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Exhibition Spotlight: Kawita Vatanajyankur: Foul Play

July 2, 2019

Installation view of Kawita Vatanajyankur: Foul Play (June 5–September 22, 2019). Photograph by Tom Loonan. 

Currently on view in the museum's Gallery for New Media is a disorienting, wildly colorful installation of eight videos by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur.

In 2012, Vatanajyankur began making an ongoing series of videos in which uses her body in place of the tools more commonly used for everyday tasks. For instance, in The Scale of Justice, 2016 (the leftmost work in the image above), she deploys her body as the beam of a balance scale. Over the course of the video, unseen forces to the left and right of the screen launch cabbages into the large baskets suspended from her neck and ankles, causing the artist to tilt wildly and need to rebalance constantly against the magenta pink fulcrum. 

Despite their brightly colored backdrops, absurd performance like The Scale of Justice have dark undertones: Vatanajyankur's arduous, if ridiculous, acts of endurance dramatize work typically performed by women outside public view, in spaces ranging from homes to textile factories, to little acclaim, creating an indelible image of the paradoxes of twenty-first-century labor.

Kawita Vatanajyankur: Foul Play is on view through September 22, 2019.