Symposiums

            

Urbanism, Anxiety and Sexuality as Contexts: The Making of Art in the 1970s and ‘80s

Speakers: Gulammohammed Sheikh, Sudhir Kakar
Moderator: Ashis Nandy

The symposium commenced with Gayatri Sinha providing a backdrop of India of the ‘70s and ‘90s when it was flanked by modernism on one side and national economic sprouting on the other. With no concrete theorization whatsoever of their own, India transformed into a state controlled country followed inadvertently by bureaucracy and corruption. This socialist state instilled in the artists a sense of anti-institutional rigor and became the launching platform for the postmodern.

The 1969 riots, the emergency in 1975 and the trauma of the demolition of Babri masjid seeped in Gulammohammed Sheikh the realization that the syncretism of Nehruvian era had become a historic anachronism. Sudhir Kakar distinguished the Western notion of artistic creativity from the Indian notion; the former linked with the mental state marred by emotional conflicts and the latter endorses tradition and aesthetics over the personal. Ashis Nandy delineated the concept of artistic creativity and explained its markers, namely, creativity marked by an androgynous touch and bequeathed by the divine power, greater tolerance of ambiguity, element of marginality where the artist is always considered an outsider and a greater degree of access to their non-logical and irrational selves.

This was the eighth symposium in the Museum Document series, curated by Gayatri Sinha. 

Female Body and the Sexualized Space Session II

Speakers: Nilima Sheikh, Sheba Chhachhi, Sonia Khurana, Kumkum Sangri
Moderator: Gayatri Sinha

In the second session of this panel, the discussion shifted its focus from the female body to the sexualized space. The talk progressed in the context of how the body is seen inhabiting and exploring a male discourse by assuming the position of a speaking subject. The sexualized space in India has to withstand and navigate through the challenges of the state, which is constantly in a state of flux, never fully formed and can be characterized as a space for trauma. 

This was Part II of the seventh symposium in the Museum Document series, curated by Gayatri Sinha. 

Female Body and the Sexualized Space Session I

Speakers: Anita Dube, Mithu Sen, Gayatri Sinha, Bharti Kher, Tejal Shah
Moderators: Gayatri Sinha
Discussant: Roobina Karode

The discussion explored the relationship artists have with the body which has veered away from the historically locked, the feminist and the aesthetic space, and has begun the process of devolving by inhabiting unanticipated terrains. The body through these unchartered courses encounters and gains from social, political and economic pressures. These new journeys explore the new possibilities of performativity within women’s personal histories. The artistic practices of these women artists witness them making very strong positions through placement of language, texts and signs.

This was Part I of the seventh symposium in the Museum Document series, curated by Gayatri Sinha.

Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology

Speakers: T J Demos, Saloni Mathur

The symposium saw T J Demos address the relationship between art practice and environmental activism. He talked about the essential need for political ecology in order to approach the question of our relationship to nature in explicitly political way, which he saw lacking in Documenta but covered exhaustively in the Third Text issue, edited by him. He further delineated the four ways in which he has approached the term in the journal and then went on to identify the site of tensions between these approaches. Demos elaborated on his interests in areas of practice where artistic contributions of film, documentary photography and literature can be brought together and links are created to a larger social movement.

This was the sixth symposium in the Museum Document series by Gayatri Sinha.

The World as Process Rather Than As Fact

Speakers: William Kentridge, Vivan Sundaram, Nalini Malani
Moderator: Gayatri Sinha

The symposium saw Nalini Malani, Vivan Sundaram and William Kentridge present their views on their art practice, most of art making and the intense engagement with the world as process rather than fact.

William Kentridge spoke about how the indeterminacy involved in the process of creating art enables the artist to accept the emerging form and sparks recognition, which according to him is the driving force behind the practice, of making art and receiving art. Nalini Malani delineated her art practice which has always emphasized the process and the ephemeral rather than the actual object. Vivan Sundaram explained his art practice as one, which seeks to bring together fragments out of chaos and entropy and orchestrate their coming in order for the found object- which is neutral- to start acquiring an expressive quality.

This was the fifth symposium in the Museum Document series, curated by Gayatri Sinha.

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