Goutam Ghosh lives in India. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo, in Norway, and at the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, in India. He has presented solo shows at Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin; Kunsthalle in Hamburg; Standard in Oslo; and Project 88 in Mumbai, and has also participated in international group exhibitions with David Zwirner Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago, among others. Ghosh is part of the Desert Lab Collective in Kutch, and was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude.
This newly commissioned video installation by Goutam Ghosh was produced in India during a film-making workshop with local musicians, artists and community members. The film, which is complemented by several sculptural works, explores the complexities inherent in the representation of images, cultures and forms. Its aesthetic stands at the junction of an ethnographic proposal and an alternative narrative. The film tells the story of an abandoned government building featuring a glowing sign with the words “Kuppi” and surrounded by a Mahua forest. Kuppi is a metallic vessel with a narrow hole extended with a short pipe in the end, typically used to absorb moisture, crystal liquor, from the air. Mahua is the name of a flower used to make liqueur. The local youth and elders often come together in this place, partying, toy-making and storytelling. There is a symbolic moment, when a toy elephant is baked in a forest fire, as very often at night, elephants appear and block the way for the villagers, pushing forest security police to go further. It is the shadow of the elephant that delays the story in the forest.
Image: A still image from Goutam Ghosh’s Kuppi (2021). Courtesy of the practitioner.