Gauri Gill. Untitled from the series Acts of Appearance. 2015–ongoing. Pigmented inkjet print. Courtesy the artist and Nature Morte, New Delhi, India. © 2018 Gauri Gill

MoMA PS1 presents the US premiere of photographer Gauri Gill’s most recent body of work, Acts of Appearance, a series of vivid color photographs for which the artist worked closely with members of an Adivasi community in Jawhar district, Maharashtra, India. Gill’s collaborator-subjects are renowned for their papier-mâché objects, including traditional sacred masks. In these pictures they engage in everyday village activities while wearing new masks, made expressly for this body of work, which depict living beings with the physical characteristics of humans, animals, or valued objects. A range of scenarios and narratives, situated in both “reality” and dreamlike states, come together in the photographs, which simultaneously portray symbolic or playful representations as well as the familiar experiences of community members against the backdrop of their home and culture.

Trained as a painter and applied artist, Gill (b. 1970, Chandigarh, India) later turned to photography as her primary medium. Her photographs, which chronicle the lives of those rendered powerless by state forces and societal structures, are deeply attentive to the means by which individuals try to overcome their circumstances. Acts of Appearance is presented here alongside a selection of Gill’s older photographs from Rajasthan, revealing echoes between works made over several years in different locations across India, and emphasizing her continuing involvement with rural communities and local artists.

Acts of Appearance was created with the participation of:

Bhagvan Dharma Kadu, Subhas Dharma Kadu, Yuvraj Bhagvan Kadu, Rahul Arvind Kakad, Rahul Bhagvan Kadu, Makhaval Bhagvan Kadu, Madhuri Subhas Kadu, Rangeeta Arvind Kakad, Darshana Devram Kakad, Ganesh Ganpat Lokhande, Sangeeta Ganesh Lokhande, Sangeeta Navnath Kadu, Kusum Bhagvan Kadu, Harishchandra Rama Kadu, Suvrna Harishchandra Vad, and Anjana Sachin Kurbude.

With Sachin Sankar Kurbude, Sanjay Sakharam Vatas, Ganpat Ganga Lokhande, Rupesh Arvind Kakad, Nalini Pradip Valvi, Jyoti Sanjay Vatas, Shravan Budhya Tumbda, Saraswati Subhas Kadu, Sapna Bhagvan Kadu, Bhawna Bhagvan Kadu, Pooja Arvind Kakad, Tushar Prakash Vatas, Tushar Dinkar Vatas, Vijaya Navnath Kadu, Suraj Tukaram Vad, Nishant Tulshiram Thalkar, and Nilam Sunil Marad.

Organized by Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series is made possible in part by the Elaine Dannheisser Foundation and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

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