Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal (Exhibition View)

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.

This view of the entrance hall to the exhibition highlights multiple elements of the multimedia installation, including railway tracks, a theatre and a shelf of archival boxes. Imprinted on the ceiling of the hall is a quote from a poem by famed turn-of-the-century Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore: 'That is best, every age does not bring its own end. Does not complete the song, It leaves behind dissatisfied sighs in the wind.' Vivan’s use of the influential modernist's material can be seen elsewhere in the installation; however, it is the placement of the text on the 6 ft. high dome which asks the viewer to look up to read and ponder as it motions toward the literal high point of enterprise in colonial India.

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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Structures of Memory: Modern Bengal (Exhibition View)