Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing VII

Making Worlds
53rd Venice Biennale

June 2009
Duration: 48 hours
Curator: Daniel Birnbaum
Costumes: Tabasheer Zutshi
Photography: Tina Lange, Eddie Jackson Lloyd Dyke and Elzbieta Bialkowska
Production Assistance: Eddie Jackson Lloyd Dyke

For the performance at the Venice Biennale, Nikhil Chopra as Yog Raj Chitrakar inhabits the tower at the Arsenale where for a period of 48 hours he eats, sleeps, washes and makes a large scale charcoal drawing on canvas stretched on the walls . 3 cctv cameras, mounted on top of the tower, project live images on to the floor, which he refers to to make his 360 degree panoramic drawing

“Embedded in memories, both collected and deeply personal, Chopra walks at the crossroads of the indigenous Indian form of folk theater called nautanki, performance art, installation, painting, and photography. He uses his characters to create live performances that last upto three days during which time the artist actively covets the viewer’s gaze. Performer and viewer mirror each other and lend a heightened intensity to the interaction, although Chopra is silent throughout and does not interact directly with the audience members who come and go as they please. Through characters Yog Raj Chitrakar and Sir Raja, a stereotypical Indian prince, Chopra exposes facets of life for India’s citizens who prospered during its colonial history while challenging viewers to confront issues of colonialism, and excess, and to resolve their own misconceptions.”*

“La biennale di Venezia – Making Worlds: The 53rd International Art Exhibition took place from June 7th to November 22nd 2009 in the Giardini and the Arsenale exhibition venues, as well as in various other locations around the city. Making Worlds, presented in the renewed Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, was conceived as a single, large exhibition that articulated different themes woven into one whole. It was not divided into sections. Considering collectives, it comprised works by over 90 artists from all over the world and included many new works and on-site commissions in all disciplines.”*

”Making Worlds sought to emphasise the process of creation, further acknowledging that a work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. Hence all forms of artistic expression were present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing”*

*From the 2009 Venice Biennale catalog

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