Michella Perera examines the intersection between our prevalent culture of tourism and the fictionalisation of culture within developing ‘exotic’ countries which results in the obfuscation of cultural artefacts. In her exhibition at 16 Nicholson Street Perera has recontextualised and developed works made during her residency at Pilotenkueche, Leipzig, to better consider Glasgow’s relationship to cultural tourism, expectations of ‘enrichment through travelling’, and what objects of culture might signify when their originating context is removed through their presentation within a cross-cultural setting. The exhibition juxtaposes works that engage with traditional imagery, forms, and craft practices from the Indian subcontinent (Perera’s birthplace) with reproductions of typical and souvenir objects.
In doing so, the exhibition performs the writing of sacred spaces into the domestic and the public, considering the way in which the dislocation of the souvenir object relocates significance through what is brought to it and what is brought back from it. Perera’s sculptures investigate the functional and ornamental to navigate the concurrent fetishization and commodification of ‘found’ cultural objects and the push and pull of the identifiable and unidentifiable. Perera reconfigures objects of touristic attraction, the disposable and the novelty curiosa, and through the juxtaposition of the two draws on the potential for new realities – non-linear narratives that perform the aforementioned fictionalization. In the souvenir object’s relation of time and space it also relates missed connections: in being missed, these connections create different fictions, different narratives that comes from the subsequent disconnected combination of intention, location, and translation.
Curators: Isabella Shields and Nell Cardozo.
With thanks to Marc Etienne for installation work and Aga Paulina Młyńczak for poster design.
Intersectional Event: 24.02.20 / 14:30
Glasgow Museums Resource Centre Tour with Pat Allan and Michella Perera
To supplement the exhibition, the gallery collaborated with Glasgow Museums Resource Centre for a tour of the Indian subcultural items in its ‘World Cultures’ collection. This foregrounded the conversation held within Perera’s work about the construction of a cultural narrative and created a dialogue between these objects that allows for mediation of these objects into significance and insignificance.