Rashid Rana & Shilpa Gupta: My East is Your West, Venice Biennale

The Gujral Foundation presents My East is Your West
Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

The Gujral Foundation is delighted to announce My East is Your West, a Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, which unites for the first time at the Biennale the historically conflicting nations of India and Pakistan in a shared exhibition by artists from both countries.

In view of their practices, internationally recognised artists Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai) and Rashid Rana (Lahore) have been invited to each present a new series of works in a shared presentation at the Palazzo Benzon, situated in the centre of Venice on the Grand Canal. 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. My East is Your West is conceived by Feroze Gujral, Director and Founder of The Gujral Foundation, and titled after a light installation by Shilpa Gupta. The Gujral Foundation has partnered with the 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.

“We come from a shared past, we have a divided present and we hope for a collaborative future” – Feroze Gujral, Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation

Born out of the desire to reposition the complex climate of historical relations between South Asia’s nation-states, My East is Your West presents the region as a shared cultural cartography within the context of the Venice Biennale. 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. Shilpa Gupta’s new series brings together over four years of ongoing research into the India-Bangladesh borderlands and the world’s longest security barrier under construction between two nation-states. She exhibits works ranging from installation, video, photography, drawings, text-based pieces  and performance, which will  take  place at intervals throughout the Biennale. Reflecting each distinctive practice, both artists explore and examine the integral essence of a people divided, a history which spans antiquity, colonial modernity and a cosmopolitan present entangled in conflict.

This journey towards conceiving a shared platform in Venice builds on the artists’ concerns to negotiate between the individual and the communal in relation to the ‘everyday’ experiences of collective consciousness. Within their practices both artists explore notions of location and dislocation, transnational belonging, and the impact of cultural and political conditioning in determining our relationship to geographical and national territories. With works that bring to the foreground entangled realities of the Indian subcontinent, Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana develop a material aesthetic that surveys the potential of a common region, separate from the state and its model.

Imagined Cartographies: In Conversation with Rashid Rana, Shilpa Gupta & Naeem Mohaiemen
Moderated by: Natasha Ginwala & Martina Mazzotta 7 May 2015, 11am – 12.30pm
Venue: Palazzo Benzon – all guests welcome.

About The Gujral Foundation

The Gujral Foundation was founded in 2008 by Mohit and Feroze Gujral, son and daughter-in-law of renowned Indian Modernist artist, Satish Gujral. The foundation is a non-profit trust dedicated to supporting contemporary cultural engagements within the realms of art, design and culture in the Indian subcontinent. Feroze Gujral, philanthropist and entrepreneur, also founded Outset India in 2011, a philanthropic organisation which provides a platform for contemporary art in India and for Indian artists abroad. Feroze Gujral is on the advisory board of the Kochi Murziris Biennale and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). Mohit Gujral is a leading Indian architect and is part of the core management and executive board of India’s largest real estate development company. Amongst other projects, The Gujral Foundation has arranged the loan of ‘Aspinwall’, the primary location of the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 and 2014, supported the 55th Venice Biennale, South Asian artists at the 8th Berlin Biennale and the Guggenheim Museum, New York exhibition, V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life (2014). For the past three years The Gujral Foundation has fostered a range of projects steadily expanding its reach with the world of contemporary art and is committed to building infrastructures that sustain cultural freedom, social engagement and the artistic imagination.

About the Artists

Shilpa Gupta (b.1976) lives and works in Mumbai, India, where she studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1997. The artist has had solo exhibitions in Asia, Europe and the United States, in recent years including: Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati; Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem; MAAP Space, Brisbane; Arnolfini, Bristol; the OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, London, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Mori Museum, Tokyo, the Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi and the Dhaka Art Summit. Gupta has taken part in the New Museum Triennale, New York; the Lyon Biennale, curated by Hou Hanru; the Biennale of Gwangju, directed by Okwui Enwezor and curated by Ranjit Hoskote; the Triennale of Yokohama, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist; the Biennale of Liverpool, curated by Gerardo Mosquera; and more recently the Biennale of Sharjah, curated by Yuko Hasegawa; the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, curated by Juan Gaitán with artistic team member Natasha Ginwala. From 2002-2006 Gupta co-facilitated Aar Paar, a public art exchange project between India and Pakistan, with Lahore-based artist Huma Mulji.

Rashid Rana (b. 1968) was born in Lahore, Pakistan, where he lives and works. He trained as a painter at the National College of Arts in Lahore and the Massachusetts College of Fine Arts in Boston. He is the founding faculty member and the dean of the School of Visual Arts and Design at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Recent solo exhibitions include a major mid-career retrospective of seventy works, entitled Labyrinth of Reflections at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2013), as well as survey shows at Cornerhouse, Manchester (2011) and Musée Guimet, Paris (2010). Participation in major group exhibitions includes the Dhaka Art Summit (2014), the Kiev Biennial (2012), Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Whitechapel Gallery and Saatchi Gallery, London (2010), the Asia Society, New York (2009), the fifth Asia Pacific Triennale, Queensland Gallery of Art, Brisbane and the Singapore Biennial (2006), Asian Art Biennial at the National Fine Arts Museum, Taichung, and Fukuoka Triennial (2005).



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