Raqs Media Collective: Luminous Will

Raqs Media Collective: Luminous Will

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

Raqs Media Collective, Re-Run (video still), 2013. Video. Courtesy of the artists.
September 10, 2015
Raqs Media Collective: Luminous Will

September 17–October 17, 2015

Opening: September 17, 5–7pm

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Mrs. E. Ross Anderson Auditorium +
Barbara and Steven Grossman Gallery
230 The Fenway
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–5pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm


Does history repeat itself, or simply rehearse its moves in anticipation? Can we read chronicles in terms of deferrals and déjà vu rather than in terms of climaxes and closures?

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) is pleased to present Luminous Will by Raqs Media Collective. Including four new works, the exhibition will articulate rarely asked questions, consider infinity, and re-animate historical memory, transforming SMFA’s galleries into a habitat for thoughtfulness, affect, and the elaboration of a playful sense of plenitude.

The question of what is or can be a “luminous will”—an illuminated, iridescent desire for life itself—is central to the constellation of works that constitute the exhibition at SMFA. Lost in Search of Time (2015) is a textual intaglio panel consisting of an arrangement of five words. The panel illuminates each word in an alternating pattern suggesting two phrases with different (but related) meanings: “Lost in search of time” and “In search of lost time,” which point to the peculiarities and slippages that happen whenever time gets lost, or is found, in dreams and shared memories.

Resonating with current geopolitical conditions, Re-run (2013) is a large-scale video work based on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a December 1948 bank run in Shanghai. The image features a crowd of people desperate to withdraw their money in anticipation of an imminent collapse of their currency. Re-run revisits and re-stages Cartier-Bresson’s image, capturing the anticipation of a financial collapse, which ultimately contributes to, and causes, said crisis. Layering gold ink on blackboard-painted newspapers, Seven Billion and One (2015) features 101 screen prints of lemniscates—the sign of infinity—illustrating how individuals are simultaneously the seven billion and the one.

“Raqs is not constrained by the rules of what traditionally defines art—they simply work to create meaningful and culturally powerful pieces and projects,” says SMFA President, Chris Bratton. “Their methodology is wonderfully aligned with SMFA’s mission, built upon independent thought and interdisciplinary pursuits. We are thrilled to present this opportunity, and for SMFA and the greater Boston community to experience Raqs’ extraordinary work on an intimate level.”

Founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, the Raqs Media Collective enjoys playing a plurality of roles, often appearing as artists, occasionally as curators, sometimes as philosophical agent provocateurs. They live and work in New Delhi.

The exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of Sandy Moose and Eric Birch. Special thanks to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Artist-in-Residency Program.

Related events
Visit smfa.edu/raqs for full details.

September 16: “For Giving Time: SMFA Graduate Colloquium 2015–16″
Featuring Raqs, Robert Sember of Ultra-red, and more

September 18: “Closer Look: Dying Inayat Khan (1618–19)”
Led by Joan Wright, Bettina Burr Conservator, Asian Conservation Studio, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

September 18: “Lived Histories and the After-Life of Images”
Raqs, Homi Bhabha, and Abhishek Kaicker in conversation. Co-hosted with Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University.


About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
Founded in 1876 and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) is one of only two art schools in the country affiliated with a major museum—the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Our mission is to provide an education in the visual arts—for undergraduate and graduate students—that is interdisciplinary and self-directed. For more information about our programs and partnerships, visit www.smfa.edu.

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School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
September 10, 2015

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