A Proposition by Ajay Kurian: The Persistence of Gardens—Nuclear, Digital, and Otherwise
February 16 2013
Ajay Kurian will present a Proposition that suggests “the garden” as a new metaphor for time and space. Kurian is an artist and curator who has run the itinerant project “Gresham’s Ghost” since 2008. “The Persistence of Gardens—Nuclear, Digital, and Otherwise” will serve to workshop ideas for Kurian’s upcoming solo show at 47 Canal. Unlike previous Propositions where a speaker’s presentation is followed by a panel or critical response, Kurian’s talk will be interrupted by J0HN, a projected presence within the theater.
On the ideas in his talk, Kurian writes: “Stromatolite is a fossilized record of ancient microorganisms that stretches back to the very beginning of life on Earth nearly 3 billion years ago. But does looking at this colorful rock really give you a sense of what has persisted and fallen away for so many eons? Does knowing the half-life of plutonium give you any sense of what the future will look like 14,000 years from now? How then can we legislate such stretches, let alone conceive of them? How are we to regard something that makes our finitude look squeamishly brief, especially when our focus tends towards those things that seem to persist not for eons but for mere seconds. The screen time that has come to dominate our lives can sometimes appear to be Narcissus’ pool, but as the larger objects of our planet begin to rumble – as the oceans rise, hurricanes hit, and radioactive waste is buried – our tiny kingdoms are beginning to feel the unwelcome shake. Through touring gardens both metaphorical and metaphysical, and speaking with J0HN, we will approach time as the persistence of things, emerging from objects rather than the reverse, and I will begin to reckon with my preoccupations: why does everything I think about recently exceed the human? And why does J0HN disagree with me so much?”
Kurian’s recent exhibitions have included “Gran Prix,” co-curated with Nudashank, “Prolegomena,” a collaboration with Shifter magazine, and “Skin So Soft,” curated by Josh Kline. As an artist, he has exhibited at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Harris Lieberman, Rachel Uffner Gallery, Room East, and the Artist’s Institute in New York, as well as CAM Raleigh and White Flag Projects, St. Louis. Recent solo exhibitions include “Petrichor” at Audio Visual Arts, New York. He is preparing for solo exhibitions at 47 Canal in New York and Jhaveri Contemporary in India, both in 2013.