press release

N.S. Harsha. ᖷacing
An Artes Mundi and Glynn Vivian partnership exhibition
07.07.2018 - 09.09.2018

Artes Mundi and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery are pleased to announce N.S. Harsha’s largest solo UK exhibition to date. ᖷacing will take place in several spaces across the Glynn Vivian in Swansea, Wales. The exhibition is part of #IndiaWales, a major season of artistic collaboration between the two countries to mark the UK-India Year of Culture and is generously supported by the British Council and Wales Arts International.

This major partnership exhibition includes three core works—a new installation ᖷ​acing (2018), the UK premiere of Reclaiming the inner space (2017), and the seminal earlier work Sky Gazers (2010). In addition to these works the exhibition will also include several other wall and floor based paintings, recent sculptures and the recreation of Future (2007), a collaborative workshop with local children and young people where they are invited to imagine their future by decorating over-sized shirts that they will then theoretically grow into. The shirts will then be on display as part of the exhibition.

InᖷACING (2018), the artist has created a large scale installation in the Gallery’s original entrance hall, the Atrium, populated by his signature Tamasha monkey sculptures and exquisitely rendered paintings and photographs. During his site visit to Swansea, Harsha was struck by the number of once busy shops, empty but for the generic shop fittings and shelving, a common sight on high streets across the UK. Reclaiming the Inner Space (2017), premiered at this year’s Sydney Biennial, depicts a migrating herd of hand-carved wooden elephants roaming a plain made from recycled household cardboard items, and in Sky Gazers (2010), the floor is covered in a sea of human faces gazing fixedly towards the sky. When the viewer looks up in the same direction, they join the star gazing crowd and are invited to contemplate their place in the cosmos.

One of the most significant Indian artists of his generation, Harsha’s diverse practice includes paintings, works on paper, wall and floor works, sculptures and site-specific installations and public projects; he is inspired by Indian and Western painting traditions. His practice is concerned with the relationship between the local and the global, drawing together details of his everyday life in India with world events. Through his multi-disciplinary works, he draws our attention to the playful and the absurd, the personal and political and considers the infinite ways in which fragile local ecosystems are intricately connected with and affected by global mass consumerism and systems of knowledge, belief and power. Exploring the way in which global phenomena can be traced to a local moment, Harsha’s installations alternate between macro- and microcosmic situations to address rapid modernisation, mass production and consumerism or consumeraj—a term conceived by the artist to refer to the British Raj’s social and institutional impact on Indian society—as well as our changing relationship to nature.

Born in 1969, N.S. Harsha lives and works in Mysore in southern India. His work has been exhibited internationally at major exhibitions and biennales such as Sydney Biennial (2018), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India, 2014); Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013); Yokohama Triennale (2011) and the Biennale de São Paulo (Brazil, 2010). Harsha was the winner of Artes Mundi 3 (2009) and this project forms one of an ongoing series of partnership projects featuring the work of Artes Mundi’s alumni with galleries and arts organisations across Wales.