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Originally commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 15 for the multi-channel Installation Peacock’s Graveyard (2023) weaves images and sound that meditate on the transience existence.
The lyrical imagery is projected onto seven screens. The Peacock’s Graveyard The images appear and disappear individually and then at the same time, taking us on a journey of abstraction. The images form a visual hagiku that is spread across different channels in the exhibition. Texts are then overlaid on top of these images. Stories written by Kanwar draw from oral histories and received narratives, blending ancient folklore and modern folklore.
Kanwar uses a variety editing and staging techniques to invite viewers to reflect upon non-canonical knowledge. In this manner, The Peacock’s Graveyard His work departs from previous documentary strategies, articulating a need for a new metaphysical organization of thought which allows one to glimpse into another world. Kanwar’s work has always operated with the premise that rationality and power cannot and do not exhaust the possibilities of life. The work, while remaining critically engaged with the arrays of forces that affect individual lives, presents a series of parables that more obliquely address questions of responsibility and dignity, loss and loss.
Of the work, the artist writes that it is “[…] not a lament or mourning, but perhaps a kind of gift, a collection of stories, some ancient, some new, something to keep by one’s side every day, or take along if going someplace, or to help us reconfigure life, ideologies, politics, solidarities, social movements. These stories lay the groundwork for reflecting on our unbearable arrogance, delusions and deep desire for violence.”
Kanwar’s poetic films and video installations have explored the political, social, economic and ecological conditions of our times, often focusing on the Indian subcontinent. His work traces globalization and decolonization’s legacy, land use and border issues, environmental concerns, freedom of expression and human rights; and sexual assault. His philosophical investigations are grounded in disparate narrative structures that are interwoven throughout his inquiries. Kanwar creates meditative work through hybrid installations that incorporate images, poetry, literature and music. The works are not meant to represent trauma but rather to find a way through it. How does a landscape contain beauty and violence? How does poetry act as evidence? What are the visions that arise from darkness and how can they lead to new pedagogies and light? Kanwar’s work looks deeply into the causes and effects, and of how they are translThe following are some of the most effective ways to improve your own effectiveness.ed into everyday life and cultural forms.
at Marian Goodman Gallery New York
Until February 24, 2024