Knowledge larger than life: Indian artist group Raqs’ big book Vancouver installation

A university gallery in Vancouver, Canada is home to a education-influenced installation by Indian artist group Raqs Media Collective.

Opening in June 2012, Audain Gallery of Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada, has commissioned New Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective to create a site-specific work entitled Primary Education of the Auto-didact that directly addresses the university’s role as a unique educational institution.

Audain Gallery of Simon Fraser University presents Raqs Media Collective site-specific installation "Primary Education of the Auto-Didactic" 2012. Photo courtesy Audain Gallery.

Audain Gallery of Simon Fraser University presents Raqs Media Collective's site-specific installation 'Primary Education of the Auto-didact', 2012. Photo courtesy Audain Gallery.

An autodidactic installation

Raqs Media Collective often explores different methods of thought development within their artwork, making this reputable Indian artist collaboration a well-informed fit for the university gallery’s project on education. For this installation, Raqs chose to depict a set of giant books sprawled across the front windows of the Audain Gallery. The prints of cascading books and bookshelves are pasted two-dimensionally on the double tiered windows lining the front of the gallery.

It is the Audain gallery’s mission to encourage “conceptual and experimental projects that explore the dialogue between the social and the cultural in contemporary artistic practices” and SFU prides itself on its adherence to the principles of an autodidactic education, placing an emphasis on “self-directed and individual modes of learning”. In line with this approach, the site-specific exhibition is the only part of the gallery visible and accessible to the Vancouver public during the summer of 2012. Viewers will not be able to discuss the work with the Audain Gallery staff and will instead be left to independently interpret its significance while passing through the streets.

Vancouver street view of Raqs installation in the windows of Audain Gallery. Photo courtesy Audain Gallery.

Street view of Raqs summer 2012 installation in the windows of Audain Gallery (Vancouver, Canada). Photo courtesy Audain Gallery.

Knowledge is larger than life in Raqs Media Collective's site-specific installation at Audain Gallery in Vancouver. Image from canada.com.

Knowledge is larger than life in Raqs Media Collective's site-specific installation (summer 2012) at Audain Gallery in Vancouver, Canada. Image from canada.com.

Summer festival unites India, South Asia, Canada

Indian Summer Festival of Arts & Ideas.

Indian Summer Festival of Arts & Ideas.

Primary Education of the Auto-didact by Raqs Media Collective at Audain Gallery in Vancouver takes place in partnership with the Indian Summer Festival of Arts & Ideas, an event that will be held in the city between 5 and 15 July 2012 and which welcomes the differing perspectives and creative outlets of India.

Raqs is the first group of Indian artists to exhibit their work at Audain Gallery, representing a strong beginning to the collective ties uniting these two countries. In addition to the Raqs’ exhibition at the Audain Gallery, the Indian Summer Festival of Arts & Ideas 2012 will showcase a wide variety of artists from South Asia who will perform in dance, art, yoga, literature, film, and site specific installations.

The event is organised by the Indian Summer Arts Society. Based locally in Vancouver, the organisation is not-for-profit and encourages continued dialogue between Canada and India.

South Asian art that makes you think

RAQS Media Collective. Image courtesy Raqs.

RAQS Media Collective. Image courtesy Raqs.

Founded in New Delhi in 1992, India’s renowned Raqs Media Collective is made up of three artists – Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta – who together create thought-provoking and often site-specific artwork all over the world. These dynamic artists funnel their creativity across a variety of mediums including visual arts, film, architecture, book editing, curating, theatre and collaborative projects.

The artists behind Raqs also founded Sarai within the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, “one of India’s leading research institutes with a commitment to critical and dissenting thought and a focus on critically expanding the horizons of the discourse on development, particularly with reference to South Asia”. Sarai focuses on public and creative research-practice methods which represent ideas on behalf of the wide audiences they survey. In order to inform their artwork, Raqs brings together their collaborative ideas, their broad-based research and the communities in which they work.

LS/KN/HH 

Related Topics: art education, Indian contemporary artists, collaborative art, site-specific art

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on Raqs Media Collective and site-specific installations


Comments

Knowledge larger than life: Indian artist group Raqs’ big book Vancouver installation — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Crocevia… tra Oriente e Occidente » Indian Summer a Vancouver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.