Amar Kanwar,  still from A Night of Prophecy, 2002
Amar Kanwar
Still from A Night of Prophecy 2002

12 July – 3 November 2013
Tate Modern, Project Space, Level 1
Admission free
Open daily from 10.00–18.00 and late until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information please print www.tate.org.uk or 020 7887 8888 

Tate Modern will present a new group exhibition in its Project Space about the relationship between language and power. Word. Sound. Power. is the result of a curatorial collaboration between Tate Modern inLondon and Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi, who will take the exhibition in early 2014. Opening in London on 12 July 2013, the show brings together eight emerging and established international artists, including new and specially commissioned works. 

The gallery’s window will be transformed into an ‘invisible speaker’ for the exhibition, playing Caroline Bergvall’s Voice 2007. This spoken-word piece involves Bergvall reading poetic verses which describe the varied and familiar experiences of the human voice. Also on display will be a new film work by Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, which was specially commissioned for the exhibition. This work follows the lives of four young men, living in the local communities around Tate Modern and Khoj. United through hip-hop culture, dance, rap and poetry, this piece highlights their attempts to find expression and empowerment.

Word. Sound. Power. will also feature performances by Indian artist Mithu Sen. In the afternoons of 12, 13 and 14 July she will make public readings of a new work entitled I am a Poet 2013, which she describes as being ‘not bound by rules of grammar, diction, vocabulary and syntax’. By speaking this ‘asemic’ text – a kind of abstract, non-sense writing – Sen highlights how access to power is intrinsically linked to the use of language. The politics of speaking and listening is further explored in the work of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, whose audio documentary The Whole Truth 2012 and voice maps Conflicted Phonemes 2012 will also be on display. In these works, the artist examines a practice used by immigration departments across Europe in which a person’s accent is analysed to validate their eligibility for asylum.

Poetry and song play an integral role in this exhibition and are explored through the work of four documentary and experimental filmmakers. An early work by radical filmmaker Amar Kanwar, A Night of Prophecy 2002 records the songs of activists across the Indian regions of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, and Kashmir. An adaptation of Anjali Monteiro & K.P. Jayasankar’s film Saccha (The Loom) 2001 features the poet Narayan Surve’s encounter with politics through his poetry. Surve was at the forefront of Mumbai’s role as the birth place of the Indian textile industry and industrial working class. Pallavi Paul’s films Nayi Kheti (New Harvest) 2013 and Shadkosh (A Dictionary) 2013 combine fiction with documentary and found footage in order to construct metaphysical conversations between poets living through different epochs of history. 

Project Space: Word. Sound. Power. is curated by Loren Hansi Momodu at Tate Modern and Andi-Asmita Rangari from Khoj International Artists’ Association. The curatorial exchange is supported by Tate International Council with the collaboration of Gasworks.

Notes to Editor

Performances

Mithu Sen I am a Poet, 2013
Friday 12- Sunday 14 July
13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00
In exhibition. Free

Artist Mithu Sen will make public readings from her book of abstracted poetic text throughout the opening weekend.

Screenings

Anand Patwardhan Jai Bhim Comrade, 2012
India 180 min
Monday 15 July
17.00-21.00
Starr Auditorium 

Shown as part of the retrospective:
A Cinema of Songs and People: the films of Anand Patwardhan
12 July 2013 -28 July 2013
Organised in collaboration with The Otolith Collective. 

A screening of Jai Bhim Comrade by Anand Patwardhan will take place on the 15 July 2013 as part of the retrospective A Cinema of Songs and People: the films of Anand Patwardhan at Tate Modern. Focusing on the voices of Dalit poets and activists through their long-standing tradition of street-songs, music and poetry the film captures the perseverance and resistance of an oppressed community through its soul-stirring songs and poetry. The date of the screening also marks a tribute and memorial to the spirited poet, singer and activist, Vilas Ghogre whose death becomes a poignant motivation for the film. Ghogre committed suicide on 15 July 1997, in horror and despair following the indiscriminate police firing at a predominantly Dalit community in Mumbai, killing men, women and children. Jai Bhim Comrade highlights a critical subaltern perspective to multiple layers of repression faced by the Dalit community and foregrounds a new generation of young activist songwriters such as Kabir Kala Manch who have been forced to go underground as the power of their words in protest have been viewed as a threat to the State. 

About Project Space 

Project Space at Tate Modern (formerly the Level 2 gallery) is dedicated to presenting contemporary art through a series of collaborations with cultural organisations around the world. The programme brings together emerging curators from both Tate Modern and other international venues for contemporary art to work together on an exhibition for both locations. Based on curatorial exchange and dialogue, the series showcases the work of new, recently established or rediscovered international artists. The exhibitions therefore open up the possibility of introducing new work and interpretations within differing global contexts.  The curatorial exchanges are organised in collaboration with Gasworks. 

This series of discursive exhibitions began in 2011 and, to date, has included collaborations with institutions in Amman, Lagos, Istanbul, Mexico City, Warsaw, Cairo and Lima. Forthcoming exhibitions are being developed with partners in Eastern Europe and Costa Rica. The Project Space series aims to explore the most challenging art of today as well as the complexities of operating within a global context for contemporary art.

About Khoj International Artists’ Association

Khoj began as a proposition – a space for artists, by artists. From its modest beginnings fifteen years ago as an annual workshop, Khoj has built an international reputation for outstanding alternative arts incubation. It plays a central role in the development of experimental, interdisciplinary and critical contemporary art practice in India, with a focus on building networks, developing alternative pedagogies and learning through collaboration and exchange.

Contact

For further information please contact Cecily Carbone, Tate Press Office

+44(0)20 7887 8731/4939   pressoffice@tate.org.uk   www.tate.org.uk