Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ravi Agarwal at ‘Newtopia’

Thematic and thought provoking ‘Newtopia’ examines a rich variety of artistic responses in relation to the basic tenets of human rights and provides insight into the complexity and breadth of the subject and how it is bound to a myriad of social, political, economic, cultural, personal and collective issues.

The exhibition, which features four thematic chapters and solo projects is curated by Katerina Gregos. Among the Indian representation Ravi Agarwal is an artist, environmental activist, writer and curator, working with photography, video and installation. His work probes questions of nature, work, and environmental sustainability.

His earlier work, in the documentary format, encompasses nature, labor and the streets, while more recent work has been traversing questions of the self and ecological sustainability based on explorations of personal ecology. He now mostly works with photography, video and installation to often explore the conditions under which people live and work in the "informal" sector of the Indian economy, exposing the consequences, many of them unseen, for the natural environment.

The artist highlights the fact that our shortsighted misuse of the planet and its resources stems from the way we separate our ‘selves’ from nature. Agarwal is also the founder of Toxics Link, a platform for national information exchange on dealing with environmental toxins and finding sustainable alternatives to their use.

Among his major solo exhibitions are ‘Of Value and Labour’, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai (2011); ‘Flux: dystopia, utopia, heterotopia’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi (2010/1); ‘An Other Place’, Gallery Espace, Delhi (2008).

His recent group exhibitions include ‘Critical Mass. Contemporary Art from India’, Tel Aviv Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2012); ‘The Eye is a Lonely Hunter: Images of Human Kind’, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, and Grimmuseum, Berlin (2011/2); ‘Where Three Dreams Cross’, Whitechapel Gallery, London and Winterthur Fotomuseum (2010); ‘Indian Highway’, Serpentine Gallery, London, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Herning Museum, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, MAXXI, Rome, and Ullens, Beijing (2008-12); ‘Still/Moving Image’, Devi Art Foundation (2008); Documenta XI, Kassel (2002).

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