• Group Exhibition
  • Beijing, China
  • 2010

The 11th Hour, Tang Contemporary

In the show, the west Bangladesh artists Madhu and Hazra Chitrakar take conventional Indian art mediums to a new level. Incorporating the traditional South Asian hand scroll and ancient folk songs, the artist brothers depicted significant social and religious events such as catastrophic tsunamis, the 9/11 attack, and the Last Judgment in the Bible. Below each scroll hanging on the wall sits a television, showing an Indian woman humming traditional folk songs as she slowly unfolds the scroll. The Turner Prize nominated artist duo The Otolith Group, who were born and live in London, showed a series of snapshots of community assemblies and festival celebrations. The artists manipulated the shots with mirror effects to achieve a symmetrical composition that distorted the central figures into headless single-eyed monsters. In the background there are dilapidated murals featuring the ancient Hindu semi-goddess Yaksa and the demon Raksasa, which add a touch of eeriness and mystery to the festival scenes in the photographs. The group has also presented the film Otolith III, which is a remake of a 1967 unfinished project. Artist Tushar Joag's dreamy digital video collages depict a post-colonial urban scenery, raising the question of where we are headed with this whirlwind of urbanization. The exhibition also includes photography and video works by Teja Shah that deal with issues of hysteria and mental breakdown. At the opening, the artist invited the viewer to join him in a live performance he called The Game of Trust, which required him be blindfolded and led by a member of the audience on a walk around the 798 Art District while sharing thoughts about each notable space in the district. Interestingly, the notion of "trust" lost a certain degree of intensity in the quiet Beijing 798 area, visitors to which tend to be peaceful and cooperative. Works by Tariq Alvi and Shilpa Gupta both seek to address the tension between reality and virtual reality. Alvi made two pieces that resemble large-scale carpets, consisting of rows of price tags and paper cards on which was written the names of different types of jewelry. The original economic connotation of the price tags was lost in the repetition. In contrast, Gupta composed two eye charts with detectable misspellings of terms like "Truth, Fact, Reality." Also, at the gallery entrance there sits a large-scale installation by Sudarshan Shetty. It features an empty toilet with a long tube stretching upward to the ceiling, branching into two separate tall glass cabinets on each side of the toilet.