Notations on Time, a group show that investigates the philosophical and political dimensions of time through the works of 20 contemporary artists from South Asia and its diaspora, will open Ishara Art Foundation in 2023
The exhibition, curated by Sandhini Poddar and Sabih Ahmed, creates a dialogue amongst artistic generations to highlight the connections between the past, present, and future. The exhibition functions as a time laboratory, investigating art in notational, experimental, and fragmentary forms. Notations on Time deviates from Western concepts of linearity, progress, and capitalist dominance by investigating ontological systems that indicate how artists from this region and its diaspora think about aesthetics, existence, remembering, and future.
How and where do we “read” time? On our bodies, our skins, our machinery, our rivers, our landscapes, and our skies. Within cosmic space and underground wormholes, unseen root systems, site-readings from archaeological and evidentiary fieldwork, ancestry and oral traditions, myths, folklore, and storytelling, science fiction and mixed realities, long-dead stars in the cosmos viewed through powerful telescopes, and so much more. “What happens when leftovers from the past are reincarnated into the future?” asks the exhibition. Where does the present’s jurisdiction end? What is the past’s future? What options does an exhibition space provide for thinking through these issues?”
Notations on Time includes works by Soumya Sankar Bose, Sheba Chhachhi, Shezad Dawood, Ladhki Devi, Gauri Gill & Rajesh Vangad, Aziz Hazara, Amar Kanwar, Ali Kazim, Mariah Lookman, Haroon Mirza, Anoli Perera, Lala Rukh, Jangarh Singh Shyam, Dayanita Singh, Ayesha Sultana, Jagdish Swaminathan, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, and Zarina, accompanied by an infra-vocabulary from Raqs Media Collective’s book Seepage.
Artworks for this exhibition have been loaned from the Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection, the private collections of Taimur Hassan, Lekha & Anupam Poddar, and Shweta & Vikram Puri.
The exhibition has been supported by Taimur Hassan. Exhibition logistics supported by Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai), Lisson Gallery (London), and Saskia Fernando Gallery (Colombo).
About the curators
Sandhini Poddar is a London-based art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, where she is responsible for acquisitions, commissions, and research for the future museum. Previously, Poddar served on the curatorial team at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation from 2007 until 2016 as part of its international Asian Art Initiative. During her tenure, she curated ground-breaking exhibitions on modern and contemporary Asian art including, “V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life, “Being Singular Plural”, and “Anish Kapoor: Memory”. She also organized the Guggenheim’s presentation of “Zarina: Paper Like Skin”. Poddar writes on contemporary art, aesthetics, and politics and has contributed articles for magazines such as Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, and Art India. She has post-graduate degrees from New York University and Mumbai University. Poddar recently curated “Indra’s Net” for Frieze London. She is a Trustee of South London Gallery.
Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. Prior to Ishara, Ahmed was a Senior Researcher and Projects Manager at Asia Art Archive from 2009 to 2019. Over the years, he has led research and digitisation projects around artist archives, organised international conferences on art history and educational resources, and has co-curated exhibitions in Barcelona, Dhaka, Delhi, Hong Kong and Shanghai. At Ishara, he has curated exhibitions and programmes that include “Staging the Contemporary: The Next Generation,” a symposium organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair (New Delhi), Navjot Altaf: Pattern, among others. Ahmed’s writings have been published by Mousse, the Whitworth, Arts Cabinet, onCurating, and he serves on the Advisory Board of Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation, New Delhi.
About Ishara Art Foundation
Ishara Art Foundation was established in 2019 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting South Asian contemporary art. The Foundation, based in Dubai, supports new and established activities that promote critical discussion and investigate global interconnections. Ishara realizes its objective through exhibitions, onsite and online programs, education projects, and collaborations in the UAE and worldwide, all guided by a research-led approach. The Foundation fosters collaboration between South Asian and international creative networks, which include museums, foundations, organizations, galleries, and individuals.