS/MULTIMEDIA and KINO LORBER (NY). Curated by many of the world's most reputed museums, zap-o-matik works have been exhibited at the GUGGENHEIM and MOMA, and find themselves amongst the permanent collections of the CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU, TATE MODERN and the KANAZAWA ART MUSEUM. On the publications side, with DISTRIBUTED ART PUBLISHERS as distributors, HATJE/CANTZ has put several books in print.


(b. 1971; India)

Mithu Sen received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Vishva Bharti, Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan in 1991. She was awarded the Charles Wallace India Trust Award in the UK for 2000-2001 to study at tge Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, U.K.

Her art practice steers between creating installations, paintings and collages with mixed media. She has held solo exhibitions of her works at Nature Morte, New Delhi and Berlin, Bose Pacia gallery ,New York, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai ; Albion Gallery, London ; Suzie Q project, Zurich; Krinzinger Project, Vienna; Lakeeren gallery, Mumbai; Machintosh Gallery, Glasgow and the British Council, New Delhi. Her works have been included in Group exhibitions in many international museums and galleries as well as in India including IVAM, Valencia; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; Kunst Museum , Berne; Daimler Chrysler collection , Berlin; Brandise University, Boston; Museum of modern art(MOMAT) Tokyo; Goethe Institute, Salvador, Brazil, Lausanne Museum, Berne, Switzerland; SOMA Museum, Seoul.

Sen is based in New Delhi, India.

About her works:

Mithu Sen provokes the viewer to question our social values and our actions as human beings. She invites the viewer to play and interact with meanings of ‘self’. There is a notion of deconstructing the old to bring in the new. The viewer is compelled to relate to her works at a personal level, through self-analysis of their own identity.

Myth U; 30 x 22 inches; mixed media watercolour on embossed handmade paper; 2010

The work in this exhibition is a self portrait of the artist ...“and how friends/people like to read/see/write/call me...though it is funny but it has an inner psychology that drives’s how people spell/ed my name...”








(b. 1980; India)

Neha Thakar received her M.V.A from M.S. University of Baroda, India. She was a part of the PEERS 2010 Khoj Residency in New Delhi and participated in a residency programme by the British Council in 2009 at the Mehrangadh Fort, Jodhpur.

Thakar’s process of working enables her to see the changing visual formation of her works through the passage of time. Through mediums she selects – such as ice, water and smell – the process becomes a performance in through a space of changing visual. One can also term it as environmental art, because of the celebration with the natural world ranging from permanent constructions of objects and interventions with ice. The artist makes use of nature to explore themes such as, the fleeting and ephemeral, notions of time, the unexpected and random. Thakar is based in Baroda, India.

About her works:

Untitled – 24 x 36 inches; 2010; mixed media on paper

Purified – video loop; 2:00 mins; 2008-09; Edition 1/5

“One can see my work at the beginning, middle or end, and can feel a part of it, that relates to my approach to material. Hence, the spectator becomes a part of my work. The so called ‘Simulacrum’ in itself turns into an artwork as the process goes on. Therefore, the viewer who is involved with the process can see innumerable visuals within one visual and at last a feeling of nothingness or so called emptiness takes place, which is the core idea of my work. The ice, which is the solid form of water, turns in to water and finally to its origin through the process of natural exhaustion.

In simple words, I am playing with an idea of tangible & intangible; visible & invisible properties of the materials like Water, Ice, Smell, Gas & extra. At the edge of this circle I have tried to negotiate the essence of impermanency.” – Neha Thakar


(1982; India)

Prayas Abhinav currently teaches at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology and is a researcher at the Center for Experimental Media Arts (CEMA). He has taught in the past at Dutch Art Institute (DAI) and Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT). His works and projects have been supported by Sarai/CSDS (2005), Openspace India (2009) and Center for Media Studies (CMS) (2006).

Abhinav’s recent projects have been exhibited at: Periferry, Guwahati (2010), Exit Art, New York (2010), Futuresonic, Manchester (2009), Wintercamp, Amsterdam (2009), 48c: Public Art Ecology (2008), Khoj (2008), Urban Climate Camp, ISEA (2008), Sensory Urbanism, Glasgow (2008), First Monday, Chicago (2006), The Paris Accord (2006) and PSBT/Prasar Bharti (2006). He has also participated in the exhibitions Continuum Transfunctioner (2010) at exhibit320 in Delhi, Contested Space - Incursions (2010) at Gallery Seven Arts in Delhi and Astonishment of Being (2009) at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture in Kolkatta.

Abhinav is based in Bangalore, India.

About his works:

Even war has limits; 17” screen, joystick, text; 2010

A modified version of the Space Invaders game (a classic arcade game) in which the confrontational process part of our social situation plays out and becomes a semiotic conflict in which accusations, prescriptions and cross-accusations, defence mechanisms are made easily. The game can be played with a joystick. Additional cross-accusations can be typed with a keyboard.

The tiger is not a tiger (but don't tell); 17” screen, button, text; 2010

This looks at consumption-created social status. A series of images loading up on a screen. We can vote for the image on the left or on the right by pressing the corresponding button. Pressing both the buttons together will take us to the score-window, which shows which image was selected how many times. Selection, here, is of course meant to signify desirability and cool-sensing. A kind of literature-review of research on luxury objects and their marketing to consumers is installed on the wall, around the screen.

We are all schizoid; Table, microphone, speakers, stools, 2010 – 11 (ongoing project)

Sanity is just an excuse to cling on to a world that is known: Seven first-person stories woven around seven different contexts and forms of power. These seven stories are kept on a table. We can sit and read the stories - which all begin with a preamble with specific reading directions which could help in reading the text as text, and not treat it visually as an image. There is a microphone on the table into which we can read the stories. Become the character in the text and see the anomalies that emerge in our voice as we are reading and assuming different positions and roles.


(1974; Croatia / France)

Renata Poljak is a visual artist from Split, Croatia; currently living in Paris. Her body of work is composed of different media: photos, neon, installation, videos and film. In 2002 she received the ArtsLink award as visiting artist at the San Francisco Art Institute; in Museum Quartier, Vienna in 2004; and in 2008 she was selected for the Art In General residency program in New York and for ArtOmi in 2010.

Renata's work has been exhibited widely, in solo or group shows, biennales and film festivals. She received several awards, such as the Golden Black Box Award for Best Short Film at the Black Box Festival in Berlin 2006. In 2010, a selection of her videos and film work were exhibited in Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and in November 2010 during Paris Photo a selection of photos and videos in the Carrusel du Louvre.

About her works:

“My work explores the politic upheaval and violence the Balkan region has undergone since the early 1990s, and the ramifications of those changes in the lives of émigrés throughout Western Europe. Videos and installations often combine staged and even fantastical situations with documentation of real- life misunderstandings and misuses of power. Filmic explorations meld autobiographical elements/experience as a woman in the former Yugoslavia and in France, for example-and scenarios reflecting the social and political consequences of Croatia's move from socialism to free market capitalism. With subjects ranging from the memorialisation of the Holocaust to the trauma of post-civil war, Serbo-Croatian relations, my work investigates how transitional political and economic moments can reignite brutal social customs with deleterious effects for women and ethnic of religious minorities.”

Figures; print on archival paper; 23.5 x 16 inches; 2010; Edition 1/5

I need you to believe in something; (diptych) digital print on archival paper; 20.5 x 27.5 inches each; 2008; Edition 2/5: Made in 2001, the photographs represent two children playing the violin during a concert in the school of Albanian village – Fier. The setting and the atmosphere are the same lived by Renata Poljak in Yugoslavia in the early '80s, during the period of strong faith in socialism and Tito, in the years which the Tito’s portrait stayed everywhere. Now in 2001, behind the children, stands a new symbol of the desire, the stars of European Union.

Videos: video loop – In New York (3:04 mins); In Paris (6:23 mins)

Wonderland series: Alice; 31.5 x 31.5 inches; 2002; Edition 3/5

Under the title Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s universe of fantasy, the exhibition conveys the idea of a very special invitation to travel. The only source of light is bleu neon lighting with an elegant lettering. It fills the space with a sense of hope and disappointment. Writing with light, almost pronouncing, is preventing something to happen: if only I can once say I’ll follow you until the end of the world, si je pouvais dire seulement une fois je te suivrai jusqu’au bout du monde...The desire of elsewhere is met by the elsewhere of the past; a video installation enriched with a photograph evokes a lost Yugoslavia. Crveni Makovi (Red Poppies) the young Yugoslavian pioneers’ song to the memory of partisans, the blood - like red of the poppies, the artist’s voice reciting passages of Alice In Wonderland, Sarajevo today, a childhood in Split yesterday, and even a fly. The artist walking in the streets in Sarajevo or sleeping in the grass, everything jostle together to sketch the idea of the lost wonderland, to show the historical ellipsis between childhood and adulthood (1991-2001). Yugoslavia of yore and the one who hasn’t got a name anymore – today’s Yugoslavia – just one unique desire, that of not been roused. Because this end of the world may very well be the outcome of a dream: And if he -Tito- stops dreaming about you, where do you think you will be?


(1971; India)

Riyas Komu holds a BFA and MFA from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, India. Driven by contemporary political issues around the world, Komu expresses his concerns through a repertoire of paintings, sculpture, photography and installations. “My job as an artist is that of an activist – be it football or politics.” Formulating, conceptualising and employing Marxist symbols that underline his political awareness, Komu’s works not only “look like posthumous regrets but (are) also a propaganda that has the form of a protest.” Bringing to the forefront neglected sectors of society and the struggle for survival, Komu’s works pursue the viewers’ thoughts to go beyond a pre-constructed comfort zone with a sceptical, but compassionate humanistic approach.

The artist has exhibited widely in India and internationally. His recent solo shows include SUBRATO to CÉSAR, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai and SAFE TO LIGHT, Azad Gallery, Tehran, Iran in 2010. His works have also been exhibited in group shows internationally. Recent exhibitions include Emerging Asian Artists, Gwangju, South Korea; The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Studio La Citta, Verona, Italy.

The artist is based between Mumbai and Kerela in India.

About his works:

Karachi Series – 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22; 20 x 30 inches each; Archival print on paper; 2005; Artist’s proof

The Karachi Series are black and white images of cemeteries in Pakistan. They portray the marks of natural forces - time and weather - which, due to human neglect, have broken down the dignity of the burial grounds. In a photograph of a flooded Islamic cemetery, tombstones along with uprooted trees ironically float past. Another image, this time an abandoned Christian cemetery, depicts an isolated, erect angel seen from the back hovering, in a cross-like contradiction, perpendicularly to the tombstones fallen in ruin. The series treats various religions through the optic of Heraclitus' philosophy (uncannily echoing that of the Buddha) encapsulated in the words 'Panta Rei' that all is just a river of constant change ultimately swept away as time flows and ever renewed. (Deborah Jenner)

The Karachi series was created by Komu during a residency in Karachi, Pakistan.


(1964; India)

Vidya Kamat is an academician and an artist, who works with new media. Her area of interest and research has been ancient Indian myths and symbols. She has contributed papers in the seminars and respected journals on the same subject. Her works have been exhibited in India as well as internationally. Some exhibitions include: Through Other Eyes: Contemporary Art from South Asia, Curated by Gerard Mermoz, Herbert Art gallery & Musuem, Coventry, England; Indian Contemporary Art Palais Benedictine, Fecamp Paris, Curated by Ranjit Hoskote and Supriya Banerjee; Changing skin, Mumbai curated By Marta Jakimowicz, I am saint, New Delhi, curated by Johny ML.

The artist is based in Mumbai.

About her work:

Blooming Lotus; 48 x 48 inches; (16 panels – 12 x 12 inches each); Digital print on archival paper; 2010; Edition 1/3

This work takes on the ancient Indian system of Tantra, which depicts various chakras as the centres of the consciousness. The diagrammatic structure suggests the current state of 'Indian' consciousness where each lotus blooms in a materialistic gain. Blooming Lotus, tries to create a linkage between the ancient and contemporary Indian reality of the spiritual and materialistic world.


(1977; India)

Vijayendra Sekhon received his M.F.A. from M.S. University, Baroda, India and a second Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Sekhon was based in New York and recently moved to Mumbai where he is developing his independent studio practice. He has participated in group shows and artist residencies in the US, South Korea and India. Post his Masters from NYU, Vijay worked with Merchant Ivory Productions as an assistant editor, cameraman and producer. He has also assisted New York based artist Krishna Reddy and Zarina Hashmi as a studio assistant. Vijay’s work is an eclectic mix of drawings, paintings, sound, video, writing and performance. He is interested in deconstructing memories and thoughts, and constructing a narrative, which leads to new learning and understanding of our everyday life and behaviour.

About his work:

A letter to/from the future; mixed media on canvas (A panel of 44 canvases, 6 X 4 inches each); 2010

“I look at the work from present and future points of view simultaneously. At one level it is my attempt to leave behind clues for future archaeologists to uncover the world we live in? And at second level I take the role of that future archaeologist. I tried to imagine what will survive the time, how it may get distorted? How over time new myths may get fused with some old surviving ones? How reality of our time will distort future myths and mutate new heroes and legends?”

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