| Transboundary – Exposing the Porosity of the Concept of National Borders
Reena Saini Kallat
Reena Saini Kallat’s practice evolves around the tension between the concept of barriers in a world fundamentally shaped by mobility and interaction. Exploring the divisive narratives around national and geopolitical borders and their impact on identity and self-image for people and their immediate environment, she is also concerned with social and psychological barriers. That barriers give way, and can be subverted, is an idea that is pronounced in Kallat’s work using electric cables twisted to resemble barbed wire. She uses the paradox of the existence of technology for free flow of information and restriction on movement. In order to expose the ambiguity of national narratives, the figure of the hybrid has come to hold symbolic potential in her practice, as a truant against dividing lines: Kallat creates hybrids of animals and plants that are strongly associated with national identity, only to show that nature defies the violent cleaving through land and nature, and uses the motif of the river, which is often both, border and lifeline to both sides. Kallat’s work reveals the idea of isolation as an illusion, and instead suggests to embrace a pluralism of cultures.
REENA SAINI KALLAT (*1973, Delhi) is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists from India. Having studied painting in Mumbai, where she also lives today, her practice spans drawing, sculpture and installation, photography and video. Her interest in political and social borders resonates with the continuing aftershocks of the Partition in India, which her paternal family experienced. Her work is widely exhibited at international institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, among many others.