23 Feb - 26 May 2013
Open Eye Policy
Curator: Annie Fletcher
23 February - 26 May 2013
The Van Abbemuseum presents a retrospective of the acclaimed Indian artist Sheela Gowda (Bangalore, 1957). This exhibition forms part of the series of major solo exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum in 2012-13, which has so far included René Daniëls, David Maljkovic, Yael Bartana and Piero Gilardi, programmed to highlight the artists’ voice. 'Open Eye Policy' will occupy the classic space of the Oudbouw (old building) and will span the last twenty years of Gowda’s practice, including the artist’s large scale installations, painting and photography, as well as smaller sculptural works.
Initially trained as a painter, since the 1990’s Gowda has increasingly developed a sculptural and installation practice, using materials to draw out references to the social and cultural context of India. Her work is both sensual and unsettling, conjuring some of the darkest aspects of human experience, where poetically invested materials evoke what the artist refers to as “the insidious nature of violence, overt and insidious in our psychic makeup”.
Gowda’s use of unconventional materials is highly evocative: the tactile qualities of thread, hair, traditional dyes, pattern and weaving are transformed into socially loaded objects and configurations, located within the network of production and distribution of India’s socio-political legacy. Open Eye Policy also includes an overview of Gowda’s photography and painting, revealing the artist’s exploration into the make up of images that runs alongside her sculptural practice. The exhibition will be the first time the different elements of Gowda’s practice have been shown alongside one another, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of the artist’s historical and cultural significance.