The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art presents an online adaptation of the original on-site exhibition ‘Delirium // Equilibrium – Videos, Films and Kinetic Objects from the KNMA Collection curated by Roobina Karode (Director & Chief Curator, KNMA) in 2018, the initial exhibition physically displayed the exhibits in the black boxes of the museum. In the present virtual rendition, the displays are once again emphasised on, through documented still and moving images, by illuminating the need for a rewiring of the world around and introspecting the crisis-ridden conditions of contemporary life. Accentuating the importance of introspection over intervention, reflection over recreation, the sixteen artists in the exhibition also intend to probe perpetual desires of human beings and their shared will to survive.
Diverse forms of sensory experience and expression employed in the artworks approach unresolved queries around a complex meshing of human emotions, traversing the feelings of sanity, guilt, confession, emancipation, affection, intrigue, etc. Retaining hope despite the apparent disposableness of the human race in the age of global catastrophes, many of these exhibits indicate tendencies to retreat into oneself, almost as a compulsive civic duty in a world ravaged by the pandemic. The exhibits also focus on the outward kinesis within living beings in search of general betterment. KNMA is restaging these artworks to investigate the predispositions specific to the contemporary, provoking varied audience responses.
A virtual rendition of a one time physical exhibition demands new means of viewing. It is introduced by juxtaposing documented still and moving images, along with a reimagined dialogue between the exhibits. It also raises fundamental questions such as, ‘Is not the very idea of art itself a vision of survival and resistance, a hope for a better tomorrow?’ Evaluating and introspecting the viability of the ideal of equilibrium in a world shaped by the pandemic, civil wars, and unending ecological crisis; the exhibition investigates the present through a series of conceptual and visual montage. Sporadic images, flashing on the screen, thus create a collage of fragmented ideas – like a figure dressed in white navigating the water rowing a boat of ice until it melts, a famous mathematician withdrawing from the pressing needs of everyday life, and defunct machines and everyday home appliances laid out on a long table denying functionality and service. These characters and objects negotiate between ideas around want and need, the inutile and the expedient, memory and forgetting. Through them, the virtual interpretation proposed in the exhibition aims to unlock pockets of the collective unconscious. Looking at how delirium and equilibrium are the two existential modalities unique to the present, the exhibition brings out apprehensions, anxieties and secret desires that we all share in our quest for the possibility of healing and survival.