photo: Sebastiano Luciano, courtesy AlbumArte
Opening on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 at 6:30pm
Until November 3rd, 2018
AlbumArte Via Flaminia 122, Rome
On Wednesday, 3rd of October 2018, AlbumArte, an independent space for contemporary art, inaugurates the double solo show of the artists Shubigi Rao (b. Mumbai, India, 1975) and Jaro Varga (b. Trebišov, Slovak Republic, 1982) titled About Books, and curated by Lýdia Pribišová.
The exhibition presents for the first time in Italy a series of works that have been specifically set up again for the spaces of AlbumArte.
Both artists, who come from different cultural, social, and political backgrounds but who nevertheless share a surprisingly similar artistic program, have a long history of working with the motif of libraries, which they see as a social construct produced by a specific historical period, as a space for knowledge and archiving but also as a tool of exclusion and political exploitation.
Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao’s range of interests includes ancient sciences, history, archeology, neuroscience, language, epistemology. She has been awarded the Juror's Choice Award at the ABP Signature Art Prize 2018. At the show About Books, Shubigi Rao presents Written in the Margins, a series of videos and one large-format drawing that are the first portion of material from her ongoing project Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, started in 2013. For this work, which explores the history of repression and censorship through books and libraries, Rao created a series of documentary films about public and private collections, libraries, and archives. Through the stories of these places, Shubigi Rao has collected various stories about the systematic eradication of knowledge, oppression through language, and citizens’ resistance to these phenomena.
Slovak artist Jaro Varga works with a wide range of topics such as geopolitical topography, archives, the fallibility of institutions, forgotten events from history, and intimate memories and stories. On the occasion of About Books exhibition, Varga presents three site-specific installation. Library takes the form of white and anonymous books wallpaper; this nameless library invites the viewers to add the names of the books they consider important. In this way, Library acts both as a collective intervention and a peculiar investigation on local politics and social trends. The text-based installation Untitled II is a collection of book titles that in some way contain the word end. Lastly, site-specific installation In Someone’s Else Dream is a series of cover books where Vargo has erased their original message to present a sentence inspired by Foucault’s writings in The History of Sexuality: “I cannot break free from the oppression of power, knowledge and sexuality”.
Rome, July 6th, 2018
Shubigi Rao, who lives and works in Singapore, was born in Mumbai, India, in 1975. She participated in the 3rd Pune Biennale in 2017, the 10th Taipei Biennale in 2016, and the 2nd Singapore Biennale in 2008. Residencies and awards: Künstlerhaus Bethanien international artist residency, Berlin (June 2016 – May 2017), NTU-CCA Singapore (October 2015 –January 2016), Creation Grant (2013) for Pulp, Presentation Grant (2013, 2012), National Arts Council Singapore. Other awards: Winston Oh Travel Award (2005), Student Development Award (2006), Award for Excellence in the Arts for outstanding student of the year (2008, 2006). www.shubigi.com
Jaro Varga lives in Prague and was born in Trebišov, Slovakia, in 1982. Varga is a curator at HIT Gallery in Bratislava. As an artist, he has exhibited at solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad: Where do we go from here? (Wiener Secession, Wien, 2010); Public Folklore (Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, 2011); Delete (Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, 2012); Vulnerable Failures (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2013); City Diary, (Triangle Arts Association, New York City, 2013); Dysraphic City (Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, 2013); A Private Nationalism (Kunsthalle Košice, Košice, 2014); Plato’s Third Eye (MeetFactory, Prague, 2014); and more. Artistic residencies: MuseumsQuartier 21, Wien; Futura, Prague; Heppen Transfer, Warsaw; Air Krems; ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics, Berlin; Triangle Arts Association, New York. www.jarovarga.net