In 2014 the International Production Fund (IPF) commissioned Srinagar, a new work by Praneet Soi for EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial 2014 AGITATIONISM, curated by Bassam El Baroni. IPF Partners supporting this commission were Outset England and Outset Netherlands.
Srinagar is a mixed media installation, consisting of a slide-projection, papier-mâché tiles and chalkboard texts and images. The installation is named after the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, a city which lies in the Kashmir Valley. Srinagar is known for its traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and its distinctive blend of cultural heritage reflects the historical, cultural and religious diversity of the Kashmir Valley.
Praneet Soi first visited Srinagar at Christmas 2010 in the aftermath of what had been a particularly violent summer. Between May and September 2010 more than a hundred people lost their lives in the valley. Innumerable others were injured by stone pelting and aggressive policing by civilians and the armed forces. For EVA International 2014, Praneet Soi worked with artisans from Kashmir to create a series of patterned tiles in papier-mâché, a craft that entered Kashmir with the arrival of Sufism from Iran.
The tiles are presented on long lit tables in a dark room. The surrounding walls feature a series of texts on chalkboard which Soi had accumulated within Srinagar, as well as image distortions of anamorphosis as a means to articulate a parallel narrative. Soi also presents a slideshow that explores the workings of ancient patterns within the architecture of Srinagar, fragmenting and alienating them to allow the formation of new motifs. The installation unfolded over time and in layers, enabling the artist’s immersions in Kashmir to be articulated through an emergent and experimental narrative.
Praneet Soi, born in Kolkata in 1971, studied painting at the Maharajah Sayajirao University, Baroda. In 2002 he moved to the Netherlands where he attended the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten for a two year international residency programme. Since then he has divided his time between Kolkata, West Bengal and Amsterdam.
His artistic practice includes painting, drawing, collage, text, slideshows and performance-lectures. Soi’s exploration of media imagery led him to experiment with fragmentations and distortions of the human body and the environment around him.
Soi has participated in the first Indian National Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and in the 7th Gwangju Biennale in 2008. A monograph on his work was published by Distanz Verlag in 2011. Soi is currently a resident at the Stiftung Laurenz Haus, Basel and has been granted a research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. In 2015 the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai will present a solo exhibition of Soi’s work.
EVA International is Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art. Every two years EVA International works with guest curators to create a 12-week programme of exhibitions and events that engage with the people and city of Limerick, Ireland. Since its foundation in 1977, EVA International has worked with some of the world’s leading artists and curators, bringing outstanding exhibitions to audiences on the west coast of Ireland. Artists’ projects are selected through an international open call for proposals, and exhibitions take place in both gallery and non-gallery spaces. EVA International 2014 ‘AGITATIONISM’ was curated by Bassam El Baroni and featured 56 artists in 5 locations across Limerick City.