La Perle Noire: Le Marais

gb Agency, Paris


March 2014
Duration: 50 Hours
Costume Design: Loise Braganza
Photography: Justin Meekel & Franck Miatello

From Thursday 6 March at 7:00pm to Saturday 8 March at 9:00pm, Chopra will take over Level One for fifty hours in a continuous performance that is visible to the public. The title ‘La Perle Noire’ has several references: it is an homage to Josephine Baker who under the nick name “The Black Pearl” took Paris by storm in the 1920s. Chopra appeared as Baker in his performance in 2011 in the Pompidou Center exhibition ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’. However, pop culture isn’t ignored with reference to the name of Jack Sparrow’s ship in “Pirates of the Caribbean’’, under whose decks the loot is stored.

The character Sir Raja was created by Chopra while he was living in Ohio in 2002. A stereotypical Indian Prince from the colonial era, Chopra uses him as an alter ego during performances in tableaux vivants. After 7 years of silence, Nikhil Chopra gets back to this character but activates him through a new avatar: Sir Raja IV.
Chopra often uses materials from daily life, such as lipstick, to transform his own body and the exhibition space. Used as a visual tool to paint and draw, the lipstick is also included for its smell. The nearly nauseating, sweet and persistent odor it releases portrays the association between masculine and feminine. In the artist’s world, objects, accessories and costumes are arranged such that they form scenes just like in a still life.
Here, dressed in linen and walking around among the pillows on the floor, Chopra begins by painting himself all in white as if to create a blank canvas for drawing and transforming himself into an object–no longer an individual. The sky blue walls gradually give way to drawings in red lipstick, wall to wall pillows cover the floor, and the artist’s fantasy of a sea of blood is released, from which will emerge Sir Raja.

-From the Press Release



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