A Terrible Beauty: Meera Devidayal

28 April - 9 July 2014

Chemould Prescott Road is pleased to present a suite of Videos, Photographs and Paintings by Meera Devidayal in her forthcoming solo A Terrible Beauty. With these works Devidayal looks at the life and after life of the mills in the city, drawing references from art and architecture apart from the apparent reasons of the demise of these houses of economy.


In the note below Gyan Prakash has drawn a parallel to this body of work with Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Arcade’s project.

Walter Benjamin’s famous work, the Arcades Project, his unfinished study and critique of 19th-century capitalism, is all about ruins. He created the project on the 19th century Parisian Arcades from fragments and quotes collected from disparate sources. The very arrangement of the book mimics the arcades themselves, the abandoned Parisian proto-malls that once sold commodities. Benjamin writes that his project was designed to “assemble large-scale constructions out of the smallest and most precisely cut components, to discover in the analysis of the small individual moment the crystal of the total event.”  What the Arcades project does is to rearrange the fragments to read into them what he called the dream images of the past, the myths that history once projected.


Describing his mode of representing history, Benjamin writes: “Method of this project: literary montage. I needn’t say anything. Merely show. I shall purloin no valuables, appropriate no ingenious formulations. But the rags and the refuse—these I will not inventory but allow, in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them.”

-Gyan Prakash                                                                                                       
Princeton, 2014

Installation Views