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Sun 7th Jul at Midnight - 9:37am
Manchester International Festival - Coal On Cotton
@ The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
Featuring: Nikhil Chopra
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Manchester International Festival - Coal On Cotton: Nikhil Chopra
The artist uses theatrical props to create the impression of a 'still life' painting. Each performance unfolds in long-durational ‘happenings’, carried out over the course of one-day or several, in slow, deliberate and ritualized movements. Everyday actions like washing, eating, shaving, sleeping and dressing form the script of the performance, the central and only character of which is often seen making a large drawing on canvas of urban vistas seen in his immediate environment.
Each action or pause is pregnant with the anticipation that a transformation will take place – for example, when the bearded man picks up a razor to shave off only part of his beard or to tonsure his head. The act of shaving the head as a ritual is often associated with the death of immediate family. It is a symbolic, spiritual act of catharsis that suggests the shedding of the ego. Nikhil Chopra's performances may be seen as a form of storytelling that intermingles family histories, personal narrative and everyday life.
Nikhil Chopra's work draws on personal and collective cultural history to examine questions of identity, the role of autobiography and the politics of posing and self-portraiture. The artist also addresses the process of transformation as it is consciously and physically experienced and represented through his performative practice. The characters within his performances are semi-autobiographical. Dressed variously in nineteenth century top hats, tailcoats, crinoline dresses, and twentieth century skin-tight body suits and flapper dresses, the characters haunt the streets, busy market squares, train stations, parks and the confines of art galleries and other buildings. Sometimes a performance in a gallery spills over onto the streets when Chopra's character decides to go for a walk. Audiences follow him on these journeys or meet him at venues to watch him drawing or resting, the audience participating in the exercise of locating the performance in the city.
Nikhil Chopra tour dates
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Venue: The Whitworth Art Gallery
The University Of Manchester
M13 9PL 53.467930, -2.233209
→ Oxford Road 11 min walk
→ Manchester Piccadilly 12 min walk