Raqs Media Collective to Present Work Commissioned by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Raqs Media Collective presents The Things That Happen When Falling in Love, a new commission for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art from Friday 2 April through Sunday 20 June 2010. Based in New Delhi, Raqs comprises Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Working collaboratively as artists, writers, curators and researchers, their work spans many media and explores the relationship between contemporary art, historical enquiry and philosophical speculation.

The Things That Happen When Falling in Love was inspired by the Collective’s visit to Tyneside in spring 2009. Starting points for the work are provided by the North East’s maritime history, specifically recent photographs that document the giant Swan Hunter shipbuilding cranes leaving the River Tyne to be repurposed in India. Part sculpture, part poetry, part meditation, the installation incorporates found footage to become an elegy to the emotions of bereavement and longing that are felt at times of loss. Transcending geographic and cultural borders, these emotions bind the world together and create unexpected intimacies across great distances.

Raqs’ installation weaves together image and text to describe the movement of ships and people. Words such as ‘analysing’, ‘evaluating’, ‘classifying’, ‘easing’ and ‘indexing’ are used to represent the rough winds that speed ships across vast oceans and, at the same time, the emotional turbulence of falling in love. Using found photographs and film footage, Raqs create a vision of a world where the fortunes of both love and labour are framed and dismantled by global forces. Ways of life die and are re-born elsewhere as industries such as shipbuilding relocate from the North of England to the West Coast of India. Like on-shore sweethearts bidding farewell to men in sailing ships, the world watches its own histories float away.

As well as recent solo shows at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, and Tate Britain, they have had ‘Decomposition’ hosted at the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2009), and “The KD Vyas Correspondence Vol.1” at Museum of Communication, Frankfurt (2006) amongst other solo shows. Their recent group exhibitions include ‘Indian Highway’ at Serpentine Gallery, London; ‘The Art of Participation’ at SF MoMA, San Francisco; ‘The Collection as Aleph’ at Kunst Museum, Graz (all in 2008); and ‘Shooting Back’ at Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2007). They were also co-curators of the 2008 Manifesta 7 Biennale.

BALTIC is a major international centre for contemporary art situated on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, England. BALTIC presents a constantly changing, distinctive and ambitious programme of exhibitions and events, and is a world leader in the presentation, commissioning and communication of contemporary visual art. BALTIC has welcomed over 3 million visitors, since opening to the public in July 2002.