Rummana Hussain, A Space for Healing, 1999
IN ORDER TO JOIN – The Political in a Historical Moment, 2013-2015, curated with Susanne Titz
Städtisches Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach, Germany
Gallery Max Mueller Bhavan and
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, India
Angela Grauerholz, Rummana Hussain, Mona Hatoum, Chohreh Feyzdjou, Astrid Klein, Helen Chadwick, Sheela Gowda, Adrian Piper, Rosemarie Trockel, Pushpamala N., Shelagh Keeley, Ana Mendieta, Jamelie Hassan, and Lala Rukh
This group exhibition brings together women artists born between 1947 and 1957. This frame or bracket of time has been intentionally selected to study the work of artists who were born in a postwar, post-Partition era. We have invited artists that work within a political framework that address nationalism, institutions, and question their own position by creating complicated interpretations that evade easy tropes of legibility. These artists have practices that enter and depart from dialogues with larger encompassing historical movements, yet are not positioned within any. This ‘instability’ is due to the nature of their work or their choice of media and the concerns that have run through their practices; there is the dominance of conceptual strategies and thinking, and ultimately, they are both working with and against the possibility of ‘joining’. We have taken the work of Rummana Hussain (1952-99) as an opening position in order to consider how one responds to a rapid moment of political change. Hussain’s work emblematizes the effect that globalization created in Bombay/Mumbai in the 1990s, leading to a re-establishment of conservative values, traditions and an artificial nationalism with a need to identify an “Indian-ness” to which she could not belong. The title of the exhibition is taken from a residency/exhibition that Hussain held at Art in General, New York, in 1998.
In creating a historical discourse for histories that are neglected, our exhibition considers the work these artists made in the early part of their career, or the work that represents a turning point. This exhibition touches upon feminism whilst looking at artists’ works that represent a certain social liberalization, emancipation, and the beginnings of global identities. Whether their work can be read as overtly activist or poetic, the positions they begin with are founded in a political stance and space.