Review /

The Otolith Group Project 88 / Mumbai

The Otolith Group was established 12 years ago, when Kodwo Enshun, having a film theory and literature background met Anjalika Sagar, an anthropologist. Drawn towards each other by essay films, they created their first film together about a state of no gravity and weightlessness, OtolithI, which became the first film of a successful trilogy, which followed in the coming years.

Their work was nominated for the Turner prize, and apart from filmmaking, they are critically acclaimed for their writing, curatorial practice and publications.

Their first solo exhibition in Project 88, Mumbai, is titled Westfailure, inspired from ‘The Westfailure System’, an influential essay written by British Economist Susan Strange in 1999. An innuendo, referring to the international political system of states, claiming exclusive authority to legitimate violence within their territories. This was called the Treaty of Westphalia, signed European powers in Westphalia, Germany in 1648.

Since 2002, The Otolith Group has drawn their inspiration from events in the twentieth century, applying their sensibilities to intervene the narratives. “Their work has proposed aesthetic hypotheses that emphasize methods of comparability and modes of connectability”. The exhibition will exhibit new works such as Anathema and Timeline, based on their approach to subjects like Capitalism, Communism, and such issues, which have affected society and still exist, deeply rooted. The works are complex, and exist in several layers, raising questions of the past in relation to the present and the future. They explore the medium, continuously stretching the boundaries of how images can be approached and understood in various ways in relation to the subject.

To compliment the artist and the context of the work is the space in which they will be on display. Project 88 is a century old metal printing press with heavy columns and exposed iron sections across the ceiling. This juxtaposition of the old and new, past and present in relation to space, time and context creates a symbiotic relevance to the works.

by Kanchi Mehta