Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal — Actor's Charade

Installation titled Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal by Indian artist Vivan Sundaram (b.1943, Simla), site-specifically installed at Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta, India, in 1998. 

Hosted in the colonial monument located in the center of Calcutta, the multimedia installation includes several elements brought together in a single standing historical structure. The installation uses historical textual and visual references to draw parallels both conceptually and visually. Using the original space as a platform, it functions as a site-specific interactive and participatory work.

Actor's Charade
is a section of Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal which consists of life-size clay figures from Kalighat that display characteristic gestures of famous Bengali actors in key roles. The text written on their bodies can also be heard being read aloud on an audio recording. For the creation of this work, Vivan Sundaram referred to Natya Shodh Sansthan, an archive of Indian theatre.

Other credits:
Sculpture: Sudhir K. Paul; text selection: Samik Banerjee, courtesy Natya Shodh Sansthan; voice for Jahanara: Ketaki Dutta; sound editing: Koushik Sarkar; display: Rajesh Chakravarty and Dibyendu Ukil

Exhibition history: ‘Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal,’ site-specific installation at Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta, 1998.

Alternative title

Structures of Memory | The History Project

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Site-specific installation


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artwork documentation

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Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal — Actor's Charade

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