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Gauri Gill: Acts of Resistance and Repair at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

October 13, 2022–January 8, 2023

Gauri Gill (born 1970) is currently the subject of a first comprehensive survey show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, featuring over 240 pieces from significant series. The photographer has spent more than 20 years examining the ways that rural Indians survive and go about their everyday lives far from the country’s main hubs. The artist focuses on topics like survival, self-assertion, identity, and belonging, as well as conceptual challenges connected to memory and authorship, in an open, collaborative process that defies documentary conventions.

Dr. Sebastian Baden, the director of the Schirn, comments on the exhibition: “Gauri Gill gives viewers direct access to her work. With the most profoundly human themes, as well as the topicality and political scope of her photographs, she combines social and aesthetic aspects in her work. Her projects, often created in cooperation with others over periods of many years, testify to a deep connection to the land and its people and, as a liberating artistic tool, are uniquely capable of overcoming stereotypes. It is with great pleasure that we look forward to presenting Gauri Gill’s exceptional oeuvre in her first large survey at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.”

Gill strives for various voices while experimenting with a new kind of “collective vision” through her dialogic camera use and intense, personal conversation with people from different social groups, faiths, and generations. The long-term archive project Notes from the Desert, in which she has utilized photography to interact with underprivileged populations in Rajasthan in the border region of western India since 1999, serves as the cornerstone of her work and the inspiration for several of her photo series. The artist notably shows her lengthy friendships with women in this series, as well as across her entire body of work, which she emphasizes in close-up portraits. Her photo series The Americans (2000–2007), which focuses on the varied lifestyles of the Indian diaspora, particularly in terms of migration, homeland, and connection to culture, serves as a juxtaposition to her endeavors in the desert. As seen in her most recent series, Acts of Appearance, Gill’s collaborative methodology—which involves collaborating with artists from rural areas—is also highlighted in the Schirn exhibition (2015 onward).

“Gauri Gill pursues an extremely diverse repertoire of visual strategies, from intimate snapshots and a conceptual body of motifs to overpainted landscape photographs and tableaux vivants. Beyond all formal and conceptual differences, her impressive body of work is permeated by a deeply felt interest in people, their struggles, and their creativity, which is reflected in an approach based on dialogue and cooperation, while also expressing a decidedly political stance”, emphasizes Esther Schlicht, curator of the exhibition.

An exhibition of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk.

The exhibition Gauri Gill: Acts of Resistance and Repair is supported by the Friends of the Schirn Kunsthalle e.V. and the Hessische Kulturstiftung.

A catalog edited by Schirn curator Esther Schlicht has been published in a bilingual edition with a preface by the director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Dr. Sebastian Baden, and contributions by Alexander Keefe, Luise Leyer, Jisha Menon, and Esther Schlicht.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main
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