Ravi Agarwal

2nd Yinchuan Biennale 2018

Starting from the Desert
Ecologies on the Edge

curated by Marco Scotini

June 09 - September 19, 2018


Ravi Agarwal is represented in the 2nd Yinchuan Biennale, curated by Marco Scotini with curatorial team of Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah and Lu Xinghua. 

Installations using photographs, videos, diaries and text.

Ravi Agarwal presents two separate and interconnected bodies of work: The Room of the Seas and The Room of the Sands. The latter has been completed as a new commission for the Biennale. 

Both the bodies of work emerge from his long engagements with two landscapes – the desert and the sea. They are investigations of ways in which ecological landscapes are produced and inhabited as a set of complex interrelationships. They propose affective ways in which nature is lived and shaped from the ground up, as politics, identity, memory, language, food, values, culture and livelihood, as a means to explore diverse questions which inhabit an ecological space.

The Room of the Seas delves into multiple ways in which a local Tamil fisherman lives with the sea and its current changes of depleting fish stock, receding beaches, tourism and the changing coast line. Through an evocation of ancient Sangam Tamil landscape poetry, the works suggest an alternative relationship with nature. 

The Room of the Sands traverses a personal memory of a desert homeland in a now abandoned ancestral home. Pointing towards the loss of the local leading to the breakdown of ecological constructs of identity, food systems, water, and land, the terrain is now increasingly barren and infertile, as a ground for new industrial mining.  

Ravi Agarwal is a photographer artist, writer, curator and environmental activist. He explores issues of urban space, ecology and capital in an interrelated ways working with photographs, video, performance, on-site installations and public art.  Agarwal  has  participated  in  several  international  shows  including documenta  XI  (Kassel  2002),  Sharjah  Biennial  11  (2013);  ‘Zones  of  Contact:  Propositions  on  the Museum’, co-curated by  Vidya  Shivadas,  Akansha Rastogi, Deeksha  Nath, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida,  2013; ‘The  Needle  on  the  Gauge:  The  Testimonial  Image  in  the  works  of  Seven  Indian Artists’, curated by Ranjit  Hoskote, Contemporary Art Centre of SA, Adelaide,  Australia,  2012; ‘Newtopia’, curated  by  Katerina  Gregos,  various  Museum  venues,  Mechelen,  Belgium,  2012;  ‘Critical  Mass, Contemporary Art  from India’,  curated by  Tami Katz-Freiman and Rotem Ruff,  Tel  Aviv  Museum of  Contemporary Art,  Israel, 2012; ‘Z.N.E!,  Examples to Follow’,  curated by Adrienne Goehler,  traveling exhibition, Berlin, Mumbai,  Adis Ababba,  Beijing;  ‘Horn Please,’ Kunstmuseum, Bern, 2007, curated by Bernhard Fibicher and Suman Gopinath; ‘Indian Highway’ 2009 , Serpentine Gallery, curated byJulia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist  ; ‘Generation in Transition: New Art from India,’ Zacketa  National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania  curated by Magda Kardasz;  ‘The Eye is a Lonely  Hunter:  Images  of  Humankind,’ at  Fotofestival  Mannheim_ludwigshafen_Heidelberg,  curated by Katerina Gregos and Solvej Helweg Ovesen;  ‘After  the Crash’ at Museo Orto Botanico, Rome.  His recent solo shows being ‘Of Value and Labour’, at The Guild, Mumbai, 2011;  ‘Flux: Dystopia, Utopia, Heterotopia,’ Gallery Espace, New Delhi.  Agarwal recently co-curated  a twin city public art project, Yamuna-Elbe.Public.Art.Outreach.  He writes extensively on ecological issues, and is also founder of the leading Indian environmental NGO, Toxics Link. He is an engineer by training.



© 2018 The Guild | All rights reserved

Find us on