Samdani Art Foundation



“Blackening VI”, 2014. Duration: 8 hours, Performance Commissioned for Dhaka Art Summit


Nikhil Chopra, Blackening VI, 2014. Commissioned and produced by the Samdani Art Foundation for the Dhaka Art Summit 2014. Courtesy of the artist, the Dhaka Art Summit and the Samdani Art Foundation. 

Nikhil Chopra’s artistic practice ranges from live art, theatre, painting, photography, to sculpture and installations. His performances, in large part improvised, dwell on issues such as identity, the role of autobiography, the pose and self-portraiture, reflects on the process of transformation and the part played by the duration of performance. Taking autobiographical elements as his starting point, Chopra combines everyday life and collective history; daily acts such as eating, resting, washing and dressing, but also drawing and making clothes, acts which acquire the value of ritual, and become an essential part of the show. Chopra’s performances on the international art scene began in 2008, when the artist was invited to contribute to Time Crevasse (Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama), Chalo India! (Mori Art Museum, Tokyo) and Indian Highway (Serpentine Gallery, London). In 2009 he showed his work at the Astrup Fearnley Museum Oslo, kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels, and also took part in Making Worlds (53rd Venice Biennale) and Marina Abramovic Presents (Manchester International Festival, The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester).

Blackening VI is an act of transformation. Nikhil will present an 8-hour performance where he will use charcoal to transform himself and the space he occupies. The walls, the floor and his body will all become surfaces on which he will draw. The connotations of “Blackface” and its association with race, or simply, the association of “Black is bad and white is good,” are challenged in this work.