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Sreshta Rit Premnath Exhibits GRAVE/GROVE at MIT List Visual Arts Center

GRAVE/GROVE at MIT List is featured in Art in America as one of the twelve shows to know about this October

Sreshta Rit Premnath
GRAVE/GROVE
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge
October 21st, 2021 – February 13, 2022
Curated by Natalie Bell


Installation view: Sreshta Rit Premnath: Grave/Grove, September 17, 2021 – February 27, 2022, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. Photo: Wes Battoclette

Sreshta Rit Premnath uses sculpture, photography, video, and painting to explore the possibilities and limits of political agency. Borrowing from the strategies of Minimalism and Conceptualism—20th century art movements known for simplicity of form and primacy of the idea—he works with natural, and industrial materials to create environments that highlight the inequities faced by migrants, refugees, and other marginalized groups.

His most recent work, which will debut in Grave/Grove, reflects his interest in how shared spaces of growth and care, such as community gardens or nurseries, can be embedded within the otherwise dehumanizing spaces of collective discipline and confinement, such as detention centers or refugee camps. Premnath’s new works incorporate live plants—specifically, species that are considered to be weeds—that emerge from the gaps in flat, raw-cut milled aluminum panels cut to the shape of unfurled cardboard boxes. Within some of his assemblages, plaster-coated foam figures slump and lay, their bodies merging with the ground as they too become sites for growth. The use of “weeds” calls attention to the correspondence between horticultural and social systems, and what is deemed undesirable, or subject to removal. Alluding to the realities faced by individuals living a precarious or disenfranchised existence, Premnath’s work extends post-minimalism’s aesthetics to confront current sociopolitical conditions of austerity and dispossession—and, within them, robust sites of resilience and agency.

The exhibition is co-organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati where a solo exhibition by Premnath curated by Amara Antilla is on view through February 27, 2022. The accompanying publication, a special edition of the artist’s journal, Shifter 25: Waiting, is co-produced by the CAC and the List Center and follows from a series of public discussions convened by Shifter and co-hosted the CAC and the List Center last year.

Documentation of GRAVE/GROVE at CAC Cincinnati is now available here.