Museum of Shedding
Dayanita Singh

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Pera Museum, in collaboration with Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is one of the main venues for this year’s 15th Istanbul Biennial from 16 September to 12 November 2017.
Through the biennial, we will be sharing detailed information about the artists and the artworks. First we are sharing about Museum of Shedding by Dayanita Singh. You can view this artwork on our second floor, at the “Intersecting Worlds” collection exhibition. Enjoy!

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The word ‘curate’ comes from the Latin wordto ‘care for’ (cura), a fact that points to a link between artistic custodianship and notions of care, attention and stewardship. Dayanita Singh explores this shared history, often by inviting viewers to combine or reconfigure photographic documents within an exhibition setting. Her works extend the way in which our own homes are subjectively assembled to reflect ‘us’ – our preferences, memories and views. They ask viewers to consider the conventions of memory implied by interior arrangements, and to reflect on what is communicated by the conditions of their arrangement and display, while linking them to other interior spaces of containment such as museums or historical archives. Her ‘museums’ – capturing homes, or images of her friends and neighbourhood – are portable structures; subjectively captured, they can be subjectively reconfigured too.

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For her Museum of Shedding (2016), Singh presents an architectural space for an imagined curator of a museum: the image of someone who seems to work and live together with art. The Museum of Shedding represents a notion of the museum stripped down to its essence: basic objects and furniture. In the room, the desk of a museum curator is placed alongside simple objects such as a bench, stool and display cabinet. Aside from these furnishings, the works housed within this ‘museum’ are Singh’s black and white photographs of architectural spaces such as homes, hotels and religious sites – locations of habitation, transit or devotion. Some photographs suggest past unrest, while others are coolly meditative and austere. None contain people. Singh’s act of sequencing images for display, communicated through the gridded structure of a viewing cabinet, conjures the processes of reshuffling enacted when we choose to curate, to care for, or to document. The work serves more generally as a metaphor for the processes of artistic custodianship, and the linking of space and memory. In presenting this museum, Singh is interested in archives as sites where space and time are joined, as well as the acts of memory that are invoked when we select and recombine from the past.

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