fold / unfold: Sonia Khurana

20 January - 25 February 2017

Fold/unfold gathers different vignettes across time, that place the body in an oblique relation to diffused feminist aesthetics of the counter-spectacle and performative resistance.
I have aligned the selection of artworks for ‘fold/unfold’ with my recent, extensive conversations with cultural theorist and visual analyst, Griselda Pollock. Both her recent essay on my work, and this exhibition traces the singular formulation of the melancholy of emplacement and displacement, dereliction and abjection, space and time, memory and the body: a body that sings and dances, walks and lies down….
Fold/unfold is structured into three sections: the “body event” [from Griselda Pollock] is surrounded by the Deleuzian idea of “the fold”, and with 20th century feminist, anarchist Emma Goldman’s famous misquotation “ If I can’t dance…”
These constellations are to be experienced as an ensemble, reading in-between the spaces and around relationships of the juxtaposed works: self-written text, projected images, sound narratives with intersecting vectors that evocatively draw the connect between the architecture of the corner, the passage and the intimate room.
Finally, bringing these artworks from the site where their meaning was produced to the gallery space is both, an attempt to dislodge the discourse of site specificity as a central concern, and to produce a sense of the uncanny.
The upcoming exhibition of Delhi-based artist Sonia Khurana, Fold/Unfold, explores the tensions between our impossible need for flight and the existential truths of our groundedness. While well-known internationally for over a decade, with shows and interventions all over the world, this is Khurana’s first solo in Bombay.
Khurana’s video installations, text-based, and performative works “fold” and “unfold” – as the philosopher Gilles Deleuze might have described it – into multiple permutations of form, subjectivity, and embodied experience. They fold themselves into dialogical, metaphorical “origami” inhabited by the restless spirits of profound questions of the human condition: from alienation and displacement to longing and embodiment, from desire to refusal.
In acts of mimetic doubling and redoubling, twinning and mirroring, inverting and subverting, the works speak to one another in many visual languages, across many axes of connection and divergence, about the vicissitudes of the body and the flux of our inner states.
One of India’s most path-breaking new media and performance artists, from early on in her peripatetic, itinerant practice, Khurana has deftly integrated performance, moving image, sound, and text-based works into shifting and subtle dialogues with architectural and environmental spaces. Many of the works in Fold/Unfold are being premiered in a gallery space for the first time, though some have been shown in situ : her recent solo exhibition “Oneiric House: round about midnight” was installed in an ex-residential house while a part of the living-in-the-round project was shown in a shipping container…
The works flow through the space along shifting axes of spatial orientation, moving between the horizontal and vertical axis, as well as the liminal spaces in between.

Maya Kovskaya

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