Swapnaa Tamhane is the second artist taking part at the Jorisch Family Artist Residencyat the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Tamhane proposes to research the graphic (both text and drawing) work of Martha Rosler, Adrian Piper, and Hans Hollein from the Generali Foundation`s collection which is now on permanent loan at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria. “In thinking of conceptual art practices in relation to drawing, the Generali Foundation is one of the leading collections of conceptual art and it would be an absolute honour to engage directly with such a resource,” she says. Her artistic oeuvre is connected to drawing as mediated marks between the visible and invisible.
During her residency, she noticed the flag pole that faces the city of Salzburg on the façade of the Amalie Redlich Tower that appeared forgotten about from the street level. She developed the idea to install a flag with an image of her drawing of a Neanderthal tool discovered in Rheydt, DE, under a textile mill—the delicate lines of the drawing begin to blow in the breeze and perpetually move. This work also contains an intrinsic humor: this large phallic form becomes eternally soft when transferred to a textile. As flags were traditionally used by militaries, they became more and more attached to national identities from the 18th century onwards. Tamhane is weary of these current political climates, and how national identities are described, formed, or maintained particularly by patriarchal structures.
With Form, 2018, Tamhane created amorphous objects made from paper clay. She is treating sculptures as drawn forms by using chalk pastel, a drawing material. The forms oscillate between utensils, representations of the divine as abstract forms of the Hindu god Shiva, and the erotic. The artist’s interest lies in acts of naming and how value is created, extending from her research on forms of display, whether in a museum or a storefront; bothsell objects and ideologies of culture. As a female artist of the South-Asian diaspora, she places her body into the structure through the action of shaping the sculptures and drawing ontothe surface to make forms that are beautiful, seductive, and absurd.
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