Apr 23, 2011 - Oct 9, 2011

Fieldnotes: Tomorrow Was Here Yesterday

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

This exhibition by artist Jitish Kallat found profound resonance within the space of the Museum.  The show was a part of the Museum's exhibition series curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, titled 'Engaging Traditions' which invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives.

Anger at the Speed of Fright
‘Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday’ featured works by Jitish Kallat where the artist appropriated the Museum’s architecture and intervened within the display cases creating new readings of the collection and the Museum's history. The idyll of the Museum, which represents the aspirations of the city's founding fathers, stood in sharp contrast to the battle for life that is played out on the city's streets and forms the underlying theme of Kallat's works. 

These miniature models created by the artist were juxtaposed with the showcases displaying the Museum's clay model collection representing the communities of Mumbai.

Wielding bats, bottles, stones and engaged in acts of violence and protest, the scaled-down figures in 'Anger at the Speed of Fright' seem to be caught in an absurd rage.

Forming a significant part of the exhibition is a 120 part sculpture, painstaking created to appear like real bamboo scaffolding, at once revisiting the recent history of revival of the museum and evoking the transitory image of Mumbai as we see it today, caught in a state of perennial (re)development. Inscribed within this form is a script of survival and sustenance, through evocations of the mythic sculptural relief of animals devouring each other that were appropriated from the porch of the Victoria Terminus building where two million people enter and exit every day.
Forming a significant part of the exhibition is a 120 part sculpture, painstaking created to appear like real bamboo scaffolding, at once revisiting the recent history of revival of the museum and evoking the transitory image of Mumbai as we see it today, caught in a state of perennial (re)development. Inscribed within this form is a script of survival and sustenance, through evocations of the mythic sculptural relief of animals devouring each other that were appropriated from the porch of the Victoria Terminus building where two million people enter and exit every day.

During the exhibition, many visitors mistook the installation for actual renovations at the Museum.

Inscribed within this form is a script of survival and sustenance: the mythic sculptural reliefs of animals devouring each other were appropriated from the Victoria Terminus building in Mumbai.

Annexation
The sculpture titled 'Annexation' is an oversized black lead kerosene stove carrying more than a hundred images on its intricately carved surface. Referenced from the porch of the neo-Gothic Victoria Terminus building (the nerve center of Mumbai’s commuter action), this curious decorative frieze features animals devouring each other and clinging to various foods, united in their need to survive.

Referenced from the porch of the neo-Gothic Victoria Terminus building (the city's main railway station and nerve centre of Mumbai’s commuter action), this curious decorative frieze features animals devouring each other and clinging to various foods, united in their need to survive.

This work was contextualized by placing it between the black pottery cases of Museum's permanent collection

Lipid Opus and Cry of the Gland, installation view

The photographic installation, 'The Cry of the Gland', continues the examination of the urban detail- the piece was made by randomly approaching passerbys in the street and photographing the pockets of their shirts, often bulging or sagging under the weight of daily necessities like pens, cell phones, keys, wallets that hang like extensions of the body.

In this work the artist Jitish Kallat used a glass marker to draw on the Museum's showcase of colonial army regiments. The drawing resembled shattered glass caused by a gun shot, and referenced the Uprising of 1857 triggered by a military revolt within the British Indian Army.           The work further referenced an episode in the Museum's early history; in 1857 its first collections, displayed in city's Town Barracks at the time, were damaged in the rush to vacate the space, which was required for the military effort.       

On the relief map of Mumbai from the Museum's collection, a buffering sign was projected by the artist

A thirty foot scaffolding was erected to install this work on the Museum's tympanum.

Artist Making Local Call
The panoramic photographic work titled ‘Artist Making Local Call’ was seen in juxtaposition with black-and white century old panoramas of the Origins of Mumbai Gallery. Employing the 360 degrees panoramic format, one is able to hold multiple timeframes within a single still image. For instance, within the red brackets, a moving taxi occupies the same spot where a rickshaw stood moments ago mimicking a mishap. The two men seen on either side of this crash are the same; they have marched across in the moments that passed.
Chlorophyll Park (Mutatis Mutandis)
The photographic works 'Chlorophyll Park (Mutatis Mutandis)' are further explorations into the ‘urban uncanny’, the asphalt streets appearing to have been overrun by an artificial mutant grass that the artist grew in his studio. These digitally composite photographs evoke a time when urban expansion is halted, and nature exacts its claim on the concrete jungle.

The large immersive video titled 'Forensic Trail of the grand banquet' is a journey through an endless cosmic field where all the planetary clusters and stellar formations are made of X-rays of food.

Jitish Kallat
Credits: Story

All artworks courtesy Jitish Kallat from the exhibition, ‘Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday' at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (April 23, 2011 - October 9, 2011)

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.
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