[Exhibition in Singapore] Tautology of Memory


National University of Singapore Museum cordially invites you to an exhibition opening and panel discussion

30 May 2012, Wednesday, 6:30pm, NUS Museum

Admission free. To register email: museum[at]nus.edu.sg or call 6516 8817 / 8429

Tautology of Memory is a single channel video shot by artist Rupal Shah at the archaeological site of Ajanta in Western India. The display is mediated through the multiplicity of voices that define an archaeological site, including the echoes of the tour-guide focusing on the murals and frescoes, constantly alluding to and reifying popular perceptions; the artist partializes this reification by employing her child’s exploration of the caves.

Simultaneously, curatorial interventions first engage with colonial India’s foremost architectural historian, James Fergusson’s publication Rock-Cut Temples of India, a detailed and systematic documentation of Ajanta containing the photographs by another nineteenth century military-surveyor Robert Gill; and second with a 1927 newspaper report which applauds a decade-long documentation project undertaken by an art school student, Syed Ahmad at Ajanta.

Evoking ironies, paradoxes and humour which descend on history and its sites, acutely choreographed between text, fragment and aesthetic, juxtapositions made playful with comments on colonial and postcolonial mappings of archaeological heritage, one is compelled to ask, does Ajanta lend itself for official surveys, archaeological scholarship, artistic projects or the heritage-making industry? What remains asserted, what has been reclaimed?

National University of Singapore Museum is an Asia Europe Museum Network member. The exhibition, Tautology of Memory, will run until December 28th 2012

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