Medha Kapur shares a note on Jitish Kallat’s first solo exhibition in an Australian museum.
Melbourne, October 2012 to April 2013: Renowned contemporary artist Jitish Kallat reconfigures his remarkable installation, Circa, first produced for the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Circa was created as a response to the museum’s history and archives – a playful exhibit that appropriated the buildings architecture and intervened in the display cases.
Circa is Kallat’s first solo exhibition in an Australian museum, the Ian Potter Museum of Art. This exhibition is conceived as an evolving narrative; an experiment of multiple interventions across several spaces within the institution. Here the artist reshapes the work against the structure of the museum and the antiquities in its collection.
Over the course of the six month exhibition, which is on view from October 2012 to April 2013, some works will appear for a few days, while others will remain on display until the end of the exhibition. Still others await conception when the departure of interventions makes space for them as part of an evolving entry and exit of ideas.
Kallat has skillfully constructed a sculptural conversation within the museum in order to explore notions of duration and restoration, and evoke unexplained narratives. Kallat’s interventions include a 120-part sculpture titled Circa, which evokes bamboo scaffolding; two interventions using mirrors, titled Footnote (mirror 1) and Footnote (mirror 2); drawings on the glass of museum vitrines; a video projection on the building’s facade; and sound and inscriptions of found text on the walls of the gallery. Kallat’s interventions in the Classics and Archaeology Gallery are installed in relation to a display of ancient Indian carved stone sculptures and colonial-era maps from the University of Melbourne as well as private collections.
On 11 September 2010, Kallat presented a landmark solo exhibition, Public Notice 3, at the Art Institute of Chicago. His site-specific work brought together two events: the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the First World Parliament of Religions which took place on 11 September 1893 in what is now the Art Institute of Chicago building. The basis of Public notice 3 was an inaugural speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament calling for an end to fanaticism and a respectful recognition of all traditions of belief through universal tolerance. In 2011, Kallat presented Fieldnotes: tomorrow was here yesterday, an important project that explored the history and architecture of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, one of the oldest museums in India.