15 Invitations for 15 years is a special programme series featuring exhibitions, projects, written works, performances, a blog, and publication marking Asia Art Archive‘s 15-year anniversary. AAA’s e-journal-turned blog “Field Notes” and a set of dossiers trace each invitation to document the process, resulting in a final print publication.
From March 21 – May 21, Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta presents ‘That photo we never got‘, a research-based project that explores the worlds of friendship, associations, love, and incongruities in the field of art.
By drawing out narratives from AAA’s collection, incomplete stories are gathered from documents on art institutions, artist-organised camps, workshops, exhibitions, publications, and travels around the world—extending into some of the addas and activities in Mumbai, where the artist is based.
Working alongside AAA Senior Researcher Sabih Ahmed, the artist looks at AAA material from the 60s, 70s, and 80s to follow the innumerable tangents and overlapping vectors across and beyond the Archive’s collection. Gupta delves into chance encounters and fraught friendships, some imagined and others not, revealing the varied aspirations of artists and their relationships to peers, cities, and the world.
Gupta’s practice examines the dynamics of contexts, perception, and cartographies of knowledge, and has often incorporated methods of archiving into her work. While a number of stories gathered in this project had archival trails to follow, others surfaced as annotations from conversations and interviews conducted during its research. As the artist herself stated, ‘an archive can only be a proposal’, this project positions itself as an incomplete proposition of fragments placed in the interstices of the archival document and living memory.