Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal — Actor's Charade (Detail)

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

Access level

Online

practitioner

Vivan SUNDARAM

Publication/Creation date

1998

Creation place

India

Medium

Site-specific installation

Dimension

Dimensions variable

Content type

artwork documentation

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Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal — Actor's Charade (Detail)