When violence becomes decadent

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart on a new eye-opening exhibition in Berlin

When violence becomes decadent

Berlin: On view at the Freis-Museum in Berlin until 29 July, 2012, is the exhibition ‘When Violence Becomes Decadent’. The theme of the exhibition is drawn from curator Shaheen Merali’s personal analysis and reflections on the current sociopolitical situation in India, and the works on display raise questions about blindly accepting or taking for granted paradoxical situations in a country where millions of starving people coexist with elite groups of so-called ‘high-net-worth individuals’. The title of the exhibition reflects these concerns, and the violence implicit in such situations.

The exhibition, also inspired by the socially-engaged work of Rabindranath Tagore, includes pieces in various media that examine themes like corruption, minority rights, and violence in India.

In his two video works on display, Jitish Kallat explores problems related to identity and poverty. Binu Bhaskar’s drawings interrogate the idea of cheap and globalized labour and the phenomenon of mass urbanization. In her series of paintings and small sculptures, Rajkamal Kahlon examines the theme of colonialism, a theme that is also taken up by Sarnath Banerjee, who tackles it using his usual witty approach. Natasha de Betak’s movie ‘Speaking Tree’ explores cultural life and the economic situation in rural India, while Probir Gupta and Rajib Chowdhury depict Indian popular culture in terms of its people’s expectations and needs.

This exhibition offers viewers a window on the current political and social situation in India, interpreted in different ways by various artists. Perhaps these works will raise awareness about present problems in rural India to a wider, more international audience, and will help people better understand those issues in a visual and direct way. As the poet Hafez said: ‘What we speak becomes the house we live in’.

For more information about this exhibition, check out participating art Leena Kejriwal’s blog.


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