18 January 2023–2 June 2023

Notations on Time

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Exploring the philosophical and political dimensions of time through the works of 20 contemporary South Asian artists.

Starts 18 January 2023

Ends 2 June 2023

Venue Ishara Art Foundation

Warehouse 3


Notations on Time is a group exhibition that explores the philosophical and political dimensions of time through the works of 20 contemporary artists from South Asia and its diaspora.

Curated by Sandhini Poddar and Sabih Ahmed, the exhibition stages a dialogue between artistic generations to highlight entanglements between the past, present and future. The exhibition exists as a veritable laboratory of time, exploring art in notational, experimental and fragmentary forms. Standing apart from Western notions of linearity, progress and capitalist domination, Notations on Time explores ontological systems that reveal how artists from this region and its diaspora think about aesthetics, existence, remembrance and futurity.

Where and how do we ‘read’ time? On bodies, skins, machines, rivers, landscapes, and stars. Within wormholes in cosmic space and underground, in unseen root systems, within site-readings from archaeological and evidentiary fieldwork, within ancestry and oral traditions, within myths, folklore and storytelling, within science fiction and mixed realities, within long-dead stars in the cosmos viewed through powerful telescopes, and so much more. The exhibition poses questions such as, ‘what happens when residues from the past are reincarnated into the future? Where does the jurisdiction of the present end? What is the future of the past? What possibilities can the space of an exhibition offer to think through these questions?’

Notations on Time includes works by Soumya Sankar Bose, Sheba Chhachhi, Shezad Dawood, Ladhki Devi, Gauri Gill & Rajesh Vangad, Aziz Hazara, Amar Kanwar, Ali Kazim, Mariah Lookman, Haroon Mirza, Anoli Perera, Lala Rukh, Jangarh Singh Shyam, Dayanita Singh, Ayesha Sultana, Jagdish Swaminathan, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, and Zarina, accompanied by an infra-vocabulary from Raqs Media Collective’s book ‘Seepage’.

Artworks for this exhibition have been loaned from the Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection, the private collections of Taimur Hassan, Lekha & Anupam Poddar, and Shweta & Vikram Puri.

The exhibition has been supported by Taimur Hassan.
Logistical support from Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai) Lisson Gallery (London), and Saskia Fernando Gallery (Colombo).

Photo: Soumya Sankar Bose, Where the Birds Never Sing (2017-2020). © Soumya Sankar Bose.

About the Curators

Sandhini Poddar is a London-based art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, where she is responsible for acquisitions, commissions, and research for the future museum. Previously, Poddar served on the curatorial team at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation from 2007 until 2016 as part of its international Asian Art Initiative. During her tenure, she curated ground-breaking exhibitions on modern and contemporary Asian art including, ‘V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life, ‘Being Singular Plural’, and ‘Anish Kapoor: Memory’. She also organized the Guggenheim’s presentation of ‘Zarina: Paper Like Skin’. Poddar writes on contemporary art, aesthetics, and politics and has contributed articles for magazines such as Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, and Art India. She has post-graduate degrees from New York University and Mumbai University. Poddar recently curated ‘Indra’s Net’ for Frieze London.

Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. Prior to Ishara, Ahmed was a Senior Researcher and Projects Manager at Asia Art Archive from 2009 to 2019. Over the years, he has led research and digitisation projects around artist archives, organised international conferences on art history and educational resources, and has co-curated exhibitions in Barcelona, Dhaka, Delhi, Hong Kong and Shanghai. At Ishara, he has curated exhibitions and programmes that include ‘Staging the Contemporary: The Next Generation’, a symposium organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair (New Delhi), ‘Navjot Altaf: Pattern’ among others. Ahmed’s writings have been published by Mousse, the Whitworth, Arts Cabinet, onCurating, and he serves on the Advisory Board of Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation, New Delhi.