Astha Butail's studies on memory and living traditions go on show at In the Absence of Writing

The Gujral Foundation presents In the Absence of Writing, a solo exhibition by Astha Butail, curated by Reha Sodhi.

author_img JD Sen Published :  23rd January 2019 06:12 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd January 2019 06:12 PM
Astha Butail

Astha Butail

The Gujral Foundation is hosting the solo exhibition, In the Absence of Writing by Astha Butail at its experimental site, 24 Jor Bagh, in New Delhi, as a collateral event of India Art Fair 2019.

The project is a culmination of the artist’s year-long journey in researching memory and living traditions that are passed on through teachings and oral poetry, with a focus on Zoroastrian Avesta, the Jewish Oral Torah and Indian Vedic philosophy. 

As a multidisciplinary artist, Butail trained in textile design and has studied Sanskrit. She uses geometry, cultural systems and oral traditions as metaphors to respond to her research. 

Drawing parallels between traditions, she presents her journey through abstracted hymns from the Rig Veda and varied mediums; video, sound, sculpture and experiential installations invite the viewer to an interactive exploration of cultural values, lived spaces and notions of time.

Butail received BMW’s Art Journey award for her research in 2017-2018. The upcoming show is curated by Reha Sodhi and will include new works, as interventions in the space at 24 Jor Bagh, commissioned by The Gujral Foundation.

"Astha Butail's work reflects the depth of her research across diverse cultures and her versatility as an artist skilled in many disciplines. We are delighted to present her solo as the foundation's first project of the year, and are looking forward to introducing new audiences to her innovative artistic practice," says Feroze Gujral, Founder & Director, The Gujral Foundation and Founder Director, Outset India. 

Varanasi, building the tent for memory recitations (2017)

“In ancient traditions, memory and knowledge were often transferred using the basis of mathematics and algorithms, Astha Butail's practice responds to this by incorporating geometry to explore ways in which composite elements relate to a whole. In a fast-paced, technology-driven world, Butail reconnects us to worlds in which traditions and ideas are still shared slowly, through deeper interpersonal connections,” offers Curator Reha Sodhi.

Born in 1977 in Amritsar, Butail’s recent solo exhibitions include Locus of Being (2017) and Manifested Ratios (2014) at GallerySKE, Bangalore.

Her group exhibitions include Unearth: Matter, Time, Process (2017) at Exhibit320, New Delhi; Raster: Emerging from the Grid (2016) at Experimenter, Kolkata; Codes of Culture (2015) at GallerySKE, New Delhi; Make/Do (2014) at GallerySKE, New Delhi; Fracture: Indian Textiles, New Conversations (2015) and Sarai 09: The Exhibition (2013) at Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon. The artist lives and works in Gurgaon, India, and is represented in India by GallerySKE.

At Dead Sea, the border of Jerusalem, tent with a recitation (2018)

The Gujral Foundation is a non-profit trust set up in 2008 to nurture talent in the arts, architecture and design in India. Founded by Mohit and Feroze Gujral – the son and daughter-in-law of the renowned Indian modern artist Satish Gujral- it has been recognised as one of India’s leading art foundations.

A Trustee and Co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Founder Director of Outset India, Feroze Gujral was previously on the boards of the IGNCA in New Delhi, the Serpentine Galleries in London and the Guggenheim Museum.

(3+1) Cabinets (2017-’18)

Prominent initiatives supported by the Gujral Foundation include the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (as venue patron for Aspinwall House and Cabral Yard), My East is Your West – a collateral event at the 56th Venice Biennale, Contour Biennale 8, the 11th Shanghai Biennale, the 8th Berlin Biennale and the contemporary artists Desire Machine Collective at The British Museum. 

A collateral event of India Art Fair 2019, In the Absence of Writing, a solo exhibition by Astha Butail, curated by Reha Sodhi and co-hosted by The Gujral Foundation, will be on view from February 2-28, 2019 at 24 Jor Bagh, New Delhi.