Explore time through experimental art

Explore time through experimental art


It was 1948 when The People’s Liberation Army entered Shanghai. China was about to change. No one knew what was going to happen. There was pressure on time. People had to get into the bank.

They were in a queue, nudging each other to reach the counter at the earliest. And amidst all this, photographer Henri Cartier Bresson captured the image infront of him.

The reason why people in Shanghai reacted in the way they did was because they were losing confidence in the value of their currency. They began to withdraw their savings from banks in order get it converted into gold.

All this led to collapse of bank, spreading panic. Surprisingly, the anticipation of the future condition in the present, at that time, led to anticipated future. Such is time and our understanding of it which Bresson captured years ago in his camera and now Raqs Media Collective has highlighted the same at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).

The ongoing exhibition ‘The Untimely Calendar’ explores this experimental form of art which looks at the intriguing aspects of time. Like, the video of a labourer who writes about his daily routine where he realises each day is different, as anarchic dreams have no limit. But at the same time for him each experience is just ordinary. He knows it is the intangible time that governs his personal, economic and social liberty.

Another video ‘The Reading’ is the repeated reading performance in English by two performers. One comes from the Hebrew-speaking land and the other from Arabic-speaking heritage. As a dialogue between Hebrew and Arabic is difficult, both of them share hospitality in a third language – English. The artwork directly hints at the irony in the recourse to the language of a colonising power, which in small measure is responsible for the divided and the contentious nature
of present.  

Other installations on the exhibit are – ‘The Tower of Liberty’ where 19 videos are simultaneously played where different people are howling, talking and even pondering about whether the world can be free and divided at the same time?  ‘The Robot Dog Reads’ is an installation of 264 framed copies of Faridabad Workers News from 1993
till today.  

An interesting clock embedded on a steel wall, which instead of numbers has terms like epiphany, anxiety, panic, fear and nostalgia is also on display. The moment you look at the clock your image is also reflected on the steel wall.

You can feel your heartbeat in a minuscule moment of staring which, surprisingly, creates an illusionary image of the emotion simmering
inside you.

Speaking to Metrolife, Prof. Rajeev Lochan, director, NGMA, says, “This exhibition is a turning point in the NGMA's engagement with a new set of creative idioms in contemporary art. Media rich, concept-driven, formally polyphonous, playful, urgent, replete with philosophical density - this is the kind of art that addresses all our faculties - intellectual, emotional and sensory. A visitor to this exhibition is invited to be a witness, to see himself and herself become a protagonist in a rich field of ideas, dream like images, of ‘luminous wills’”.