Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta presents That photo we never got, a research-based project that sets out to explore the worlds of friendships, associations, love, and incongruities in the field of art. Working alongside AAA Senior Researcher Sabih Ahmed, the artist draws out narratives from the 60s, 70s, and 80s to follow the innumerable tangents and overlapping vectors across and beyond the Archive’s collection.
From documents about art institutions, to artist-organised camps, workshops, exhibitions, and publications, to travels around the world, the project extends itself into some of the addas and activities in Mumbai. It looks into stories of how various artistic positions drifted and altered over the course of time, as well as the question of how belonging to an art world is itself sometimes partial. By drawing out narratives from the AAA collection, incomplete stories are gathered around chance encounters and fraught friendships, some imagined and others not, revealing the varied aspirations of artists and their relationships to their peers, their cities, and the world.
Gupta’s practice delves into the dynamics of contexts, perception, and cartographies of knowledge, and has often incorporated methods of archiving into her work. While a number of stories gathered in this project had an archival trail to follow, others surfaced as annotations from conversations and interviews conducted during its research. As the artist herself stated, ‘an archive can only be a proposal’, this project positions itself as an incomplete proposition of fragments placed in the interstices of the archival document and living memory.
Shilpa Gupta lives and works in Mumbai. Her works have been shown at Tate Modern, London; Serpentine Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Mori Museum, Tokyo; New Museum, New York; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UEA; Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; Liverpool Biennial ’06, as well as other museums and venues throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The artist and AAA extend their sincere thanks to the following individuals who generously contributed to this project: Navjot Altaf, Pablo Bartholomew, Jyoti Bhatt, Jyotsna Bhatt, Iftikhar Dadi, Anju Dodiya, Atul Dodiya, Behroze Gandhy, Shireen Gandhy, Geeta Kapur, Krishen Khanna, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Nalini Malani, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Sudhir Patwardhan and Shanta Patwardhan, Johan Pijnappel, Dilip Ranade, Rajiv Saini, Afrah Shafiq, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, Vivan Sundaram, Kalidas Swaminathan, Jesal Thakkar, and the Estate of Richard Bartholomew.
Special thanks to Thapar Public Charitable Trust.