October 23, 2017 - Kunsthaus Hamburg - Tejal Shah: UNBECOMING
October 23, 2017

Kunsthaus Hamburg

Tejal Shah, unbecoming (detail), 2017. Mixed media installation, variable dimensions.

Tejal Shah
UNBECOMING
October 25–December 3, 2017

Opening: October 24, 7–11pm

Kunsthaus Hamburg
Klosterwall 15
20095 Hamburg
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

kunsthaushamburg.de
Facebook / Instagram

Tejal Shah
UNBECOMING
October 25–December 3, 2017

Opening: October 24, 7–11pm

Kunsthaus Hamburg
Klosterwall 15
20095 Hamburg
Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

kunsthaushamburg.de
Facebook / Instagram

Film screening
Other Species, Other Times 
October 21, 6–8pm
A program of films curated by Lalitha Gopalan and Anuj Vaidya 
Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK)

Film screening
Koi Sunta Hai: Journeys with Kumar & Kabir (Someone is listening)
October 22, 6–8pm
Documentary film, director: Shabnam Virmani 
Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK)

Lecture performance
October 25, 6–8pm
Artist presentations by Shabnam Virmani and Tejal Shah followed by Q&A
Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK)

 

Curator: Chus Martínez

The aesthetic practice of the Indian artist Tejal Shah (*1979, Bhilai) encompasses video, photography, performances, drawings, sound works, and spatial installations. Her works compellingly engage us in layered propositions on the co-dependent relationships between gender, ecology, science, sexuality, and consciousness. Informed by queer, feminist, and Buddhist thought, Shah questions systematic dualistic differentiations and seamlessly integrates important reflections on violence and power on the one hand, and love and regeneration on the other. Particularly in the context of her native country India, her unique artistic position is a testimony of courage, outstanding in quality and independence.

At the Kunsthaus Hamburg, Shah is presenting her 5-channel video installation Between the Waves as an extensive spatial experience. In the installation, which premiered at dOCUMENTA (13), the artist develops her own vision of a cosmology that breaks with all standard conceptions of corporeality and consciousness, dissolving the boundaries between human, nature, culture, and other species. The humanimal protagonists that appear in the films unselfconsciously embody ritualistic and intuitive explorations, unapologetically seeking closeness. The artist presents a radical imagination that is both a utopia and a dystopia. It can be asked if this deeply impressive as well as disturbing vision of a humankind haunted by waves of love over and over will change anything in this world as it is. Beyond the video installation, the Kunsthaus Hamburg is showing collages that are thematically linked to the films and is premiering her new installation of drawings, unbecoming, which pivots on the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the figure of the Bodhisattva.

In collaboration with the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, HFBK (Prof. Michaela Melián), Tejal Shah will outline the specific cultural context in which her works are created by presenting two film programs. She has invited the Indian filmmaker and singer Shabnam Virmani as a special guest, whose films she will present and discuss. The works of both artists contain multiple thematic and conceptual links and they will jointly conduct a day-long workshop with the students at the HFBK.

Shah will furthermore elucidate her current research on October 25 in a performance lecture also presented at the HFBK. For over two years, she has been focusing on key aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, which follows the Middle Way Philosophy School, a legacy of the erstwhile Nalanda University. She is thus drawing upon a living spiritual tradition that offers some of the most profound and scientifically compatible perspectives on the nature of reality and consciousness. Her main interest is in the practical application of the core insights proposed by this body of knowledge and its relevance to the total process of living in consonance. In Hamburg, she will give a public account of this intensive form of aesthetic research for the first time and Shabnam Virmani will also make an artist presentation alongside. This will further provide special insight into their practices, which are respectively both critical and urgent in the present cultural landscape of India.

Tejal Shah (*1979, Bhilai, India) studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, and at the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions, and her films have been presented at various film festivals; among other venues, she has shown her works at the Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2016/17), the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2014), the Gujral Foundation, New Delhi (2014), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), the Centre Pompidou (2011), and the Tate Modern (2006). In Germany, she is represented by Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich, and in India by Project 88, Mumbai.

 

Kindly supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media, Hamburg, and ifa, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

The exhibition is taking place in the context of India Week, Hamburg.

The events presented in cooperation with the HFBK are associated with the doctorate graduate program “Aesthetics of the Virtual," which is supported by the Landesforschungsförderung.

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