artist / participant
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is pleased to announce 'Postulates of Contiguity', the first solo exhibition in Europe by the Bangalore-based artist Sheela Gowda. Curated by OCA's director Marta Kuzma, the project takes the form of a dialogue between two works – And… (2007), a languorous rope produced from individual threads and needles that coils throughout the exhibition space, and Best Cutting (2008), a display that combines a constructed newspaper, The Chronic Chronicle, overlaid by the drafting lines of a tailor. Both works share the basic form of a material line to formulate postulates on space that undermine continuity and coherence, destabilising logical connections and inferred certainties.
The grouping of both works reveals a tension between abstraction and a potential conceptual or narrative element. The montage-based Best Cutting, seemingly archival, is set against And…, which as an object of alienation also makes explicit the pedagogical aim that is central to Gowda's practice. The integration in her work of tactile and textural elements – threads, hair, traditional kumkum dyes, patterns, weaving techniques, all brought together in meticulous detail – suggests a relation to craft and textile making, but the work transposes these elements onto objects and practices within India's socio-political context and history. Because of this, Gowda's work offers access to some of India's less familiar aspects and events, such as the political and social intricacies of the State of Uttar Pradesh in the northern region of the country; the polemics around the Bharatiya Janata Party; the ironies made apparent by the Best Bakery Case and Zahira Sheikh; the political phenomenon of the Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi; or the reflective issues inherent to land policies towards the rural poor.
About the Artist Sheela Gowda (b. 1957, Bhadravati, India, lives and works in Bangalore, India). She studied in Santiniketan, a crucible of Modernism in India, as well as at the Royal College of Arts in London. Her exposure to different traditions has resulted in a practice that articulates in complex ways the relationship between diverse art historical genealogies. In her own words, Gowda seeks a 'specificity within abstraction' that avoids strident statements and instead reveals meaning through suggestion. Gowda's work has been included in documenta 12, Kassel, 2007; 'Fare Mondi//Making Worlds…', the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; 'Indian Highway' at The Serpentine Gallery, London, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway and Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark, 2008–10; the 2009 Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates; 'Textiles: Art and Social Fabric', 2009 and 'Santhal Family: Positions Around an Indian Sculpture', MuHKA, Antwerp, 2008; and 'HORN PLEASE: Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art', Museum of Fine Arts Bern, Switzerland, 2007–08 among others. Gowda was recently featured in issue 22 (autumn/winter 2009) of Afterall journal.
About O3–funds 'Sheela Gowda: Postulates of Continguity' has been supported by O3–funds as underwritten by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for enhancing collaboration in the contemporary art field with professional artists in countries designated by the MFA. The purpose of the O3–funds as allocated to OCA is to further develop cooperation and professional networking between OCA and the constituency of artists, independent cultural producers, and organisations that are located in designated countries.
Postulates of Contiguity