Himali Singh Soin

  • Andy Holden and Peter Holden

    The father-son birders Andy and Peter Holden are obviously of the same phenotype. “Natural Selection,” their most recent show, was set in the former Newington Library in south London, where their interest in ornithology informed works whose central concern was precisely the frayed edge between art and nature. The male bowerbird, for instance, creates a nest not for habitation, but purely for aesthetic display. These structures are a kind of folly, decorative at most (and an annoyance to Darwinians at the least). Andy Holden’s Untitled (Bower) (all works 2017) is a re-creation of one of these


    THE NOMADIC TRAVELER encounters simultaneous solitude and community: I blurs with we, as does here with there, then with now. During a long journey, the sense of settlement itself paradoxically becomes portable. Such was the case, at least, in Drawing a Line Through Landscape, 2017, a peripatetic performance piece by Nikhil Chopra conceived for Documenta 14. Chopra began in Athens and traveled to Kassel in a van with a tent and crew, successively occupying eight Eastern European sites along a trajectory between the two cities that mirrored the so-called Balkan Route, used by refugees in record

  • Isaac Julien

    When astronomers in fifth-century India conceptualized the zero, they gave the idea of nothing a figurative reality. When negative numbers were conceived in China circa 200 BCE, for the first time a presence could be made of an absence. At first, both ideas were taboo, but an imagination of the negative number gave voice to the clandestine, the underrepresented, the minus, the before. In the same way, the artist Isaac Julien, in making photographs from negatives of his 1989 film Looking for Langston, reasserts the voice of the silenced, homoerotic desire of black men.

    Shot in 16 millimeter, the

  • Faivovich & Goldberg

    In the vast and various field that is the debate about appropriation, histories are unearthed and identities bear fruit. What happens then, when an artist proposes to co-opt massive rocks that have fallen from the sky, unseen and unrecorded? Who lays claim to them when they lie on a monotonous terrain with just an empty horizon in sight? When the artist duo Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg planned to displace a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite from Campo del Cielo in Argentina for Documenta 13 in 2012, the Moqoit First Nation, for whom the rock and the place were sacred, protested and the

  • James Bridle’s Cloud Index

    ALMOST TWO DECADES into the twenty-first century, we still haven’t found a language for the amorphous streams of data that constitute the internet; faced with the seemingly infinite complexity of information, we resort to vague abstractions such as ether, portal, air, or, often, cloud. Such terminology reveals that we think of our information as if it lived elsewhere, floating free from specific cultural or political contexts—as if it is not really real. In fact, of course, data is quite the opposite, more tangible, even, than most solid objects. Not only is it part of a vast infrastructure

  • Kochi-Muziris Biennale

    Set in a British-built heritage building on the sea, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is the leading international exhibition of contemporary art in India. This third edition runs for exactly 108 days—a sacred and vital number in Hindu philosophy—and comprises a rich assortment of talks, film screenings, and poetry readings, alongside gallery-based artworks and public interventions in a range of media. Shetty is a renowned artist whose sculptural installations have memorably incorporated text, so it is no surprise that many of the biennial’s participants are

  • picks June 13, 2016

    “Krishna in the Garden of Assam”

    At the very end of a dimly lit room full of phantasmagoric antique textiles and artifacts from northeastern India is a video titled Invocation, 2015. It is trancelike and dreamily romantic; a subjective collection of images from the natural world imbued with ideas from the spiritual one, pieced together by an unreliable narrator behind a camera lens that occasionally blurs.

    Invocation, which amplifies the numinous aspects of all the mysterious objects surrounding it, is given to us by Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya, aka Desire Machine Collective. This work evokes the spirit of Assam,

  • “Diary Entries”

    From Virginia Woolf to Anne Frank, Sophia Tolstoy to Anaïs Nin, in the twentieth century the diary was established as a woman’s respite: a blank receptacle of expression, bound by no manner of speech or society, only by its own spine. Later, it became an unbiased, uncensored literary source of cultural and historical experience. Intensely intimate, the diary was an unmediated object that freed the writer to be as furtive or frivolous as she pleased. Beginning from this premise, curator Gayatri Sinha invited five artists to consider the turmoil and tranquility of their lives in a variety of

  • interviews April 14, 2016

    Maria Eichhorn

    Maria Eichhorn makes exceptionally subtle works—minuscule gestures with magnificent reach, and consequences—that highlight the limits of institutions, and perhaps even art itself. Here, the artist discusses the preparation involved for her solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery, her first in the United Kingdom, titled “5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours,” which opens April 23 and runs through May 29, 2016. By closing down the gallery completely for the duration of the show and stipulating that no staff be available during this period, Eichhorn upsets notions surrounding time and labor connected

  • picks April 13, 2016

    Dennis Morris

    With the opening of Dennis Morris’s “PiL - First Issue to Metal Box,” an exhibition of the designer’s work for Public Image Ltd’s first two albums, the museum also celebrated forty years of punk, with performances by a slew of DJs and the all-female band Skinny Girl Diet, who screamed their ideals to an audience of sleek page-boy haircuts, broad-brimmed hats, tight leather, and faces full of piercings. It felt like a head-on collision between the past and present. The show’s location in a small room beneath a staircase leading to a bar seemed appropriate and not too unlike PiL’s coordinates

  • picks March 22, 2016

    Heather Phillipson

    Heather Phillipson’s installation more flinching, 2015, doesn’t feature the usual buoyancy and explosions of bright color for which the artist is best known. Here we encounter a fragmented story by a grieving, paranoid narrator—available in stapled booklets for the taking from two rooms filled with the sounds of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, Opus 66—about the shooting of a police dog conflated with the death of a pet. The walls are painted an institutional navy blue, and the space is reminiscent of stagnant, bureaucratic offices and their disorganized, dusty archives. But Chopin’s

  • diary February 06, 2016

    Sentimental Education

    WE WERE CHAMPAGNE SOCIALISTS, sipping bubbly in an abandoned building, wandering through fictionalized fossils, curated cobwebs, light, dust, resin, residue. “What it did is make us all complicit,” said artist Rohini Devasher about Asim Waqif’s site-specific installation Autolysis, held at One Style Mile, the first of a row of heritage buildings with a view of the thirteenth-century QUTB Minar (the tallest brick minaret in the world), turned into contemporary restaurants and nightclubs. The opening party the Monday before last and the massive artwork’s debut, presented by Nature Morte, anticipated

  • picks January 18, 2016

    Anna Zett

    In Anna Zett’s newly commissioned video Circuit Training, 2015, the viewer is forced into performing a variety of mental gymnastics in order to make lateral connections and create sinuous narratives. The video begins with a Windows screen saver: a neon geometrical shape rotating in a void, accompanied by a female voice guiding us through the inner workings of the cerebellum, with the sound of typing in the distance. We then follow three women in the throes of rigorous physical training. As the women are shot in front of a green screen, the background changes from digitally generated images of

  • interviews December 21, 2015

    Reena Saini Kallat

    The language in Reena Saini Kallat’s art is fluid, shifting, unstable. Text is written with salt on sand, only to disappear moments later. Her use of material is simultaneously timely and timeless. She connects politically divided terrain by interrogating various national identities and their symbols through sculpture, photography, drawing, and video. Kallat has had solo exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery in British Columbia, Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and Primo Marella Gallery in Milan. Here, Kallat talks about her current exhibition, “Porous

  • picks July 10, 2015

    Jesse Darling and Brace Brace

    Here, our imminent extinction is intimate: This exhibition, “Absolute Bearing,” evokes the delusion of the anchor, the flickering (mis)direction of the compass, the lament of motion itself. Jesse Darling and Brace Brace’s installations are elegiac with political materialities as they imagine a flood that dissolves that which is solid. The physical properties of Darling’s sculptures are sublimated within the viscosity of Brace’s Textiles and Moods for Life Ring by Brace Brace, 2015, a work made up of creased mesh that traps the light, causing it to appear artificial. These pieces gasp for breath.

  • picks May 26, 2015

    Bridget Smith

    At the edge of the pale bay of Southend-on-Sea where this gallery is located is a blinking neon amusement park; on the other, an anodyne silhouette of smokestacks. The faint sensation of contained expanse seeps into Bridget Smith’s solo show, which is site-specific and curiously titled “If You Want to Talk About Light You Have to Talk About Waves.” Not ironically, there is no you here, and nobody is talking. What we face is a sequence of squares, in the form of cyanotype prints, photographs, and videos, depicting this small town’s places of pleasure, leisure, and listlessness, emptied of the

  • picks March 23, 2015

    “How To Construct A Time Machine”

    Appropriately, “How To Construct A Time Machine” demands a few hours of its viewers. Also appropriately, these few hours seem to both occupy an eternity and whiz by in minutes. The twenty-five works on view span centuries, from the Lumière brothers’ one-minute film, Demolition of a Wall, 1896, to John Cage’s silence piece, 4'33", 1952, right up to Katie Paterson’s recast meteorite, more ancient than the earth itself, Field of the Sky, 2014.

    The horological motif of the show runs deep: Not only is it present in the concept of the works, but it is inherent in the internal logic of material and

  • interviews December 28, 2014

    Emma McNally

    London-based artist Emma McNally charts the astronomical, the anatomical, the topographical, and the topological. Recent selections from her ongoing drawing series “Choral Fields,” 2014–, are on view in the group show “MIRRORCITY” at the Hayward Gallery in London through January 4, 2015. Here, the artist talks about her inspirations and what pencil portends for paper.

    I THINK OF THESE DRAWINGS as fugitive, heterogeneous gray areas. They are the turbulence between noise and signal. They are a space of difference and deferral, a weather system of graphite. They are also broadband realms where

  • picks December 15, 2014

    Fiona Banner

    In Fiona Banner’s Chinook, 2014, two sets of helicopter blades mounted on the ceiling just miss each other with every revolution. They seem to quip as lovers might, headlong and heart first, aestheticized amid the surrounding bucolic hills of Yorkshire.

    In Ha-Ha, 2014—titled after the architectural element that forms boundaries between spaces—the gallery’s windows are coated in 95-percent-UV-reduction vinyl with cutout punctuation marks in different fonts forming peepholes, literally shaping how we see the outside. We become voyeurs of a landscape that, by virtue of its concealment, is thrown

  • picks October 09, 2014

    Raqs Media Collective

    A pitch-black clock, The Ecliptic, 2014, holds pride of place in Raqs Media Collective’s current exhibition, “Corrections to the First Draft of History.” Replacing numbers, one half of the clock bears the word TIME, while on the other half, the words FREE, FOLD, FIGURE, FUN, FIX, and FREEZE alternatingly light up. The alliteration provides rhythm and a sense of repetition but also brings to mind the F-word: future. Subjected to a relationship with the noun TIME, the verbs are rendered inactive, becoming adjectives, as if the future will watch the futility of our grasping for a voice or light,