Nature Morte Berlin is pleased to present Treacherous Path, an exhibition featuring a site-specific project by Julia Staszak, and installations by Raqs Media Collective and Radhika Khimji.
Taking its name from Julia Staszak's work, the exhibition focuses on different artistic methods of collage, layering and appropriation.
The centerpoint of Julia Staszak's installation is a structure derived from the facades of Hindu temples in South India, which incorporates works by a diversity of artists such as: Anke Becker, Astrid Busch, Anne Gathmann, Alexis Kersey, Isabelle Krieg, Stephen Mueller, Eva Räder, Raqs Media Collective, Sameer Reddy, Alexandra Schumacher, Rini Tandon and Edward Weldon. Blurring the lines between conceptual art, painting, decor, collage and curating, trained painter Julia Staszak often integrates her own paintings, other artists' work and found objects into original and unfamiliar configurations. Her mischievous appropriations destabilize hierarchies in the art world and beyond; in this particular context, where a German artist has been commissioned for a project by an Indian art gallery, Staszak's penchant for toying with political correctness becomes particularly poignant because it complicates the cultural expectations involved in such an invitation.
Two recent works, which tread a similar path, will also be presented. The Raqs Media Collective, based in New Delhi, are Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabratta Sengupta. In the past few years they have become increasingly visible on Europe's cultural platforms, participating in museum and gallery exhibitions as well as academic forums and symposiums. In 2008, they co-curated the 7th Manifesta Exhibition, held in Bolzano, and curated the film and video component of the exhibition Indian Highway, held at London's Serpentine Gallery. From May 25th until July 4th, 2010, their video "The Capital of Accumulation" will be shown at Berlin's Hebbel Am Ufer theater as a part of the tri-city exhibition, "The Promised City".
Their sculptural work, "The Reserve Army", appropriates the Modernist sculptures made by the Indian sculptor Ram Kinker Baij to stand in front of the Reserve Bank of India's headquarters in New Delhi. Baij appropriated Yaksha and Yakshi, two mythological Indian figures, to grant legitimacy to the newly independent nation, while Raqs' re-presentation of these figures speaks of India's convoluted entry into the world of advanced, multi-national capital. With the addition of accessories for the figures, a digitized, futuristic backdrop and dramatic lighting, Raqs employs a theatrical mise-en-scene to manipulate meaning, similar to the program of Julia Staszak.
Radhika Khimji was born into an Indian family living in Oman and currently lives in London. Her practice synthesizes painting, collage, and sculpture into installations that reflect upon the presentation and display of art works, while also referencing the hybridized identity of the artist. Hovering between many media, Khimji's works create an unstable constellation of reactions between gesture, drawing, negative space, and architecture. Created for the exhibition "Progress Reports: art in an era of diversity" at INIVA in London in 2009, "Corner" articulates the subtle shifts between an object and its support, the frame and its boundaries, an abstract motif and the representational meanings we project on to it.