Loss of art is a loss of history, a loss of spirit of time. A progeny of the society that gestated it, an artwork embodies a past and a history in itself. It therefore survives as a filial relic of the parent civilization, fossilized in time yet fresh as a Mayflower. Yet art itself is far from immortal. Its preservation and salvation has always been a battle against nature, time—and, man.
Despite tremendous efforts, countless artworks have been destroyed throughout the ages during military conflicts or at the hands of ever-changing political regimes. They have succumbed to obscurity through obliteration, some vaguely recorded on aging fragile material, or unfortunately never documented at all. Then there are times when works that found their afterlife in documentation are also destroyed; a final loss of what was already lost.
In this lecture, Chicago based artist Shaurya Kumar will discuss his works that rhetorically raises concerns regarding methods of documentation, archiving, curation and preservation in the “Post-Post” society – a world that is often mediated through the plastic pixels of a computer screen.
A native of Delhi, India where he studied printmaking and painting at the College of Art; Shaurya Kumar graduated with his MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2007. Since 2001, Kumar has been involved in numerous prestigious research projects, like “The Paintings of India” (a series of 26 documentary films on the painting tradition of India); "Handmade in India" (an encyclopedia on the handicraft traditions of India); and digital restorations of 6th century Buddhist mural paintings from the caves of Ajanta.
Kumar’s research is focused on creating works which appreciate and appropriate new media while highlighting the dangers of its longevity; and the disconnect between the virtual and the real. His work is an investigation of art and technology, and the rift that lies between. Ultimately, his work is a dialogue about site, how site effects and affects data and therefore a society, a culture, a people and ultimately a person.
Kumar's work has been showcased in numerous national and international exhibitions across the US and in countries including India, China, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, U.K., Norway, France, Australia and Finland among many others. His works have been installed at venues including the UNM Art Museum, Albuquerque; SCA Contemporary, Albuquerque; Queens Museum, NYC; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai; New Art Center, NYC; Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Georgia; Schneider Museum of Art, Oregon; Charleston Heights Art Center, Las Vegas among many others.
Kumar currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more details, please visit http://www.shauryakumar.com
Bodhisattvas and Deities on the West Wall of the Ceiling | 7th - 8th century c.e. | Mural Painting Cave 620 Bamiyan, Afghanistan | Destroyed
The West Pediment of the Parthenon (From a drawing by Jacques Carrey in 1674 c.e.) 5th century B.C.E.,Athens, Greece,Sculptures destroyed
Apsara | Ajanta, Maharashtra | Rabbit Skin Glue, Marble Dust, Pigment on Wood | 51” x 34.5” | 2011