Monday, September 10, 2007

Ranbir Kaleka

Multi-media installation commissioned by Spertus Museum, Chicago. Tentative title, ‘Thus time passed and we got used to many things’.

Spertus Museum has commissioned Indian artist Ranbir Kaleka to produce a powerful, open-ended reflection on the Holocaust. With the aim of finding a universal language to express the horror of the Holocaust while not losing the particular, Jewish nature of the genocide, and with the expressed intention to find a contemporary approach to memorialize the atrocities of the Holocaust, Spertus Museum senior Judaica curator, Dr. Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek sought to commission a work that reminds us of the humanity that was taken away from people – even beyond death.
Consider, a title inspired by the poem of the same name by Primo Levi, and arrived at in consultation with Heimann-Jelinek, is a unique commission for Spertus Museum. An installation consisting of two projections, a painting and an audio narrative of oral testimony from Auschwitz, this work poignantly juxtaposes accounts of utter dehumanization alongside civilization’s investment in the gift of life.


The installation will consist of two projections: one on a painting, another on a transparent screen.

Apart from the oral testimony the work will retain its specificity only in the aspect of the ‘human’. The installation, viewed from afar, will occupy a discrete space instead of in-your-face foregrounding of it.

Through the transparent screen we will see the sky and Lake Michigan. A girl who is having her hair braided in the painting will, time and again, leave her painted body to visit her memories etc. in the ethereal space of the transparent screen.

Note: Installation involves curatorial inputs by Dr. Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek and Rhoda Rosen, the director of the museum, has been very supportive of the concept and the commission.

Krueck & Sexton Architects, who realised Jaume Plensa's concept at Millennium Park (The Crown Fountain) are the architects for Spertus.

Warm wishes,


Spertus is located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue, directly across the street from Chicago's Grant Park.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
610 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

all photos courtesy of the artist, Venice Bienalle, and Walsh Gallery of Chicago

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