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A Visitor’s Book

We would like to congratulate the artist, who since 2014, has been intricately exploring national/regional/local museums across India, documenting their display schema as well as the way in which communities across the spectrum engage with works of art. This process was accompanied by chronicling comments made within visitors’ books which ranged from the cynical, satirical to the acclamatory. Calia’s growing archive of public appraisal has now been brought together in the form of a new (visitor’s) photobook – a subjective, deeply incisive commentary on viewership through innovative, subversive and poetic interplay. Accompanied by his drawings that translate both spatial and spectral experiences into two dimensional renditions, his overall artistic/documentary approach both deepens and widens the viewing experience of our cultural institutions. How are museums dynamic sites of visual assertion (?) and is there evidence of estrangement in Calia’s book, a veiled yet deftly-articulated suggestion of a revisionist counter-structure to state interventionism?

Philippe Calia (b. 1985, Paris) is an artist, photographer and filmmaker. Based in India since 2011, his documentary approach can be considered ‘long-form’. Calia works with multiple media and diverse artistic approaches – still and moving image, figuration and abstraction – in order to explore forms of memory. Working with ephemeral/endangered archives or mundane visual material his work delves into the relationship between absence and presence. Calia’s work has received several awards and has been exhibited in various institutions, galleries and festivals across Europe and Asia including the Rencontres d’Arles (France, 2023); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (Germany, 2023); SIPF (Singapore, 2022); UP Gallery (Taiwan, 2021). In India, he is represented by TARQ (Mumbai), where his first solo show, Lēthē was held in 2022. His photo and video works have been featured in publications such as The New YorkerLe MondeArt India and The Indian Quarterly. He currently lives and works in Bangalore.

We would like to thank all the participants for their time and commitment, and look forward to submissions for our future grants as well.