My East is Your West: Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale

My East is Your West: Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale

The Gujral Foundation

Left: Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2014. Courtesy the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins. Right: Rashid Rana, War Within II, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London.

May 6, 2015

My East is Your West
Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale
6 May–1 October 2015 

Palazzo Benzon
Calle Benzon, 3927
San Marco

Opening today, My East is Your West is an exhibition which brings together the artistic practices of Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai, India) and Rashid Rana (Lahore, Pakistan) in an unparalleled effort to jointly present artists from the Indian subcontinent on a shared platform at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. As neither India nor Pakistan has a permanent national pavilion in Venice, this presentation provides a unique platform for artists from South Asia to enter into a dialogue through the arts, representing the Indian subcontinent as one region. 

“In his writings, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze says that whether we are individuals or groups, we are made of lines, which intrinsically tie humankind together. Yet, the lines that tie entities together can also possess, stifle, and partition. After sustaining a common history and cultural affinity that spans thousands of years, the Indian subcontinent was divided along an asymmetrical partition line in 1947, however, the imposed limits of nation-states and hemispheres are ruptured by the artistic imagination. Born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between the South Asian nation-states of India and Pakistan, My East is Your West is a proposal towards a shared cultural cartography where we meet beyond fixity.”
–Natasha Ginwala 

Titled after a light installation by Shilpa Gupta, My East is Your West is housed in the 17th-century Palazzo Benzon on Venice’s Grand Canal. Shilpa Gupta’s new series of work, Untitled (2014–15) brings together over four years of ongoing research into the India-Bangladesh borderlands. The India-Bangladesh border fence still under construction by the Indian state encircles its neighbour and is recognized as the longest security barrier between two adjoining nation-states in the world. Through works ranging from installation, video, photography, drawings, text-based pieces and performance, she intricately surveys the human condition from this territory and the transitory flows of goods and bodies that trespass security infrastructure, legislation and economic barriers.

In Transpositions (2013–15), Rashid Rana presents an immersive setting across five rooms surveying the conception of presence, temporality and location as collective experience, across digital printmaking, video and installation. His work negotiates between the actual and the remote, blurring the boundaries between acts of image-making and the inhabiting of a world—where the real operates as a recording of fiction, while we are made to observe the paradoxical lives of images in a multi-layered reality.

My East is Your West is conceived by Feroze Gujral, Director and Founder of The Gujral Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting contemporary art and culture in South Asia. The Gujral Foundation has partnered with Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta on the project with Martina Mazzotta, Head Curator, programming collateral events in Italy. Natasha Ginwala is Curatorial Advisor and Curator of Public Programming.

Running alongside the project throughout the Biennale is Ancestors, a multi-part public programme curated by Natasha Ginwala as an interdisciplinary events platform for My East is Your West. Along with leading South Asian and international artists, writers, filmmakers, architects and theorists, these events seek to facilitate conversations that traverse a politically fraught region to deliberate its shared history, geographic affinity, cosmological knowledge and colonial legacies. The Ancestors public programme is held in collaboration with Britto Arts Trust, Goethe-Institut, Lahore Biennale Foundation and Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design. 

As part of the programme, artists Shilpa Gupta, Rashid Rana and Naeem Mohaiemen will participate in Imagined Cartographies, a conversation focusing on their recent practice and artistic methods to plot multiple perspectives on the idea of South Asia. The talk will take place at the Palazzo Benzon on Thursday 7 May from 11am to 12:30pm and will be moderated by Natasha Ginwala and Martina Mazzotta.

Press contact: Olivia Cerio, Sutton PR
olivia [​at​] / T +44 (0) 20 7183 3577

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May 6, 2015

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