Touch IV

Navjot Altaf


22 monitors video installation : 2010

A project in co-operation with Sangram Vamp and Muskan : Sangli


Bhimawa Golar, Rajendra Naik and Pandurang form Sangli in conversation with

Nancy Adajania, Geeta Chadda and Navjot Altaf

  December, 15, 2010  - January,  1, 2011


N a v j o t   A l t a f

Touch IV

On view till January 1, 2011


Bhimawa Golar, Rajendra Naik and Pandurang from Sangram,Sangli will be in conversation with Nancy Adajania, Gita Chadha and Navjot Altaf on December 16, 2010 | 6:30 pm

at The Guild, Mumbai

The Guild is proud to present 22 monitor video installation Touch IV by Navjot Altaf at The Guild, Mumbai.

“The video installation 'Touch IV', whose central protagonists are sex workers and members of the third gender community, is a culmination of Navjot's three-decade-long preoccupation with representing the voice of the subaltern in art. I would contend that at the core of Navjot's practice lies her unceasing awareness of being a linguistic subjectivity, an image-maker who nonetheless forms her social and political associations through language. Navjot has a deep commitment to language in all its various manifestations, its ability to unmask power asymmetry and the occlusion of truth, with its wager on multi-pronged articulation. But her commitment to language is held in counterpoint by her apprehension of being stalled by word-induced aporia, of being interpellated or otherwise reduced by language, of being trapped by language.

…In 'Touch IV', unlike earlier video installations like 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' or 'Pavan Kumar', Navjot's subaltern protagonists discussed and even at times dictated the terms of how they wished to be represented. In the Spivakian sense, Navjot has traversed the journey from the difficulties of inter-subjective communication, as immortalised in the question 'Can the subaltern speak?', to clearing the ground to make such speech-acts possible. This should not mislead the viewer into thinking that if the subaltern speaks, s/he will be automatically heard. As in Navjot's earlier works, the viewer has to make an effort to understand what is being enunciated, with 22 voices available on the headphones of television monitors.

These voices belong to people who are part of a movement of resistance against societal norms that consider their sex-work as a social aberration and their sexuality as deviant behaviour. Their solidarity has been manifested in a large 5000-member organisation, Sangram, which has been working with women's collectives on prostitution for the last 15 years…” (Excerpt from an essay by Nancy Adajania)

Navjot Altaf’s work has been shown in Lacuna in Testimony, Patricia and Phillip  Frost Art Museum, Florida, 2009;Curated by Julia Herzberg  Public Places Private Spaces,  Newark Museum, New York and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis 2008; Curated by Gayatri Sinha and Paul Stern Berger,  Tiger by the Tail: Women Artists Transforming Culture,  Brandies University / Museum  Boston and New Brunswick Rutgers University, Douglass Library, Newark, 2008; Curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan, Elinor W.Gadon and Roobina Karode, Continuity and Transformation,  Provinciadi Milano,Italy, 2007;Curated by Daniela Palazzoli, Zones of Contact, 15th Biennale of Sydney Australia, 2006; Curated by Charles Merewether, Australia.   Groundworks, Carnegie Mellon University, (RMG) Pittsburgh, 2005;Grant Kester  Another Passage To India, Theatre Saint Gervais and Musee d’ Ethnographie, Geneva, Switzerland, 2004; Curated by Pooja Sood, Zoom – Art in Contemporary India, Edificia Sede de  Caixo Garal de Depositos, Lisbon, 2004; Curated by Luis Sepra and Nancy Adajania, Century City - Bombay/Mumbai: City Politics and Visual Culture in the 90’s, Tate Modern, London, 2001; Curated by Geeta Kapoor and Ashish Rajadhyaksha, subTerrain:artworks in the cityfold, ,Haus der Kulteren der Welt, Berlin. Curated by Geeta Kapur. 8th Havana Biennale: Art together with life, Cuba, 2003;Curated by Hilda Maria Rodriguez; LimiNAl zoNes, Curated by Pooja Sood, Apeejay Media Gallerry       New Delhi,2003; Solo exhibitions include:  Touch IV, Video Installation, Talwar Gallery, New Delhi, 2010; A Place in New York an interactive photo based project, The Guild, Mumbai, 2010; Touch- Remembering Altaf, Video and motor based sculpture Installation, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 2008;  Bombay Shots, an interactive photo based project, The Guild, Mumbai, 2008; Water Weaving, Video Installation, Talwar Gallery, New York, 2005; Junctions 1 2 3, The Guild, Mumbai, 2006 and Jagar Multimedia Installation, Sakshi Gallery Mumbai,2006 among others.


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