The Gujral Foundation was delighted to present an in-situ installation by multi-disciplinary artist Remen Chopra W. Van Der Vaart titled ‘Memory’s Cut: Its Deep Embrace’, curated by Feroze Gujral, at the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques - Guimet from 21 October 2020 to 20 September 2021.
Remen’s work is a unique assemblage of intimate moments, poetry, and personal objects that were passed on matrilineally, from one generation to the other. She explores the cartography of memory and how non-linear narratives are fabricated out of scattered fragments. The artist recalls family stories of Tehran, Rawalpindi, and Shimla, as narrated to her by her grandmother. Van Der Vaart maps the history of these spaces using multi-layered artworks that interweave real and endorsed time.
In this exhibition, the artist created site-specific works using varied media such as photography, drawing, sculpture, textiles, and sound, to reflect upon personal and familial histories of migration.
Van Der Vaart transformed the ‘Rotonda’ at Musée Guimet into a personal space that encapsulated collective memories of home through many generations. Home serves as the leitmotiv in one’s history, identity, and sense of belonging. The structure that houses us becomes a reflection of our personal, ideological, and cultural pasts. Objects make a home and our memories are contained in those objects.
The artist is inspired by architecture and constructs complex monochromatic, performance-based montages that draw significantly from the aesthetics of theater. She meticulously layers photographs and drawings with glass or mulmul, which capture a fleeting moment in time. The figures are staged, sometimes in transition, evoking a sense of mystery as well as nostalgia.
Visitors experienced a public program that was planned at Musée Guimet, which included private walkthroughs of the exhibition by the artist.