Kiran Nadar Museum of Art opens the most comprehensive and wide-ranging survey of Vivan Sundaram, one of India’s most prolific artists, in New Delhi on 8 February 2018. The most significant show to date of Sundaram’s work, Step inside and you are no longer a stranger: Over 50 years, traces the artist’s development over the last half-century, exploring his unique trajectory as an artist, curator and editor.
The exhibition features almost 200 works, his most recent work Meanings of Failed Action: Insurrection 1946, (2017) – an experiential, collaborative work sitting somewhere between theatre, performance, Evidentiary Realism and installation, (featuring sound art by notable British artist David Chapman), and re-telling a mostly forgotten event in India’s pre-independence movement – is displayed alongside rare works from the mid-sixties that mark the earliest points of Sundaram’s career. The show is curated by Roobina Karode and Vivan Sundaram.
History, Memory, Archive are the three keywords that Sundaram designates as the overarching concerns of his practice and he often describes himself as a witness to his times examining desolation and destruction, critiquing European colonialism, development and modernity (in the Indian context), and juxtaposing these themes with ideas surrounding utopia, family and empathy. He often demonstrates disjuncture visually and physically in his work to suggest how their formal and thematic concerns ricochet from one work to another.