Body Is A Situation
Body Is A Situation
Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is delighted to present Body Is A Situation by Nandita Raman. In her first New York City solo exhibition, Raman looks at the most available body, her own, in an effort to locate herself in the here and now; and opens it up to performativity of gender. In so looking, she embodies Simone de Beauvoir’s sentiment: “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project”.
Acting almost as a visitor in her hometown of Varanasi, India, Raman writes: “How do I experience my body as I traverse the city full of female deities but where women are conspicuously absent from public spaces?” This text accompanies the exhibition and provides diaristic insights into the artist’s process and influences. Questions are posed aside photographic images which range in content from abstract shapes and symbols to images of the books she is reading. In one image, Raman photographs layered pages from both From Merchants to Emperors: British Artist in India and India Journals, Allen Ginsberg’s diary; this image in turn acts as a collage of the mystique of the East, the history of travelers to Banaras (Varanasi), and the abundance of drawings, paintings and photographs of the city.
Starting out as a project on Varanasi, the works act simultaneously as a self-portrait. In addition to the photographs, the exhibition also includes drawings of her feet, firmly planted on the paper and traced to scale. The notion of being grounded and fixed were integral in the creation of the work. In contrast Ink Drops was created as the artist unfolded herself from a crouching position to standing as she dropped the ink on the paper in a gesture towards the materiality of the body and traveling through that physicality. Through these works, Raman’s self exploration of place, time, and physicality creates a meditative and timely commentary on the different representations of the female body and experience within contemporary society.
Nandita Raman (b. Varanasi, India) works with a range of mediums including photography, video, language and drawing. Her work has most notably been exhibited at Franz Josefs Kai3, Vienna, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University and Columbia University. Her cinema hall photographs were exhibited the George Eastman Museum in fall 2017. She has curated a number of exhibitions including “I need my memories. They are my documents” a group exhibition at SepiaEYE, NY and Riktata [emptiness] at Kriti Gallery in Varanasi. She is a recipient of Alkazi Foundation’s Documentary Photography Grant for her ongoing project Letters to Alice, Bill and Allen and currently a Workspace Resident at Baxter St Camera Club of New York. Nandita is a graduate of the Bard College-International Center of Photography MFA program and teaches at SUNY Purchase.