CURATEd BY Devika Singh
Taking as a starting point the Nehru memorial lecture titled ‘Planetary Planning’ delivered by visionary architect and designer Buckminster Fuller in Delhi in 1969, Planetary Planning explores notions of world making that have been articulated in and from South Asia in a wide range of media by three generations of artists since the 1960s.
Planetary thinking, pensée-monde, and worldliness are some of the concepts that have been put forward to describe globalisation as a historical process and the worldview that accompanies it. Sometimes folded into more specific geographical units (Asia, South Asia, the Indian Ocean seen as a cradle of early globalisation etc.), trade, empire, and economic exchanges, have been some of its crucial vectors. Against this complex and historically unequal canvas of exchanges but also of ‘immobile movement’, to use Edouard Glissant’s terms, artists have projected alternative, sometimes utopian thinking, and located themselves within it.
The exhibition explores how, from the 1960s onwards, artists have challenged fixed identities and their inherent hierarchies. The language of design and architecture has played a key role in this process. Several of the exhibited artists conceive of architecture both as a bearer of place and as a language holding the possibility of worldly affiliations, while others have chosen drawing, as well as other media, to express similar concerns. Reflecting on trade connections, aesthetic networks and travel, the lines of transfer drawn in the exhibition consider the historical junctures, and disjunctures, of South Asia. It looks back at key international as well as cross-regional exchanges, for example between Bangladesh and Japan, from the 1960s until now.