MoMA PS1 presents the U.S. premiere of photographer Gauri Gill’s most recent body of work, Acts of Appearance, a series of vivid color photographs for which the artist worked closely with members of an Adivasi community in Jawhar district, Maharashtra, India.
Renowned for their papier-mâché objects, including traditional sacred masks, Gill’s collaborator-subjects wear masks made to represent living individuals, as they engage in everyday village activities. A confluence of scenarios and narratives, situated across “reality” and dreamlike states, come together in the photographs, which at once portray the familiar experiences of community members as well as symbolic or playful representations against the backdrop of their home and culture. Acts of Appearance is presented alongside a selection of Gill’s older photographs from the series Notes from the Desert, reflecting upon the echoes between works made over several years in different locations across India, and emphasizing her sustained engagement with rural communities and local artists.
Trained as a painter and applied artist, Gill (b. 1970, Chandigarh, India) received a BFA from the Delhi College of Art, and then turned to photography as her primary medium, earning a second BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York and an MFA from Stanford University. In 2011, Gill received the Grange Prize (now known as the Aimia/AGO Photography prize). Her work has been presented internationally, including in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, the 7th Moscow Biennale, and Prospect 4 in New Orleans, as well as at institutions including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Ontario; and the Whitechapel Gallery, London; among others. She lives in New Delhi.