Working Practices: An Audit of Constituent Voices
Thursday 14 January 2016
Free, no booking required
63 Penfold Street
London NW8 8PQ
T 020 7724 4300
Bombay Heroes, performance, Amol K. Patil & Clark House Initiative at Liberty Taken 2015
Sumesh Sharma, co-founder of Clark House Initiative, Bombay, will be visiting London with two of their artists – Amol K. Patil and Prabhakar Pachpute – as part of a collaboration between Clark House and The Showroom. For this event they will share their work informally and our dialogues so far. They will be joined by David Dibosa, Emily Pethick and Grant Watson.
Sumesh Sharma writes: 'When British city planners conceived a city for the seven islands of Bombay, apart from the reclamation of land they began constructing edifices that would speak the grandeur of a colonial empire, and of a city that stood as an example of civilization and trade after the Suez canal. Tired travellers would encounter the cosmopolitanism that defined the city within the island's numerous hotels, stately mansions and municipal buildings. Though Calcutta is a more typical remnant of that age, the city of Bombay borrows its distribution of public utility from the city of London. The districts that make up that city, now renamed Mumbai, aptly or not, have histories that oscillate between fishing villages and Catholic communidades established after the Portuguese Inquisition and Occupation and those established by British reclamation and the trading history of the area.
The Showroom and Clark House led research into the imagining of affinities of these cities, which are reflected in the vocabulary of the practices of a group of artists and curators: Amol K Patil's practice that infers on the solidarity of Bombay's Sanitation Workers and avant-garde plays that are informed by Dalit Movements of consciousness, particularly the Dalit Panthers of India; Prabhakar Pachpute kneads materiality of objects to narrate the city's stories of abject and displacement, and histories of post-industrialisation; curator Grant Watson enters into a dialogue of performance and identity circumventing the ambitions of a discriminatory penal law that runs concurrent and in conflict with India's constitution. These resonances were furthered through the involvement of artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator David Dibosa who unearth the politics of community explorations and through practice are seeking ways to overcome the limitations of representational aesthetics.
The connecting of geographies through this project extend between the coalfields of Wales and Pachpute's village, London and Bombay, two cities of migrants. London is a city that does not manufacture and in Bombay manufacturing is becoming rare pushed out by middle classes and constricted by high rents. These are neighbourhoods that have historically been defined by peculiar migrant journeys, caste affiliation and association. The city's red light district is now much reduced and is shared with artisanal tradesmen who supply the city with its decoration. Decades ago Dalit Consciousness erupted in political formats that were inspired by the Dalit Panthers of India movement and in culture by that of the Harlem Renaissance, mimicking the municipal urbanism of New York and Bombay. Dalits inhabited in abject the remnants of red light district that once serviced sailors disembarking on Bombay's port. It is here we placed our project in Bombay and now find resonances in London that provide us with an equivocal voice that seeks a city of confluence rather than in its limitations of being mere interacting identities that constitute grand political objectives such as South Asia.'
Sumesh Sharma , London 2016
This event forms part of a research and development phase of an exchange between The Showroom and Clark House Initiative, funded by Arts Council England/British Council's Reimagine India project.
The first phase of this project involved a trip to Mumbai in late December/early January, culminating in an event with Clark House at CAMP on 4 January 2016:
Working Practices: an Audit of Constituent Voices
Introductions by CAMP and Emily Pethick, director of The Showroom, London.
Grant Watson, excerpts from How we Behave
responses by Sumesh Sharma and David Dibosa
David Dibosa, some thoughts on matrixual methodologies
7:00 pm (Outdoors)
From Left to Night
Projection, Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
20 mins. followed by discussion
The Cut as a Point of Increased Traffic
Local intensities assembled from video and print collections, as seen on the Edgware Road and elsewhere.
The Showroom was established in 1983 and in 2013 celebrated thirty years of supporting artists to stage their first solo shows in London and its role as a pivotal force in the development of contemporary art practice. It was one of the first galleries in what is now a thriving East End art scene, but moved from its Bonner Road site in Bethnal Green to Penfold Street near Edgware Road in 2009. The first exhibition at Penfold Street was A Long Time Between Suns Part II, by The Otolith Group, which earned them a nomination for the Turner Prize 2010.Other now well-known artists commissioned by The Showroom early in their careers include Marc Chaimowicz, Jim Lambie, Eva Rothschild, Mona Hatoum, Simon Starling, Rebecca Warren, Claire Barclay, Can Altay, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Ciara Phillips (project nominated for the Turner Prize 2014).
As well as supporting artists at the right moment in their careers, The Showroom has always played a role in developing discourse around contemporary art practices. This activity was expanded as a result of the move to Penfold Street and the directorship of Emily Pethick, and the organisation now programmes around 50 public events per year, almost all of which are free to access.
Liberty Taken is a Clark House project in association with the Institut Français, Osianama at Liberty, Sir JJ School of Art, & Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. Supported by the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. The Project is a collaboration where Osianama at Liberty opens its space to interventions that are demonstrative towards engaging a young audience of artists and students towards cinema, creating a critical enagagement between cinema and the visual arts. Sir JJ School of Art, notably the Printmaking and Sculpture departments enter into dialogue with the artist Aurelien Mole and their students on conceptual sculptural practices. The publication is supported by the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam as part of the Kamrado project, which travels to the city and further on to the India Art Fair in 2016. Kadist Art Foundation, Paris is the author with Clark House ofthe exhibition format, structured on artist travel. Insitut Français is the primary sponsor and facilitator of the project.
Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative and a union of artists based in Bombay concerned with ideas of freedom. Strategies of equality have informed their work, while experiments in re-reading of histories, and concerns of representation and visibility, are ways to imagine alternative economies and freedom.
Address: c/o RBT Group, Ground Floor, Clark House, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg (Old Wodehouse Road), Bombay 400039. Opposite Sahakari Bhandar and Regal Cinema, next to Woodside Inn.