Walsh Gallery

Jitish Kallat: The Lie of the Land


Dates: Sep 3 2004 - Sep 25 2004

Opening Reception: Sep 10 2004

September 11, 1893 / September 11, 2001: 108 years later in America

Chicago, Illinois;

On September 11th, 1893 Swami Vivekananda gave a speech in Chicago at the World Congress of Religions about the dangers of religious orthodoxy. 108 years later on September 11th, 2001 the tragedy of the World Trade Center occurred. Jitish Kallat, an artist from India, addresses a new global era of religious fanaticism and violence in his solo show at Walsh Gallery. The exhibition, "The Lie of the Land", will run from September 3rd through the 25th. The artist will be coming from India for the opening reception on Friday, September 10th from 5 - 9pm.

Mr. Kallat will be debuting paintings, photography, works on paper, as well as a 15-foot text-based work on acrylic mirror.

The central piece in the exhibit is called "Detergent". This mirror-based work contains the actual text used by Swami Vivekananda. The text is hand-inscribed on mirrors using adhesive that is then cremated. The burning process melts the mirror surface and thus the reflected body of the viewer is split and distorted in and around the text. Mr. Kallat juxtaposes the text content, which addresses hope for the end of religious fanaticism in 1893, with the reality of our September 11, 2001. Mr. Kallat believes that we have moved into "a new era of religiously motivated violence." He addresses this global unrest whether referring to atrocities committed in Iraq or the violence in Gujerat, India.

As a source for his work, Mr. Kallat uses either his own photographs or those from the media. He distorts and splits the photos using low technology instruments such as fax machines, photocopiers, and vacuums. These images are then used as the starting point for his paintings. As the artist says, "My art, while it appears like graffiti-ridden, pop-infected paintings, addresses the classical themes of art: birth, death, mortality, ancestry."

Mr. Kallat's seven canvases entitled "Covering Letter" are a fusion of these global images. The images are derived from the "data-glut of global media evoking violence, greed, hunger and power are all intertwined and cross-referenced to hold up an epic narrative of contemporary world struggles."

Mr. Kallat's paintings have been seen in museums around the world including The House of World Cultures (Berlin), The Culturgest Museum (Lisbon), The Tate Modern (London), The National Art Gallery (Malaysia), and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan. Mr. Kallat's paintings have also been included in several biennials and triennials.