Inspired by Sikh-Hungarian painter Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-41) and her work – from childhood drawings, letters and articles, to her final unfinished painting — UNFINISHED unfolds into abstracted movement sequences, fragments of text and images exploring different facets of a nomadic aesthetic. Focusing on changing motifs and concerns in transit between Europe and India, the project explores the tensions, distances, displacements and overlaps of a nomadic aesthetic that feminist theorist Rosi Braidotti describes as “in transit” and “neither here nor there” (Braidotti 1994, p.14).
Amrita Sher-Gil is quoted to have said in 1936: “Art, it is my conviction, must be connected to the soil if it is to be vital” (Sher-Gil in Khullar 2012, p.164).
For the work UNFINISHED I translate this conviction to mean that I will not perform the same production in multiple locations. As a piece UNFINISHED needs to reflect a “connection to the soil” and respond to the various locations it is and will be performed in.
Hence, as a piece, UNFINSIHED is performed as distinctly different ITERATIONS designed to change with each performance location, context or venue.
Iteration I (2013)
Performed at Siddharth Hall, Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi on 6-8 September 2013
UNFINISHED- Iteration I grew out of dialogues between Sandra Chatterjee, choreographer and performer of UNFINISHED and the New Delhi-based theatre director, Aditee Biswas, drawing on associations with Sher-Gil’s images and their present-day resonances Biswas and Chatterjee both resonate with Sher-Gil’s life and work. Just as Sher-Gil traveled to various continents and absorbed cultural influences that impacted her ideas and work, they too straddle Europe and India in idiosyncratic ways, assuming the role of translators.
Performance and Choreography: Sandra Chatterjee, Direction & Design: Aditee Biswas, Technical Direction: Rajesh Singh, Sound Design: Peter Arun Pfaff, Additional Music: Bridget Grey, Lal Forest, Costumes: Shree Biswas
Acknowledgements: Production is supported by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi
Iteration II (2014)
Performed at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi on 7 February 2014
Performed in conjunction with the closing ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of Amrita Sher-Gil, Iteration II was based on but very different from Iteration I, to account for the special venue, which houses a large collection of Amrita Sher-Gil’s paintings.
Performance and Choreography: Sandra Chatterjee, Direction & Design: Aditee Biswas, Technical Director: Malavika Rao, Sound Design: Peter Arun Pfaff, Additional Music: Bridget Grey, Lal Forest, Costumes: Shree Biswas
Acknowledgements: Presented by National Gallery of Modern Art
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