RSS / Venice Biennale, 2015


2015's Italia Docet | Laboratorium marked Sharma Singh's first appearance at the Venice Biennale, with two multimedia installations drawing on the work of renowned Indian philosophers Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. The first, entitled 1915-2015 His Garden, One Hundred Years Later, is based around a 1915 poem by Tagore that addresses an unknown reader a century in the future, musing on the poem's ability to transfer thoughts and emotions through time with words alone. This theme is taken up and brought into the21st century by Sharma Singh, who, combiningfound objects with dried flowers, glass, nails and cloth, among others, looks ahead to the next hundred years of what Tagore's Garden may look like.

The second installation exhibited at the biennale draws on the 19th century religious thinker Sri Ramakrishna, and his disciple Swami Vivekananda, and again seeks to transfer historical philosophies into the contemporary. This time it is Sri Ramakrishna's critiquing on the dogma of religious traditions, in which followers of different faiths are taught to stand apart from each other, instead of together.With a number of rich, 14-carat gold grains forming star-like patterns across a series of raised black blocks, at once apart yet conjoined, the piece reflects Revati's modern call for religions and traditions to complement, not contradict, each other.