press release

10 Years of Experimenter, Kolkata Announcing annual program April 4, 2019–March 31, 2020

Experimenter’s ten years traverse in expanded time, in a series of intimate encounters that have animated and nourished our experiences. This shape-shifting entity of time enmeshed with innumerable colliding possibilities have allowed for Experimenter’s core to flourish—a fertile seed-bed of imagination and fearlessness. Out of this bedrock we have built our programing, and as we celebrate the decade we reflect on the deep relationships built over the years that shape us, and make us think how we behold these friendships today and how we will live with them tomorrow. We commemorate them through the year with our exhibitions, our writing, our conversations, our learning programs and most importantly—our artists.

A brief schedule of the 10th anniversary exhibitions and Experimenter Learning Program Foundation events is outlined:

April–July 2019

CAMP: A Photogenetic Line Experimenter – Hindustan Road Drawing from the photo archives of The Hindu, a 140-year old newspaper based in Chennai, a 100-foot long branching sequence of cutouts is presented. Cutouts are here a way of reframing and reincarnating existing photographs as new organisms. Not to remove their background environments, nor to frame heroic figures, but to create a new boundary or border for the image. The exhibition traverses a series of perceptual (shape), historical (time) and geographic (political) boundaries.

Julien Segard: A Second Coming Experimenter – Ballygunge Place The exhibition builds a dialogue between the visceral and the peripheral, vacuity and mass and the relationship between man, landscape, and architecture. Segard’s work explores the severe edges perpetuated by urban structures, free flowing contours of nature’s invasion into these structures and the shared intimacy that grow into each other’s spaces and claim each as its own. In recognizing characteristic paradoxes in the field of view through his work, Segard reflects upon ideas of violent ownership of nature and of encountering glaring blind spots in our vision of the landscape and builds a thread of connections through sculptures, installations, works on paper, and paintings.

August – October 2019

Naeem Mohaiemen: Dui Banglar Checkpost Experimenter – Hindustan Road Naeem Mohaiemen has looked at the broken thread between the two Bengals for long, going back to the 1990s when he wrote for the pan-Bengal journal Juktakkhor (Joint Letter). Standing on the Borders of Two Bengals, Naeem returns to the theme of the lost-found familial relationships that straddle both Bengals—today so far apart that the idea of a united Bengal feels as far away as a science fiction of egalitarian societies.

Group Exhibition: Searching for Stars Amongst the Crescents Experimenter – Ballygunge Place Looking beyond the confines of our mental and physical capacities, prejudices and abilities, Searching for Stars Amongst the Crescents seeks propositions of a future living. The exhibition invites artists to reimagine the inheritances of shared legacies, build unexpected alliances of solidarity, precipitate collective action, revaluate terms of insanity and question the intersections of science, artificiality and augmented realities.

November 2019 – January 2020

Samson Young: World Music Experimenter – Ballygunge Place Young’s second solo exhibition at the gallery presents a series of drawings, sculptures and installations using world music as a fulcrum. Multicultural paradigms, weaved into a symphony of image and sound, are at the heart of Hong Kong artist and composer Samson Young’s practice. With a formal cross-cultural training in music composition, Young channels his attunement to melody by pushing its formalist boundaries to create innovative cross-media experiences that touch upon the recurring topics of identity, war and literature.

Group Exhibition: The Small Objects of History – Accidental Connections Experimenter – Hindustan Road The exhibition holds at its kernel, history and unnoticeable moments that become agents of transformation. Navigating the slippages in the narrative of the political and the historical, the artists in this exhibition explore subtle shifts that hold the possibility of alternate readings of our today.

January – March 2020

Prabhakar Pachpute: Resilient Bodies in an Age of Resistance Experimenter – Ballygunge Place Engaging with the recent farmers’ revolutions in India, Prabhakar Pachpute has been working with farmer communities all over the country and presents a solo responsive to the moment of unimaginable inequalities in the Indian social and economic structures, especially with reference to agriculture and ethical questions on using land resources.

Sahil Naik: Monuments, Memorials, Mausoleums and Modernisms Experimenter – Hindustan Road The exhibition explores Sahil Naik’s ongoing research into violence of the Nation Building project in South Asia in the form of reforms and the establishment of a new aesthetic for modern/new nations. Using reconstructive, digital, forensic science and conservation technologies, the exhibition looks at architecture in the shadow of the non-aligned movement, excavated “ancient” histories, demolition and state propaganda; along with contemporary conditions like "development" as the aesthetic claim of right wing governments, memorials and memorialization at large and the politics of religious structures.

Experimenter Learning Program Foundation Programming The Experimenter Learning Program (ELP) is a long-term, multifaceted learning and education program that keeps visual culture at its root to build discourse. The program enables dialogue, discussion and debate in fields of contemporary and performing arts, curatorship, film, writing, language and social culture. The Experimenter Learning Program has a year-long schedule that includes the annual Experimenter Curators’ Hub, workshops, salon-style classrooms, symposia, lecture performances and the Experimenter Juniors' Program. Experimenter Learning Program is held in partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation.

January – December 2019

Mayank Mansingh Kaul: "Indian Textiles - Histories, Practices & Concerns" Kaul suggests ways through which an engagement with Indian textiles can be generated. Using a broad period of a century, beginning from the early 20th century till now, he brings up questions related to makers, making and materials, placing them within broader cultural questions of the Indian subcontinent. Referencing work and practices from the fields of design, fashion and the visual arts, he further addresses aspects related to Indian textiles, such as aesthetics, writing and vocabularies of historicizing, curatorial and exhibition making, as well as the politics of knowledge hierarchies which have prevented Indian textiles from being sufficiently seen in relation to other creative fields.

Samson Young: "There is no rush in knowing what I don't know: practice, research and knowledge" In this open forum, Samson Young will map out the thinking behind two projects, namely, Songs for Disaster Relief (2016/2017), a multi-part exhibition that explored the social and cultural conditions that gave rise to the popular music genre of charity singles, and a research that is related to the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair (work- in-progress). These projects will serve as conversation openers, as ways into a discussion that focuses on the artist's research process.

Skye Arundhati Thomas: "New Art Criticism" "New Art Criticism" is a writing workshop that seeks to embolden the critic’s subjectivity and eye for anecdotal detail. It will pay careful attention to the writing of key American "New Journalists" of the 50s-70s (Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote) and consider what art criticism can learn from their subjective, anecdotal approach. This 5-day workshop will include 3 days of discussion, reading and writing exercises; followed by a 2-day group edit of each other’s work.

Kallol Datta: "Swaddling to Shrouding"
A 3-day discussion and study group delving into past and existing clothing practices, specific to the MENA, East Asia and the Indian subcontinent regions. Kallol’s work, which has focussed on forming templates of native wear and garments ascribed to religious doctrines, will be presented during the workshop. It will be a starting point to view how certain garments are seemingly similar in forms but differ greatly when their details are brought into focus; questioning perceptions of gender, religion and economy.

Naman Ahuja: "Central Asia & Gandhara – Early Iconography, Art & Archaeology"
The 3-day module focuses on the art history of Ancient Gandhara from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Using the region’s material culture as a fulcrum, the module looks at its unique place in history that culture studies are hard pressed to excavate.

T.M. Krishna: "Manodharma lecture-performances"
A Carnatic Modern Series of events featuring TM Krishna. This is an extended Lecture-Demonstration on the subject of Creativity and Improvisation in Carnatic Classical Music. In line with Krishna’s interest in expanding the rigid boundaries that govern classical performing arts, the module asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated, and addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender within society while exploring the contours of democracy, culture and learning.

Sanchayan Ghosh: "New Directions (Site specific art activity in transit)"
A four day interdisciplinary workshop on Site Specific activity as a pedagogic engagement for individual and collective dialogues in a cross disciplinary conversation, participation and co working with theater performers, educators, activists and artists.

Experimenter Curators’ Hub: November 21, 22 & 23, 2019
Experimenter Curators’ Hub is a platform in developing and sustaining discourse on curatorial practice and exhibition-making through critical discussion and debate. Structured as a deeply intensive 3-day program, every year the hub invites some of the foremost curators of the world to present their practice with reference to recent exhibitions curated by them. The audience at Experimenter Curators' Hub plays an active role in this exchange and contributes significantly to the conversations. The final day ends with a moderated panel discussion with all the participating curators, reflecting on the key aspects that emerged over the three days.