Tangled Hierarchy 2 Curated by Jitish Kallat

Now showing as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art presents Jitish Kallat’s Tangled Hierarchy 2, alongside his seminal installation Covering Letter.


Tangled Hierarchy was originally presented at John Hansard Gallery in summer 2022, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. We are delighted that this exhibition can be seen again.

The exhibition that centres on a collection of five humble yet remarkable used envelopes. Each envelope is addressed to Mahatma Gandhi and is now conserved within the Mountbatten Archive at the University of Southampton. The first iteration of Tangled Hierarchy opened at John Hansard Gallery Southampton UK on 2nd June 2022, marking 75 years to the day since the momentous meeting between Lord Louis Mountbatten (the newly appointed Viceroy of India) and Mahatma Gandhi.

On Monday 2nd June 1947, Mountbatten met with Mahatma Gandhi to discuss the imminent partition of the Indian subcontinent, a proposition strongly opposed by Gandhi. As a consequence of Gandhi undertaking a vow of silence on Mondays, the meeting took an unusual turn. Instead of conversing, he communicated with Mountbatten by writing notes on the backs of used envelopes, which are now the only surviving record of their exchange. Kallat takes the ‘Gandhi envelopes’ as a reference point for a series of artistic conversations and correspondences. Combining archival and scientific artefacts, alongside works by contemporary artists, Tangled Hierarchy explores the various relationships between silence and speech, visibility and invisibility, partitioned land, bodies, and pain. Themes of maps, borders, recurring cycles and unsettling displacement are woven throughout the exhibition.

Tangled Hierarchy 2 includes contributions by: Kader Attia, Kim Beom, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mahatma Gandhi, Mona Hatoum, Somnath Hore, The Partition Museum, S.L. Parasher, Sir Roger Penrose, Paul Pfeiffer, Dr Vilayanur S Ramachandran, Mykola Ridnyi, Prof Roger Shepard, Homai Vyarawalla, Alexa Wright and Zarina.

About Jitish Kallat:

Jitish Kallat was born in 1974 in Mumbai, India where he continues to live and work. His solo exhibitions at museums include institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (Mumbai), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Frist Art Museum (Nashville), the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia). Kallat’s work has been part of the Venice Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Havana Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale and the biennales of Curitiba, Guangzhou, Kiev and Bangkok amongst others. In 2017, the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi) presented a mid-career survey of his work titled Here After Here 1992-2017, curated by Catherine David. Kallat was the curator and artistic director of Whorled Explorations, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 and he curated I draw, therefore I think for the SOUTH SOUTH Platform in 2021.

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