New Release – Arc Silt Dive: The Works of Sheba Chhachhi

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Arc Silt Dive front cover

Edited by Kumkum Sangari

Essays by Kumkum Sangari, Gayatri Sinha, Nancy Adajania
Design: Sherna Dastur
Published by Tulika Books in association with Volte Gallery

March 2016 • 10.5 x 13 inches • 352 pages • Full colour throughout • Hardback • ISBN 978-93-82381-76-1 • Rs 4975

Arc Silt Dive is about the work of Sheba Chhachhi; it maps her methods, the modes of address and inquiry in her photographs, animated lightboxes, videos and installations. Translating the rich immersive experience of multidimensional installations into flat images, prose text and verbal description was a challenge. Yet this change of medium need not be reductive; rather, it may be seen as a bound moment in the peripatetic trajectory of installations which are frequently reworked and retested at different sites, and face new formal and contextual dilemmas in each.
The artworks reproduced in the book are not sequenced chronologically; rather, following arcs of connectivity and unexpected conjunction, they are reclustered thematically and visually, re-installed along some of their own overlaps, intersections or displacements. The installations convey a sense of recursive reflection in the circulation of images, concepts, concerns, in which little seems to be permanently abandoned and much is reworked, often in technological mediums falling into market-induced obsolescence.

Over the last three decades, Sheba Chhachhi has developed an art practice that traverses the fields of documentary photography, installation, video and new media, creating immersive environments and bringing the contemplative into the political, in both site-specific public art and independent works. She has created a number of large photo-based installations incorporating light, sound and the moving image, and pursued long-term photography projects such as on women-ascetics and the female body. Chhachhi experiments across the spectrum of durational mediums from pre-cinematic animated lightboxes to virtual reality interactivity, as well as in diverse sites: community centres, galleries, shopping malls, public institutions. These experiments are marked by a special interest in exploring relationships with viewers/participants. Since 1999, public art interventions have been a significant aspect of her work.

Kumkum Sangari worked as a UGC Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and is the William F. Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She has published extensively in journals and anthologies on British, American and Indian literatures, literary and critical theory, religious conversion, South Asian medieval oral devotional traditions, nationalist figures such as M.K. Gandhi and Annie Besant, Bombay cinema and the partition of 1947, televisual memory, contemporary feminist art practice, as well as on personal law, domestic labour, the beauty industry, sex selection, dowry, domestic violence, widow immolation and communal violence She is the author of Solid:Liquid: a (trans)national reproductive formation (2015) and Politics of the Possible: Essays on gender, history, narratives, colonial English(1999); editor of Trace Retrace: Paintings, Nilima Sheikh (2012); and co-editor of Women and Culture (1985),Recasting Women: Essays in colonial history (1989), and From Myths to Markets: Essays on gender (1999).

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