Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nikhil Chopra’s impressive career graph

A talented contemporary artist of the new generation, Nikhil Chopra plays out for days and weeks his protagonists in front of meticulously created backdrops - for hours at a stretch - transforming himself in the process, into various guises and switching from one scene to another. The viewers drop in and out, but he carries on.

For example, he pitched a tent outside the Serpentine gallery for their grand survey exhibition, entitled ‘Indian Highway’ (2008–9), walking about as an effete fur-coated gentleman, as if an Ottoman general. Then he even inhabited a chapel, the artist used theatrical equipment – swathes of colorful cloth he draped around ladders and blue and red lighting – so as to fabricate elaborate backdrops for different tableaux.

For a show at Mumbai-based Chatterjee & Lal, he conceived of a project that wove positions associated with museum display around the residues of a performance undertaken in the environs of a Mumbai based museum in March 2010.

Born in Kolkata,in 1974, Nikhil Chopra was encouraged to take up drawing while in Class 10 when his grandfather noticed him doodling behind his notebook. He did a degree his Commerce, but his father, a banker by profession and also an amateur actor, let him choose his own path - prompting him to travel instead of doing an MBA. He studied at the faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda, before joining Maryland Institute, College of Art, to complete his BFA in 2001, and MFA in 2003 from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. He was artist in residence at New Delhi-based Khoj International Artists’ Association for the Performance Art Residency (2007).

His first major exhibition was with Chatterjee & Lal in 2007. He did not look back since then and his career zoomed after that. His work has been featured at sevreal significant shows, such as ‘Performa 09’, New York, NY; ‘The Self & the Other: Portraiture in Contemporary Indian Photography’, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona; ‘Manchester International Festival 09’; ‘Making Worlds’, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, Biennale di Venezia, Venice; ‘Indian Highway, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; ‘Indian Highway’, Serpentine Gallery, London; ‘Chalo India!, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; ‘Time Crevasse, Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama.

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