Nov 9, 2013 - Apr 27, 2014

Black Sun: Alchemy Diaspora and Heterotopia  

Devi Art Foundation

Curated by Shezad Dawood & Tom Trevor, featuring Ayisha Abraham, Ashish Avikunthak, Matti Braun, James Lee, Byars, Maya Deren, Zarina Hashmi, Runa Islam, Nasreen Mohamedi, Lisa Oppenheim, The Otolith Group, Tejal Shah and Alexandre Singh 

Black Sun: Alchemy, Diaspora and Heterotopia
The iconography of the black sun, like other similar symbols that have both an outer and inner meaning, occurs in various cultures and contexts - and likewise has evolved, altered and been distorted over time. In this its very nature is diasporic, which lends weight to the idea that like symbols, each of us, wherever we find ourselves, are similarly displaced and fluid. Its origins are in our primal relationships to day and night, and the sun and the moon, and so a partial or fully occluded circle is a common symbolic starting point.The relationship of the Black Sun to alchemy and transformation, in various cults and schools has been well documented in the writings of Carl Jung, and equally in the art historical writings of Ajit Mookerjee. Julia Kristeva’s key work:  Black Sun - Mourning and Melancholia, provides a more personal reading of the dark night of the soul of the individual journey that accompanies the eclipse, as a literal or symbolic counter-part. But all three writers acknowledge the transformative potential of this inner journey that mirrors the figurative eclipse. 
Black Sun: Alchemy, Diaspora and Heterotopia
The exhibition looks at a group of artists, beginning with James Lee Byars in the 1960s, and Nasreen Mohamedi and Zarina Hashmi in the 1970s, who use or encounter the iconography of the Black Sun, or engage with a spirit of alchemy and hermetic meaning that seems to parallel the inner journey, and its consequent relationship to the larger context of the 20th Century and on into the present. As there is no one path, and each artist presents their own universe, what we have is a series of interlinking and discursive possibilities, that point to what the French philosopher Michel Foucault termed: heterotopia, many possibilities co-existing and each presenting their own. This can be witnessed in the use of political narrative and archive material in the work of The Otolith Group and Ayisha Abraham, or equally in the functioning of the moon as the literal alchemical agent in Lisa Oppenheim’s: Heliograms, or as symbol of the divine androgyne in Tejal Shah’s Unfurling series. The gradual ‘eclipse’ of the ideals of the Enlightenment in society has brought with it a sense of uncertainty about the future and a loss of belief in continual progress. In parallel, the concerns of artists have increasingly turned towards the unknown, speculating upon the unpredictable future that lies ahead, and taking refuge in a subjective world of poetic transformation.  
Through the Dark Mine, Ayesha Abraham
Notebook drawings for Through the Dark Mine, 2013. 

Notebook drawings for Through the Dark Mine, Ayesha Abraham, 2013.

Installation view, Ayesha Abraham, Through the Dark Mine, 2013.

The Double (From The Family Album Series), Samira Alikhanzadeh
Acrylic and mirror fragments on printed board, 47 X 58.75 inches, 2010.

The Double (From The Family Album Series), Samira Alikhanzadeh, Acrylic and mirror fragments on printed board, 47 X 58.75 inches, 2010.

The Double (From The Family Album Series), Samira Alikhanzadeh, Acrylic and mirror fragments on printed board, 47 X 58.75 inches, 2010.

Untitled Nos 3, 5 -14, Nasreen Mohamedi
Ink and pencil on paper, 14 x 11 inches (each), 1975.

Untitled Nos 3, 5 -14, Nasreen Mohamedi, Ink and pencil on paper, 14 x 11 inches (each), 1975.

Mapping Dislocation, Zarina Hashmi
Welded steel rod, 130 x 45.2 inches, 2003.

Mapping Dislocation, Zarina Hashmi, Welded steel rod, 130 x 45.2 inches, 2003.

Mapping Dislocation, Zarina Hashmi, Welded steel rod, 130 x 45.2 inches, 2003.

City I - IX, Zarina Hashmi
Print on paper, 7.5 x 5.5 inches, 2003.

City I - IX, Zarina Hashmi, Print on paper, 7.5 x 5.5 inches, 2003.

Unfurling - V, Tejal Shah
Black and white silver gelatin print on fiber based paper 20 x 20 inches (each), Photograph, 2000.

Unfurling I-V, Tejal Shah, Black and white silver gelatin print on fiber based paper 20 x 20 inches (each), Photograph, 2000.

Unfurling I-V, Tejal Shah, Black and white silver gelatin print on fiber based paper, 20 x 20 inches (each), Photograph, 2000.

Unfurling I-V, Tejal Shah, Black and white silver gelatin print on fiber based paper 20 x 20 inches (each), Photograph, 2000.

R.T./S.R./V.S, Matti Braun 
Installation with wood, foil, water, dimensions variable, 2013.

R.T./ S.R./ V.S, Matti Braun, Installation with wood, foil, water, dimensions variable, 2013.

R.T./ S.R./ V.S, Matti Braun, Installation with wood, foil, water, dimensions variable, 2013.

Kalighat Fetish, Ashish Avikunthak
Video still, 22',1999.

Kalighat Fetish, Ashish Avikunthak,Video still, 22',1999.

Heliograms, Lisa Oppenheim
Toned photographs, exposed with sunlight, framed with museum glass,12.2 x 12.9 inches, 2011.

Heliograms, Lisa Oppenheim,Toned photographs, exposed with sunlight, framed with museum glass,12.2 x 12.9 inches, 2011.

Heliograms, Lisa Oppenheim,Toned photographs, exposed with sunlight, framed with museum glass,12.2 x 12.9 inches, 2011.

Ritual in Transfigured Time, Maya Deren
Video still, 14' 28", 1946.

Ritual in Transfigured Time, Maya Deren, Video still, 14' 28", 1946.

Ritual in Transfigured Time, Maya Deren, Video still, 14' 28", 1946.

Assembly Instructions (IKEA), Alexandre Singh
37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines, Dimensions variable, 2013.

Assembly Instructions (IKEA), Alexandre Singh, 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines, Dimensions variable, 2013.

Assembly Instructions (IKEA), Alexandre Singh, 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines, Dimensions variable, 2013.

Assembly Instructions (IKEA), Alexandre Singh, 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines, Dimensions variable, 2013.

Curated by Shehzad Dawood
Credits: Story

Black Sun: Alchemy, Diaspora and Heterotopia at the Devi Art Foundation is curated by Shezad Dawood & Tom Trevor.

Image copyrights of the artists

Exhibit drafted by: Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi, Kriti Sood, Devi Art Foundation.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile