press release

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is pleased to present The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India, an exhibition of sculpture, photography and video by artists of India, living inside the country and in the diaspora.

The works in this exhibition operate at the intersection of a triad of concepts—embodiment, the politics of communicative bodies, and the imaginary. It is through embodiment of the empirical functions of our senses that we are able to understand culture. Since our bodily senses focus our perceptions, they become the basis for communicating our unique experiences, which are shaped, in part, by how political structures intersect with our lives. This in turn affects the social notion of "the imaginary," a term which relates to "the other." The imaginary is linked to desire and subjectivity, which is central to personal and collective agency as it directs us towards what is critical and new in global cultural processes.

The three core concepts take root in the various works on view, with each medium providing a distinct avenue into understanding the moments of intersection between these ideas. The works speak to us through the artists' nuanced handling of materials, as inquiries into contemporary questions about shifting identities, politics, social consciousness, and narratives of surrender and power. Ranging from the heroic to the ephemeral, the sculpture displays inventive imagery appropriated from a variety of past histories, as well as objects of ritual. The photography is centered on the desires and agendas of artists, in convergence with the social dynamics of South Asia. The videos construct multi-referential narratives that examine contemporary conditions such as displacement and community formation, or create poetic narratives on lost artistic legacies, often against the backdrop of colonialism and other forms of occupation.

The nineteen artists represented in this exhibition are giving form to feelings and tensions—through observation, making, and interpretation—to the shifts emanating from India as both place and idea. Their role as cultural truth seekers is especially apt at a moment when India is emerging as a more central player on the world stage. For many of these artists, globalization is a contradictory process that necessitates a nuanced view of political power, conventional identities and legacies of visual arts and culture.

Participating artists are Ayisha Abraham, Rina Banerjee, CAMP, Nikhil Chopra, Anita Dube, Gauri Gill, Shilpa Gupta, Sunil Gupta, Siddhartha Kararwal, Dhruv Malhotra, The Otolith Group, Shreshta Rit Premnath, Pushpamala N., Raqs Media Collective, Tejal Shah, Sudarshan Shetty, Bharat Sikka, Anup Mathew Thomas, and Thukral & Tagra.

The Matter Within is organized by YBCA and curated by director of visual arts Betti-Sue Hertz. It will be on view simultaneously with the Asian Art Museum's Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courtsexhibition, touring from London's Victoria and Albert Museum, on view from October 21, 2011 through April 8, 2012.

The Matter Within
New Contemporary Art of India
Kuratorin: Betti-Sue Hertz

Künstler: Ayisha Abraham, Rina Banerjee,  CAMP , Nikhil Chopra, Anita Dube, Gauri Gill, Shilpa Gupta, Sunil Gupta, Siddhartha Kararwal, Dhruv Malhotra, The Otolith Group , Sreshta Premnath, Pushpamala N. , Raqs Media Collective , Tejal Shah, Sudarshan Shetty, Bharat Sikka, Anup Mathew Thomas, Thukral & Tagra