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“mould the wing to match the photograph”: The Mrinalini Mukherjee Archive

CCG Library, Asia Art Archive

“mould the wing to match the photograph” draws on the archive of Mrinalini Mukherjee, one of the most prominent sculptors in India, known for her experimentation with form and materiality over her forty-year practice. It stages an encounter between Pari (1986), the artist’s monumental hemp fibre sculpture, and archival materials with detailed installation instructions and extensive photographic documentation of Pari and similar works. The archival materials complicate the sculpture’s sense of organicity and intuitiveness, and demonstrate a desire for precision and control. The exhibition emphasises how the archive actively reconfigures the understanding and experience of Mukherjee’s work.

Mrinalini Mukherjee (1949–2015) was a prolific sculptor based in New Delhi, India. Best known for her monumental sculptures in fibre, ceramic, and bronze, Mukherjee was trained in painting and mural design at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda, India (1965–72), and studied sculpture at the West Surrey College of Art and Design, UK (1978). Mukherjee received a fellowship from the Government of India in 1981 to practice at Garhi Studios in Delhi, where she worked recurrently till the early 2000s. She participated in various residencies, most notably at European Ceramic Work Centre, Netherlands, in 1996 and 2000. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at La Biennale di Venezia (2022); Met Breuer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala (2018); Dhaka Art Summit (2018); Camden Art Centre (2016); National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2015); 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014); Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (1996); and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1994). Mukherjee’s work is collected by public institutions including British Museum, London; Cleveland Museum of Art; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

“mould the wing to match the photograph” is curated by Noopur Desai, Pallavi Arora, and Samira Bose of Asia Art Archive in India, with support from Christopher K. Ho, Crystal Li, Ӧzge Ersoy, Paul C. Fermin, Rebecca Tso, Ruby Weatherall, and Sneha Ragavan.

“mould the wing to match the photograph” is generously supported by Mimi Brown & Alp Erçil, and Virginia & Wellington Yee. The Mrinalini Mukherjee Archive was made possible with the support of the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, for loaning us Pari (1986) for this exhibition.

The audio guide for "mould the wing to match the photograph" is narrated in English by Noopur Desai, Pallavi Arora, and Samira Bose of Asia Art Archive in India, and in Cantonese by Christy Li, Sam Chan, and Rebecca Tso of Asia Art Archive.

Image: Mrinalini Mukherjee and works in progress at her garage studio, 1985. Mrinalini Mukherjee Archive, AAA Collections. Courtesy of the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation.