Cinema Verite Redux
The selection for the title of the exhibition, Cinema Verite Redux, proposes a familiarity of intent with a type of cinema and documentary style which has evolved and is recognised as cinema verite.
The dependence on chance, of probable encounters, can be seen as one of the factors that unites these artists' works with cinema verite. Chance played a formative part of the Dadist movement, but these works vary in the way chance is used to consolidate a longing to record from fragments of concerns. Part of the sustaining aegis in many of the works of the seven artists is found in their use of diverse research, including the use of unusual materials that allows a deepening of information and pushes their works towards an incessant completion of their project.
A second, and more commonly recognised condition of cinema verite is found in its desire to avail itself of excessive technical equipment, which could interfere or create a distance with its subject. The result is a yearning to explore a ‘natural’, unmediated retention of reality. It is with these intentions in mind that the curatorial strategy was to select a series of works, which speaks about the process and method of its evaluation, an unfolding and a desire to arrest mediation about our world and its place in our concerns. Cinema Verite Redux allows a bringing back of some of these technical and evaluatory strategies as inventive tropes to gain a proximity to the world.
In search of a commitment to the "inspired gaze", these seven artists have produced their works as notations of salvation, a clear ground for recovering informed ideas and a commitment within the aesthetic and political intimacy of their belief. Cinema Verite Redux allows a different artistic method and, therefore, arguably a different result for art in its inscription and embedment into its visual surfaces.
Shaheen Merali is both a curator and writer, currently based in London and Berlin, where, from 2003-8, he was the Head of Exhibitions, Film and New Media at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, curating several exhibitions including The Black Atlantic; Dreams and Trauma- Moving images and the Promised Lands; and Re-Imagining Asia, One Thousand years of Separation. In 2006, he was the co-curator of the 6th Gwangju Biennale, Korea.
Selected exhibitions in 2009 include The Dark Science of Five Continents, (BMB Gallery, Mumbai) and The Promise of Loss (kunsthalle brot, Vienna and Arario Gallery, New York). In February 2009, he curated Indian Popular culture (and beyond): The Untold (the rise of) Schisms, at Alcala 31 in Madrid, accompanied by a publication that traces the rise of the political right within popular Indian culture and its neighbouring regions.
Merali has edited several publications, including Far Near Distance, Contemporary Positions for Iranian Artists (2004); Spaces and Shadows, Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia and About Beauty (2005): New York- States of Mind and Re-Imagining Asia (Saqi Books 2007) and the seminal Everywhere is War (and rumours of war) for BodhiMumbai, India. (2008).
His essays on individual artists include Ahmed Alsoudani, Ramesch Daha, Shilpa Gupta, Reena Kallat, Jitish Kallat, Leena Kejriwal, Riyas Komu, Madforreal, Lisl Ponger, Prasad Raghavan, Sara Rahbar, Sumedh Rajendran, Peter Riedlinger, NN Rimzon, TV Santhosh and Ulrich Volz.