Astha Butail selected for next BMW Art Journey. India-based artist to travel and work in Israel, the United Kingdom, Iran and India.

Her winning project titled “In the Absence of Writing”, will, in the artist’s words, be “an homage to the intangible oral traditions that are still alive today.” For the BMW Art Journey, Butail plans to investigate the Zoroastrian Avesta, Jewish Oral Torah and Indian Veda traditions by experiencing and recording their different memory techniques and interviewing scholars and practitioners of each tradition. The journey will lead through the cities of Yazd (Iran), Jerusalem (Israel), London (United Kingdom), Varanasi, Pune, New Delhi and Mumbai (India).

In its joint statement the international jury, Claire Hsu, Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Bose Krishnamachari, President, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich; Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Global Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum, New York; and Pauline J. Yao, Curator Visual Art, M+, Hong Kong, praised Butail’s concept for the depth of its research and its multidimensional approach.

Threaded together by Memosounds, 2015, Photo Credit: Astha Butail

“We were struck by its sensitivity and range, and how it expands upon the artist‘s prior practice of investigating her own history and identity. The journey brings together ethnography, spirituality, and sociology. We were especially taken by Ms. Butail’s interest in tracking down endangered oral traditions, which she will document with the tools of an artist and through interactions with scholars and spiritual leaders. In a digital age, when knowledge is fragmented, meaning is evanescent, and face-to-face contacts are fleeting, this project reconnects us to a slower world, where ideas were shared through deep and sustained personal interactions. Last but not least, we are excited that this Art Journey will bring the artist to regions that previous artists in the series have not yet visited.”

In addition to Astha Butail, the shortlisted artists from the discoveries sector for emerging artists at Art Basel in Hong Kong were Julian Charrière represented by DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin and Lin Ke represented by BANK, Shanghai.

Astha Butai GALLERYSKE, Bangalore

Astha Butail, born in 1977 in Amritsar, India, lives and works in Gurgaon. Central to her artistic practice is the use of geometry as a means of inquiry to understand how different composite elements of an entity relate to its whole. Her themes are memory and time, the idea of the archive, and collaborative authorship. At this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, Butail is presenting her work titled “Turning towards pure white” (2017) including an assemblage of wall and floor based elements as well as framed panels, three-dimensional pieces extruded from the picture plane, and a participatory book. Butail’s debut solo exhibition was shown at GALLERYSKE, Bangalore. Recent group exhibitions include Experimenter, Kolkata, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, and Masquelibros Artists’ Book Fair, Madrid.

Julian Charrière DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin

Born in 1987 in Morges, Switzerland, Julian Charrière lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Berlin University of Arts. Charrière’s artistic practice includes performance, sculpture, and photography. His projects often stem from fieldwork in remote locations with acute geophysical identities such as volcanoes, ice-fields, and radioactive sites. At Art Basel in Hong Kong Charrière is presenting his work “Coconut Lead Fondue” (2016), consisting of a series of large format photographs, two vitrine sculptures and an installation. Charrière’s solo exhibitions include Sean Kelly, New York, Sies + Höke, Dusseldorf, and Musée Cantonal Des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne. The artist has exhibited in recent group shows at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna and will exhibit at the 2017 Biennale in Venice.

Lin Ke BANK, Shanghai

Born in 1984 in Wenzhou, China, Lin Ke lives and works in Beijing. He graduated from the New Media Arts Department of the China Academy of Art in 2008 and received the OCAT - Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014 and the Chinese Youth Artist Award of the 9th AAC Art 2015.
At Art Basel in Hong Kong, the artist is presenting “Like Me” (2016), a video recording of a performance and two image based works, showing his exploration of the variety of the World Wide Web, such as applications functioning as catalyst for making art and self-portraiture. Ke’s work has been exhibited at ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,Tokyo, and the 11th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai.