Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra
Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra standing outside YBCA San Francisco
Thukral and Tagra are an artist duo composed of Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. They work with a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, installations, interactive games, video, performance and design.
Over the years they have had numerous exhibitions at the sixth edition of the Asia Pacific Triennial,Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris Arken Museum in Denmark, Kunstmuseum in Bochum, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, and Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. In 2010 they held a solo show "Match Fixed" at the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art in Beijing and in 2015 they were invited to mount a solo show Games People Play at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai.
Jiten Thukral was born in 1976 in Jalandhar, Punjab. He earned his BFA from Government College of Arts, Chandigarh in 1998 and his MFA in 2000 at College of Art, Delhi.
Sumir Tagra was born in 1979 in New Delhi. He completed his BFA in 2002 from College of Art, Delhi and received his post-graduate degree at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
In 2009 Thukral & Tagra were invited to do a residency at Singapore Tyler Print Institute. In 2011 they were invited for a residency at Edition Copenhagenand also at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory near Dresden, Germany. In 2015 they were a part of a residency at Khoj International Artists Association that resulted in an exhibition titled Level 01 in January 2016 at KHOJ.
Georgina Maddox of The Hindu said, "Art provocateurs or nerds with a gaming obsession — Thukral and Tagra continue to challenge the norms of fine art and pop culture with interactive works that question GST, water woes and more.".Avantika Bhuyan of Livemint wrote, "Thukral and Tagra’s ongoing project drives people to become part of the process of art-making."
Bread, Circuses and ...
The series “Bread, Circuses” aka “panem et circuses” takes its reference from the metaphor of the Roman practice: stage as a sight for competition but also for the display of sportsmanship, but equally as a mode of daily survival strategies. The “Bread, Circuses and ….” represents a series of work that reflects on the lives of people as affected by everyday politics, societal and cultural norms. The duo addresses the discursive cultural economy/ contemporary societies through their visual dialogues, aesthetics, and systems. The work was exhibited at
Memoir bar is a traveling exhibition that invites viewers to write a memory on a paper, shred it and watch it being made into a tile. The aim is to construct a large sanctuary of compressed emotions by mapping the emotions of a city. This interactive installation is a site of emotional recall that gets solidified into a tactile form. The work was exhibited at
Match Fixed/ Fixed Match
Continuing their research into the Punjabi Indian diaspora, Match Fixed/Fixed Match was first exhibited at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in 2010, conceived in response to the “holiday wives” in Punjab as a cultural puncture in the social fabric of the artists' home state, where the idea of migrating abroad is built with desperations and negotiations. The exhibition also serves as a case study of how international dreams have deteriorated the fabric of hometown culture. The work was exhibited at
The idea of play has evolved into a series of works considering the meditative aspects of play, while simultaneously trying to illustrate Indian mythology through the vocabulary of Ping-Pong that challenges the preconceived notions of cultural matter as pedantic knowledge. The work was exhibited at
The exhibition narrates the social reality through the vocabulary of ping pong which also challenges the notion of culture as entertainment. The installation of 3 modified ping-pong tables critiques on the fact, how technology has gotten immersed into the fabric of our everyday lives in an intrusive manner. The work was exhibited at
The exhibition is an extension to the residency at Meissen porcelain manufactory by Thukral and Tagra back in 2011 as a part of an art campus program. The large body of work had three overlapping narratives. The exhibition took place at the Breaking Ground, Indian Ceramic Triennale. The sculptures displayed were conceived on playful manifestations and assumptions using Meissen‘s rich archive. The work tries to bring down the authority of the material to a more approachable popular imagery by illustrating the daily struggles of contemporary. The project attempts to be both eternal and fragmentary in nature. The work was exhibited at
The Pollinator is an interdisciplinary lab that interrogates the complex understanding of ‘value’ by building a dialogue as a practice in ethics, intention, aesthetics, and education. It pollinates a new discourse each time by further placing it into a coherent collection. The work was exhibited at
Longing for Tomorrow II
This series of work is a mix of sentimentality, nostalgia, and clichéd futurisms which is epitomized by the rising Indian middle-class. The mixture of high and low styles in paintings, sculptures and decorative accouterments is an apt response to this bewildering and perverse urban reality typifying the “new India.” The work was exhibited at
Walk Of Life
Walk of Life explores the idea of ‘play’ from a cultural, strategic, and psychological perspective.
Walk of Life is built upon the ancient Indian card game called “Ganjifa”, originally played with a set of 120 cards, the artists have turned it into a board game that takes its reference from Dashavatar, the ten incarnations of the Hindu god, Lord Vishnu. Walk of Life 2; As an extension to the previous game walk of life 2, it is based on the idea of water conservation as a journey through the kali yuga dealing with real-time events of contemporary times. The game is based on 12 rounds of collective decision making between the players in order to conserve as much water in the finite collective reservoir as possible in order to win the game. The work was exhibited at
The following exhibition rejuvenates the traditional narratives and symbols to give audiences a fresh understanding of cultural matters of Indian Mythology through the informational Venn Diagram that is synonymous with Kalyug and Dashavatar of Lord Vishnu. The work was exhibited at
The artists’ long engagement with their home state Punjab, focus on the aspirational value of the urban Indian middle class and the desire to migrate or ‘escape’ abroad. The notion of middle-class success is synonymous with the desire towards the accumulation of material wealth. The exhibition unpacks a series of portraits of “Punjabi Home Boys” leaving and returning by virtue of a social and cultural movement in pursuit of their ambitions, architectural style in the suburban homes turning into surrealist castles commonly referred to as “Punjabi Baroque and ambiguity between dream and substance. The work was exhibited at
Put it on, Again!
Put it on is a research project which explores alternate mediums to spread awareness in context to HIV transmission and the AIDS epidemic. It is about identifying the gaps in the current communications around education, prevention and aims to provide solutions where existing media have failed to achieve results. The work was exhibited at
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