The next, second week of the Köln residency turned out just as busy. First a long discussion with the group of fellows of my inaugural lecture of last week. I got lots of questions about history: background facts and “how did annoyance get expressed in 17th century faces? It is still difficult, apparently, to imagine that one can look at art and analyze it in and from the present. Then, Thursday morning I flew to Copenhagen. That evening I had a wonderful meeting with faculty and students of visual studies, art history, and related fields, organized by Ulrik Ekman, whom I had met in September in Amsterdam. Instead of giving yet another lecture, they had devices a new format. Five people presented a case from their own work, in which they had encountered questions emerging from my work. The result was a very lively, animated evening, followed by a reception.
The reason I went to Copenhagen was that the Arken Museum of contemporary art had mounted an exhibition of Indian art. Called Indian Art Now, it is a beautiful show that avoids the traps of condescendance, exoticizing, and the kind of “experience India in an hour” market. It was a brilliant selection and the works are brilliantly displayed. For the occasion, the museum had organized a one-day conference, which I had accepted to speak in.
The curators/organizers Dorthe Juul Rugaard, Camma Juel Jepsen and Stine Høholt did a fantastic job, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the first exhibition of Indian art I saw that, I think, could just as well be held in India itself. One of my favorite works is Bharti Kerr’s The Hot Winds that Blow From the West from 2011. Stacked radiators that had been purchased in the US, shipped to India where they had been sitting in a warehouse for years, now stacked into a beautiful sculpture. Both autonomous artwork and gaining from knowledge of the back story, this work makes a perfect case for “intercultural curating”.
I also had the great pleasure of meeting up with Gayatri Sinha, whom I had met some ten years ago in Montreal. She appears in our film Lost in Space. I had so much to talk about with her that I forgot to take a picture of her. Hence this little webgrab.