Drawing in the Dark
11.02.17 – 16.04.17
The exhibition Drawing in the Dark by Indian artist Shilpa Gupta brings together a series of clandestine stories and personal experiences from borderlands. The show is part of Gupta’s ongoing investigation into interrelations between structures, specifically those of the state and the individual, and their rescaling as encountered at what is both frontier and periphery. Building on Gupta’s six years of research – specifically in the borderlands of India and Bangladesh – this new series of works is an extension of the My East is Your West project she developed for the 2015 Venice Biennale. In late 2016 Gupta returned to parts around the border fence that India is building, encircling its neighbor Bangladesh, and that is notorious for being the world’s longest separation barrier under construction between two nation states.
It is the metaphor of the line or threshold that links the works on display. We cross the walking, singing, drawing, writing and sometimes hesitating lines that thread their ways through the gallery rooms. 1:444557 is an impossible attempt at relating to the scale of the barrier between India and Bangladesh. The metal rod divides the antechamber. In the central dome room, 24:00:01 poses questions on identity, fear, religion, and that which remains ineffable. Phrases and sounds fade in and out. Two clacking riverbed rocks set the rhythm for a song. A hand-drawn map represents the subjective outlines of a country. A traditional saree garment was torn in long shreds and wound up. Marijuana drawings and aerial photographs with spare motor parts portray that which plays out in the shadow of the visible. They are momentary recordings of an ongoing, informal stream of goods, people and desires. Drawing in the Dark carries narratives of unlisted journeys along meandering lines on a map. In this fringe area, seemingly rigorous regulations reveal themselves as being in constant flux and subject to debate.
The exhibition is a joint production by KIOSK, Bielefelder Kunstverein and Le centre d’art contemporain – la synagogue de Delme.
The motion flapboard 24:00:01 is presented courtesy of the artist and DVIR Gallery, Brussels. All other works, courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.