Friday, September 2, 2011

Maya Kovskaya curated an exhibition currently on at Sakshi Gallery, Colaba, Mumbai

Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture Sakshi Gallery is proud to present 'Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture,' an exhibition of photography curated by renowned art critic, curator, writer and scholar, Maya Kóvskaya. The show, which will run from September 2 to 25, 2011, will present work by Ravi Agarwal, Sheba Chhachhi, Gauri Gill, Samar Jodha, Tejal Shah, Waswo X Waswo, Malekeh Nayiny, Han Bing and O Zhang. Recognizing that power inheres in the gaze, and the gaze constructs as much as it captures, Staging Selves: Power, Performativity & Portraiture, turns on a number of questions: What does it mean to represent; to represent; to make present again that which is no longer before us? Whose gaze counts? Whose gaze structures whom? Who has the right to “represent” whom, and how does who is doing the representing change what gets represented? Who has the right to look? Who has the capacity to see? The exhibition features works of artists from India, China and Iran, who have made it a part of their practice to question, problematize and blur the artificial binary between the “staged” and the “documentary,” selfconsciously investigating the power relations implicit in the pretension of “representation.” Some have sought to create conditions for powersharing between subject and artist, sometimes grounded in ethnographic participation in the lives of their subjects, and rooted in dialogue with the subject about how the self is to be performed before the lens. Others utilize photographic practices that de-center the position of the artist; foreground the constructed nature of the image; or highlight the role of the artist in transforming found images, such as old family portraits, to highlight the character of a historical moment before politico-religious rupture. Set into a visual dialogue with one another, the works invite the viewer to consider how images contain the power to constitute selves. United by the common thread of self-conscious artistic practice and a focus on subjects who are photographed at the intersection of the staged and the documentary, as they perform the roles of themselves, the works in the exhibition offer an exploration of the necessary incompleteness of “representation,” and the implications of asymmetrical power relations, inherent in the processes of “documenting” lives, creating “representations,” or “staging” the “performance” of an “Other” as a Self. Delhi- & Beijing-based Maya Kóvskaya (PhD, UC Berkeley, 2009) has in her extensive experience as a curator and critic, worked on numerous exhibitions in India, USA and China. She has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the Renmin University of China, in Beijing, and Beijing Capital Normal University. In 2010, she became the recipient of the inaugural Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art, and was later selected for the 2011 Young Curators Hub convening in Calcutta. Maya was also the 2010 Critic in Residence at the Khoj International Artists Association 'In Context: Public. Art. Ecology' program. She has authored 'China Under Construction: Contemporary Art from the People's Republic' in 2007 and is currently researching a comparative book on art and the public sphere in China and India. About Maya Kóvskaya: 02.09.2011 to 25.09.2011 For further information, contact: Sanyogita Deo E: T: 022 6610 3424

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