manchester-uk

Nikhil Chopra, Coal on Cotton, 2013. Performance view, July 7, 2013. Photo: Stephan Iles.

Nikhil Chopra

The Whitworth

Nikhil Chopra, Coal on Cotton, 2013. Performance view, July 7, 2013. Photo: Stephan Iles.

On the construction site of the Whitworth’s new wing to be devoted to landscape art, Nikhil Chopra performed Coal on Cotton, 2013, as part of the Manchester International Festival. Known for creating large-scale representational drawings in front of an audience, as a performance, Chopra is unusual in that both aspects of his practice appear to carry equal weight.

Coal on Cotton took its inspiration from the nineteenth-century trade route for cotton between Manchester and Mumbai. Chopra’s performance unfolded over sixty-five hours, from sunrise on a Friday morning to sunset on Sunday, as he successively inhabited three personae: those of a cotton farmer, a mill worker, and a mill owner. As spectators gathered in the foyer of the Whitworth, he rose from a wrap of cotton sheets, then, dressed in simple robes, dragged a large bale of cotton into the roofless shell of the future landscape

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