Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An artist who unravels power structures dictating today’s society

Vandana Jain is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. After studying art at New York University, and Textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she was invited by prestigious venues such as Momenta, NY; The Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN; Koffler Center; Toronto; Grey Noise Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan; and With Space, Beijing, China.

Among the awards she has won are the Emerging Artist’s Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park in 2007, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency in 2008-9, and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2010. In her first ever monographic exhibit in India, she undertakes nothing less than a critique of global capitalism. Located in New York, the headquarters of world commerce, she draws on her immediate environment of multinationals that consume and thrive in an environment of excess and self indulgence.

Taking for granted the new empire of capitalism, she questions the legitimacy of laissez-faire as an inherently self-correcting and perpetuating mechanism, one that allows monopolies and 1st world nations to thrive and control the market dynamics. The corporate logo recurs often in her work. In ‘Logo Alphabet’ (2003-11), a series of 26 hand-embroidered panels, she depicts a logo for each letter in the English alphabet. By this undertaking she asserts the global semiotic language as a defining force, one that through its form dictates the content of what can be said and how.

By using traditional or labor-intensive image making methods, she offsets the ubiquitous mass-production, thereby creating a counter-narrative that comments on the exploitation of labor. Her series of small cross-stitch embroideries represent various international political and economic groupings, such as the G20. She is interested in examining how these abstracted national symbols come together to visualize larger political and economic bodies, which dominate the international platform.

Her digital work ‘Invisible Hand’, an anagram of corporate logos, acts as a hieroglyphic wherein the de-codification of the logos themselves reveals the reality of their intent. Through these explorations, the artist seeks to unravel the power structures that dictate our present society, and therefore present an opportunity for change and intervention value of work.

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