Mithu Sen (1971, West Bengal) is a conceptual artist who performs her work in a variety of media to explore and subvert hierarchical codes and rules, with particular reference to the ‘myths’ of sexuality, language, market and marginalisation. Through various devices and interventions, methodologies of play, vulnerability and intuition she challenges the standards of social exchange, undermining the codes we come to rely on. Language comes under scrutiny as linguistic structures and hegemonies are abstracted as ‘non-language’, the use of which produces what Sen calls ‘lingual anarchy’ –a praxis that employs glitch, noise and sonic affect in its spontaneous creation. She has exhibited and performed widely at museums, institutions, galleries and biennales/triennials including: 9th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art 9, Brisbane, 2018; Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki, Japan, 2016; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2016; Unlimited, Art Basel, 2016; Queens Museum, New York, 2015; and Tate Modern, London, 2013. Sen was named Performance Artist of the Year by India Today in 2020, prior to which she received the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Asian Art in Drawing in 2015 and was the first artist to receive the Škoda Award for Best Indian Contemporary Art in 2010. She lives and works in New Delhi , India.
UnMYthU: UnKinD(s) Alternatives
Mithu Sen’s work is located at two sites. At the Eusebius church, it’s displayed across five lightboxes. Evocative drawings express wild, playful connections to the histories of the site, modern myths, contemporary political media discourse, popular culture and art. Surrounding these drawings are lines connected to text, forms of labelling and numbering. The texts are moveable, seemingly adaptive to any view and their a/political circumstances. The act of communication, central to this work, is also seen in Sens’ work at the Portiershuisje at Buitenplaats Koningsweg. In a durational performance that will go on until the next sonsbeek edition, QR codes will bring together an ‘intermedial sensorium’. Sen reveals translation as a process of struggle from one context to another, one language to another, and ultimately from one performative plane to another.