Amar Kanwar “The Peacock’s Graveyard” at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York 

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The multi-channel installation was originally commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 15. Peacock’s Graveyard The 2023 combines images and sounds to reflect on the transience in existence.

The lyrical images are projected onto seven screens. The Peacock’s Graveyard These images emerge and recede, first individually and then simultaneously. They take us on an abstract trip. These images, which form a visual haiku in different channels of the exhibition space are overlaid by texts, stories written by Kanwar that draw on received narratives and oral histories, blending old and modern folklore with personal experience.

Kanwar’s work offers a unique perspective through which to examine collective and individual truths. Kanwar employs a range of editing and staging styles that invite viewers reflect on noncanonical wisdom. In this manner, The Peacock’s Graveyard His work departs from previous documentary strategies, articulating a need for a new metaphysical organization of thought which allows one to glimpse into another world. Kanwar’s work has always operated with the premise that rationality and power cannot and do not exhaust the possibilities of life. The work remains critically engaged with a range of forces that impact individual lives. It presents a suite parables, which are more obliquely addressing questions of responsibility, ethos, and loss.

Of the work, the artist writes that it is “[…] not a lament or mourning, but perhaps a kind of gift, a collection of stories, some ancient, some new, something to keep by one’s side every day, or take along if going someplace, or to help us reconfigure life, ideologies, politics, solidarities, social movements. These stories lay the groundwork for reflecting on our unbearable arrogance, delusions and deep desire for violence.”

Kanwar’s poetic films and video installations have explored the political, social, economic and ecological conditions of our times, often focusing on the Indian subcontinent. His work traces globalization and decolonization’s legacy, land use and border issues, environmental concerns, freedom of expression, human rights, and sexual violence. His philosophical investigations are grounded in disparate narrative structures that are interwoven throughout his inquiries. Kanwar creates meditative pieces through hybrid installations that combine images, poetry, music and literature. These works do not seek to represent trauma so much as find ways to overcome it. How can a landscape be both beautiful and violent? How can poetry serve as evidence? And how do visions in darkness bring light and new pedagogies to the world? Kanwar’s work looks deeply into the causes and effects, and of how they are translYou can find out more about this ated into everyday life and cultural forms.

at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York 
Until February 24, 2024

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