Mithu Sen – kathmandu triennale

Artist Profile

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Artwork Description

Teko (support around us), 2015
A square black painted canvas is worked on with a whole series of staples. The staples are accumulated in the form resembling diagonal wooden beams used to support houses and temples damaged by the earthquake. The artist took an element we all know from the streets of Kathmandu, and made a rhythmic composition with it.


Mithu Sen is a New Delhi based artist/poet who studied painting at Santiniketan, Visva Bharati, India and Glasgow School of Art, UK.

Sen‘s practice stems from a conceptual and interactive drawing background that has extended into drawing, video, sculpture, installation, poetry, sound and performance. Her journey critic’s subtle hierarchical codes and hegemony imposed in the society; those areas where Humanity becomes minority (sexual, political, regional, emotional or lingual).

Blending fact and fiction, self-reflective, playful and bold- a macabre sense of humor punctuates her work with deeper psychoanalytic readings that tie into our subconscious thoughts.

Sen‘s intuitive, free-spirited practice invites viewers into her own personal psyche and streams of consciousness. The complexities of body in its physical, basal, erotic and sexless form features through different works giving importance to bodies’ intelligence and the fetishes it seek. A lot of her works deal with the Self as a matrix of identities- a route taken by Sen to question our social values and to (unmonolith) the exhausted Identity, breaking on its way the accepted norms in our society.

Swinging between distance and intimacy, Mithu makes the private public by engaging the spectators into a game of active voyeurism. She has not only opened the barrier of intimacy to public space, her works also highlight the increasing importance of the interaction with the public, as a part of the production of the artistic experience.

The usage of (uncodified) subconscious language as a form of resistance against the dominating languages, has led Sen to create an abstract body of gibberish text that claims repressed emotional voices and a potential moment of lingual anarchy. Her work also engages with the idea of radical hospitality with an aim to generate a concurrent dialogue between the guest and the host. It approaches to deconstruct the institutional space and question/redefine the imposed etiquettes on hospitality.

She has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan USA; Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; Gallery Nathalie Obadia, Paris; Gallery Steph, Singapore; Louis Vuitton Espace, Taipei; Albion Gallery, London; Suzie Q project, Zurich; Krinzinger Project, Vienna; Nature Morte, New Delhi and Berlin; Bose Pacia Gallery, New York; Chemould Gallery, Mumbai; Lakeeren gallery, Mumbai; Machintosh Gallery, Glasgow and the British Council, New Delhi.

Her works have been shown in many Indian and international museums, biennales and galleries. To name a few, Queens Museum, New York; TATE Modern, London; Albertina museum, Vienna; S.M.A.K museum, Gent, Belgium; Palais De Tokyo, Paris; Beirut Exhibition Centre, Beirut; Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth; Castelvecchio museum, Verona, Italy; Gaungdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; Art-Science Museum, Singapore; Dhaka Art Summit; Bozar museum, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; The Luxe Museum, Singapore; Kastrupgårdsamlingen Museum, Copenhagen; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; Art Basel Unlimited, Switzerland; Mediations Biennale, Poznan, Poland; Kochi Muziris Biennale, India; Gallery Continua, France; Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Eastside project space, Birmingham, UK; IVAM, Valencia, Spain; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; Kunst Museum, Berne; Daimler Chrysler collection, Berlin; Brandies University, Boston; Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) Tokyo; Goethe Institute, Salvador, Brazil; Lausanne Museum, Berne, Switzerland; and SOMA Museum, Seoul.

She has been awarded with Prudential Eye Award for contemporary Asian art in drawing 2015 and Skoda award on best Indian contemporary art for the year 2010

Mithu Sen lives and works in New Delhi, India.