Online Magazine
 
Features
‘The Silhouette Returns’ by Chitra Ganesh
As part of its long standing tradition of commissioning ambitious wall based, site-specific projects, P.S.1 has just unveiled a new large-scale wall installation by Chitra Ganesh. The work is for the second installment of the series ‘On-site’.

‘On-site 2: Chitra Ganesh’ is jointly conceptualized by Klaus Biesenbach, its Chief Curatorial Advisor and MoMA Chief Curator of Media & Performance Art; Manager of Curatorial Affairs, Christopher Y. Lew, and curatorial Assistants Kate McNamara and Tim Goossens. Elaborating on the piece, an accompanying note mentions: “For among her brightest wall pieces to date, she draws inspiration from the aesthetics of glam rock ad well as the kitsch of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as seen in the dramatic use of glitter and the vivid orange and yellow hues.

“The piece is inspired by the character in Alan Moore’s 1980s graphic novel ‘Watchmen’, The Silhouette. The original superhero in the famous comic book series gets discriminated against and murdered for coming out as a lesbian. The work denotes links between myth, ritual, and high and low culture apart from connections between continents and countries. She like in her past installations looks to excavate and circulate buried narratives typically excluded from the official canon.”

The artist is renowned for her wall installations, photographs, animations, paintings and drawings that employ an expansive visual vocabulary ranging from iconic feminist imagery to Bollywood, graphic novels, and comics. Her work is a mix of separate productive moves that work in a perfect harmony. Even while firmly rooted in a Western, postmodern discourse, her cultural references allow her to convey the proven principle of a multiplicity as a spirit that draws together.

In her comic book-like sequences of digital prints, she adds snippets of text, blending with the post-modern in a unique aesthetic. Born in 1975 in Brooklyn, NY, Chitra Ganesh has enhanced her reputation internationally for her unique approach to storytelling and regular references to Hindu mythology that can well be traced to her Indian roots. The artist received degree in Art-semiotics and Comparative Literature from Brown University, and later did her MFA Visual Arts from Columbia University. She has been associated with Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as School Programs Lecturer & Liberty Partnership Instructor.

Her work has been widely exhibited at prestigious venues including the Asia Society, the Brooklyn Museum, Momenta Art, Bronx Museum of Art, Apex Art in NY and the Queens Museum of Art. A host of international venues that have featured her work consist of the Gawngju Art Museum, Korea; Montehermoso Center, Spain; Nature Morte, New Dehli; ZKM, Germany; the Royal College of Art, London; and Fondazione Sandretto, Italy.

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center located at Long Island City, NY is considered among the largest and the oldest non-profit contemporary art institutions in the US. An exhibit space rather than a collecting institution, it strives to display experimental art. Acting as a catalyst for new ideas, trends, and discourses in contemporary art, it supports emerging artists, adventurous new work and new genres by recognized artists as well. P.S.1 achieves this by presenting its diverse program in a unique ambience in which a broad audience is able to discover and explore the contemporary artists’ innovative works.

Her work at P.S.1 lobby features elements in India and Sumi inks, washes of color, cut paper and found objects such as plastic fruits, fake hair, and sequins,. The artist elaborates: “I've always been amazed by how dreams and their repressions tend to shape personal and social crises. My photography, sculptural and installation work is largely inspired by mythological narratives, erased moments in South Asian history, lyric poetry, present day imperialism and queer politics.

“Taking these tales and integrating them with my own mythic imagery, the hybrid world of sculpture and drawing articulate both psychic transformation and historical conflict. Much of my visual vocabulary engages an old Indian idiom, which describes women who transgress social norms - the term junglee.”

Chitra Ganesh’s new wall creation will be on view until April 2010. It stays true to reputation as a versatile and innovative artist with a thought-provoking social agenda.