Sutapa Biswas was born in Santinekethan, India, in 1962. Her poignant films and poetic artworks have been shown in museums and art galleries worldwide. Biswas studied at the University of Leeds from 1981-85, at the Slade School of Art from 1988-1990, and at the Royal College of Art between 1996-1998. She works in a wide range of media including installation, film and video, drawing and painting. Her works are conceptual and since the mid 1990s Biswas has been interested in exploring themes of time and space particularly in relationship to gender, identity and desire. As the curator and critic Guy Brett writes, “Biswas’s recent work is a device for awakening memory, gaining a foothold in the flux of time and conveying an insight into human lives”.
She has exhibited extensively internationally, and her recent solo shows include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2000), Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham (2004), and the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (2006). She has shown at numerous group exhibitions including: From Tarzan To Rambo, Tate Modern, London (2002-2003), Art Through the Eye of A Needle, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2001), The Unmapped Body: 3 Black British Artists, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (1998), and the 6th Havana Biennale, Cuba (1997), Melbourne International Arts Festival (2006). Biswas was a Fellow at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1990 and 1992. She is currently a Reader at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London and lives and works in London. Biswas is represented by the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, USA.
Feminist Artist Statement
I was born in India (1962) in Santineketha, and moved to England. For the most part, I have lived in London since the age of four. I was educated in England, having studied Fine Art and Art History at the University of Leeds between 1981-1985, at the Slade School of Art (1988-1990), and at the Royal College of Art (1996-1998).
Though much time has passed since my journey from the country of my birth to a country that is now my home, the complex relationship that has existed between these two places for centuries now, has given way to a certain poetry that belongs to both of them, which inevitably has consequently entered my psyche. I would also point out that if we as human beings are to be read only as the sum total of the places we inhabit with rigid linearity, then the richness of thought and the poetics of space, time, and experience cannot be fully appreciated. In short, we would either presume too much or too little.
My works are conceptual. As an artist I work in the medium of drawing, painting, film and video. I explore themes of time and space, particularly in relationship to gender, identity and desire. As the curator and critic Guy Brett has observed, my “recent work is a device for awakening memory, gaining a foothold in the flux of time and conveying an insight into human lives.”
In a recent film installation titled Birdsong (2004), inspiration was drawn from a conversation with my son who, at eighteen months, expressed his desire to have a horse living with us in our home. The final work is a film tableau in which a horse is viewed in a domestic interior, standing motionless, except for the gentle and subtle movements of its body. Seen through the eyes of a child (my own son), the work takes us between the real and the imaginary or dream world. Birdsong explores the relationship between painting and film, time and temporality, love and loss. As an artist, the intention of creating is to present works to which the viewer responds on a visceral level; a context within which they are transported to a place somewhere within their own past, and which visually and poetically unsettles perceptions of time and place.
c/o Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, 16 John Islip Street
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