Just before lockdown, I was working on a curatorial project titled, The Laboratory of Time, which has now been postponed to 2022. Naturally, when I was asked to curate for RCA2020, I was thrilled at the prospect of acquainting myself with so many brilliant minds. Several friends, who are now successful practicing artists, graduated from the college.
Looking across the School of Arts & Humanities, I was particularly drawn to the work of artists working in the department of photography. Conceptual photography has always been of interest to me curatorially; specially practices that are interdisciplinary in nature and pose questions rather than offer answers. The overlapping and clashing terrains of aesthetics and politics as well as of materiality and fantasy create an indeterminacy, which fascinates me. Art should enable an unsettled ground, a discomfort, an otherness.
Given our estranged relationship with nature and non-human sentience, it felt timely to put together a group of artists (alongside writer Fiona Glen) to ruminate on human agency, the opacity of human understanding (wonderfully symbolised through Alexander Mourant’s glass house), anxiety and intimacy.
With my background in Buddhist studies, I am deeply aware of the interconnectedness of all life; wherein a non-hierarchical and symbiotic structuring principle guides all manifestation.
Sandhini Poddar is a London-based art historian and Consulting Curator for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Previously, Poddar served as a curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from 2007 until 2016 as part of its international Asian Art Initiative. During her tenure, she curated groundbreaking exhibitions on modern and contemporary Asian art including: V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life; Being Singular Plural and Anish Kapoor: Memory, and organised the Guggenheim’s presentation of Zarina: Paper Like Skin. Each of these exhibitions and commissions received considerable press coverage, including extensive articles in The New York Times. Poddar was also responsible for commissioning and acquiring dozens of art works from across Asia and the Middle East for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as well as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.