Thursday, September 27, 2012

‘Evidence’ by Amar Kanwar

Amar Kanwar’s videos examine social and economic inequalities as he moves through conflict zones, documenting arenas of power, violence, and the abuse of nature. To this he contrasts the courage of the individual, the strength of groups, and the energy of poetry. A new show of his works takes place at Fotomuseum Winterthur located in Zurich (Curator: Urs Stahel).

Every main theme is entangled in side themes, augmented by simple yet significant side stages, dissected, and repeatedly questioned. His intense films reveal his search for profound certainties of life, of society, of experience—persisting “evidence” which is encountered and felt. In his films, he addresses social, political and societal issues surrounding the Indian subcontinent, the conflict between India and Pakistan, the abuse and rape of women, and the struggle for democracy.

Two pivotal events in 1984 impacted Amar Kanwar’s early years as a student. One was the orchestrated killings of Sikhs in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31 October 1984. The other was the Bhopal disaster on 3 December of the same year, when toxic gas escaped from a pesticide plant owned by the American company Union Carbide, killing several thousand people and injuring hundreds of thousands more.

In 2012, he participated in Documenta for the third consecutive year. The exhibition at Fotomuseum Winterthur presents his major video works, installed throughout seven rooms. Solo shows of his works have been held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008), the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2008), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2007), the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2006), and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2003).

He has participated in the Bienal de São Paulo (2011) and in documenta11 and 12 (2002, 2007). A book accompanying the exhibition will be published by Steidl Verlag. As part of his new solo, public guided tour through the exhibition will take place with Petra Köhle and Teresa Gruber in the first week of next month.

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