Jitish Kallat in conversation with Sunil Manghani

Drawing Room is pleased to present the fifth film in a series of recorded conversations that derive from A Companion to Contemporary Drawing, a recently published book edited by Kelly Chorpening and Rebecca Fortnum, which explores how 20th and 21st century artists have used drawing to understand and comment on the world and features contributions from Drawing Room Co-Director Kate Macfarlane. The publication is available here.

This conversation features chapter author Sunil Manghani in conversation with artist Jitish Kallat. Kallat’s works over the last two-decades reveal his continued engagement with the ideas of time, sustenance, recursion and historical recall often interlacing the dense cosmopolis and the distant cosmos. His oeuvre traverses varying focal lengths and time-scales. From close details of the skin of a fruit or the brimming shirt-pocket of a passerby, it might expand to register dense people-scapes, or voyage into inter-galactic vistas. While some works meditate on the transient present others invoke the past through citations of momentous historical utterances. Frequently shifting orders of magnitude, Kallat’s works can be said to move interchangeably between meditations on the self, the city-street, the nation and the cosmic horizon, viewing the ephemeral within the context of the perpetual, the everyday in juxtaposition with the historical, the microscopic alongside the telescopic.

Jitish Kallat has exhibited widely at museums and institutions including Tate Modern (London), Martin Gorpius Bau (Berlin), Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane), Kunstmuseum (Bern), Serpentine Galleries (London), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), BOZAR: Centre For Fine Arts (Brussels), Pirelli Hangar Bicocca (Milan), Busan Museum of Modern Art, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo), ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo), Arken Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen), Valencia Institute of Modern Art (Spain), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Museum Tinguley (Basel) and the Gemeente Museum (The Hague) amongst many others. Kallat’s work has been part of the Venice Biennale, Havana Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Asian Art Biennale, Curitiba Biennale, Guangzhou Triennale and the Kyiv Biennale amongst others. His solo exhibitions at museums include institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Mumbai), the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne), CSMVS Museum (Mumbai), the San Jose Museum of Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2017 the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi) presented a mid-career survey of his work titled Here After Here 1992-2017 curated by Catherine David. He was the curator and artistic director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014.

Sunil Manghani is Professor of Theory, Practice & Critique and Deputy Head of School, Director of Research and Enterprise at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He studied Anthropology and Communication Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the early 1990s, and later completed a Masters and PhD in Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. He teaches and writes on various aspects of critical theory, visual arts and image studies. He is a managing editor of Theory, Culture & Society, as well as an editorial board member of Journal of Contemporary Painting, and an associate member of Tate Exchange; University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute; and the Alan Turing Institute’s AI and Arts interest group. He is also a co-opted trustee for the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design, with a specific responsibility for its research alliance. He teaches and writes on various aspects of critical theory, visual arts and image studies. He is author of Image Studies: Theory and Practice (2013), and co-editor of Rhythm and Critique (2020), Zero Degree Seeing: Barthes/Burgin and Political Aesthetics (2019); India’s Biennale Effect: A Politics of Contemporary Art (2016); Farewell to Visual Studies (2015), Images: A Reader (2006), and a special issue of Theory, Culture & Society: Neutral Life/Late Barthes (Vol.37, No.4, 2020); as well as editor of the multi-volume sets Images: Critical and Primary Sources (2013), and Painting: Critical and Primary Sources (2015).

Jitish KallatWind Study (The Hour of the Day of the Month of the Season)Courtesy the artist 2015