Salzburg 2002, Photo by Michaela LandwehrMithu Sen performs conceptual and interactive multi-format byproducts which include drawing, poetry, moving images, sculptures, installations, sound, and others. Her practice manifests human interactions, employing the medium of life to actualize her art production. She constantly (un)defines concepts and their functioning with regard to acceptable modes of interactions, questioning pre-codified hierarchies that define the social performance of roles, politics of tabooed identity that marks the other, and the plethora of constructs that actualize human existence as a reality. Through radical hospitality, lingual anarchy, counter capitalism, untaboo sexuality, and unmonolith identity; the artist persistently explores the void of in betweenness, where (un)constructs dwell, waiting to be (un)realised.
(un)biographyMithu Sen is a an earth based (New Delhi, India) artist/poet who studied painting at Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India, and Glasgow School of Art, UK. Mithu Sen plays. She messes. She creates. her practice revolves around creating situations of impossible possibility. She lets strangeness and strangers in, radically, hospitably. In doing this she questions the boundaries of hospitality; identifies them, embodies them, inhabits them- and then refutes and ignores them. Breaking them apart from within.
Mithu Sen dislikes the word “medium.” She 'life's.Sen’s practice centers her constant need to be expressive in limitless ways; in ways that are counter to limits; that deny them. Her work involves the use of blank space-- her detailed drawings highlight the otherwise unseen, and parody or dismiss what our eyes are used to catching. Sen has accessories/tools that extend and include her body-mind. She draws, creates videos, and sculptures. She installs. She performs. Her performances have elements of sound and movement and writing. She poets. She poet. She lives. Her practice converses and responds; and is therefore constantly adapting itself; it shapeshifts from one medium to another. People are sparked to reflect on several realms and layers of thinking and questioning in her work, including:
(Untaboo) sexuality, (unmonolith) identity, Radical hospitality (guest-host-hospitality-tolerance) Counter capitalism, and lingual anarchy Her journey critiques subtle hierarchical codes and hegemony;Mithu’s work lives in the spaces between when Humanity becomes a minority (sexual, political, regional, emotional, lingual...). Mithu Sen works in a variety of media to explore and subvert hierarchical codes and rules, with particular reference to the ‘myth’ of sexuality, language, market, and marginalization. The “myths” that allow closed systems of representation and hierarchy, constantly attempting to outsmart and expose their intricate mechanics. Through various devices and interventions, methodologies of play, vulnerability, and intuition she challenges the standards of social exchange, undermining the codes we come to rely on and recalibrating types of interaction. Sen creates work fundamentally as a conceptual performer. Her practice incorporates drawing, poetry, sound, video, installation, objects, social media, instructions, and performance to demonstrate how language and social conventions can restrict our capacity for expression. Her works challenge the notion of language as a proprietary means of communication, attempting to outsmart linguistic hegemonies and codes of propriety by creating an abstract form as “non-language”, whose use creates moments of what Sen calls “lingual anarchy” employs glitch, noise, sonic affect in its spontaneous creation. Sen's material artwork, which she calls “byproducts” of her larger process, contrast scale, imagery, and genre to problematize existing notions of hospitality, sexuality, communication, and contract. Her work often deals with the complexities of the body in its physical, basal, erotic, and sexless forms. The erotically and emotionally charged self or figurative imageries, as a matrix of identities and myths–questioning societal norms, fixed beliefs, and categorisations. Sen uproots how we display and value art by constructing interactive scenarios, objects for exchange, and propositions to ‘create and consume value’, reconceiving how art is shared and circulated. Her prefix ‘un’ as a linguistic tool in her vocabulary she deconstructs the fixed societal systems into a perpetual unsettlement. Short participation history 2020 She has exhibited and performed widely at museums, institutions, galleries and biennales/triennials including Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016); Tate Modern, London(2013); Queens Museum, New York(2015); Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, USA(2014); Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, India; MOMAT(2008) and Tensin Museum, Japan(2016); Peabody Essex Museum, USA; S.M.A.K Museum, Gent, Belgium; Palais De Tokyo, Paris; Art Unlimited, Basel (2016); Albertina Museum, Vienna(2015); Kochi Muziris Biennale, India(2014); Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka (2014); Mediations Biennale, Poznań, Poland (2012); Bozar Museum, Brussels(2013); Asia Pacific Triennale 9 Brisbane (2018), Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris Brussels; Nature Morte, New Delhi, and Berlin; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, etc. Sen was the first Indian artist to receive the Skoda Award for Best Indian Contemporary Art in 2010, succeeded by the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Asian Art in Drawing in 2015 and most recently, Performance Artist of the Year by India Today in 2020. Sen lives and works in New Delhi, India. She has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan USA; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, Belgium; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris; Gallery Steph, Singapore; Louis Vuitton Espace, Taipei; Albion Gallery, London; Suzie Q project, Zurich; Krinzinger Project, Vienna; Nature Morte, New Delhi, and Berlin; Bose Pacia Gallery, New York; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai; Machintosh Gallery, Glasgow and the British Council, New Delhi. Galleries Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai , India Nature Morte, New Delhi, India Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France