Kolkata-born and New York-based, Rina Banerjee fills the entire gallery with her fantastical, immoderate sculptures and delicately swirling paintings in an exhibition that seeks to describe the human experience in an era of unprecedented migration and interconnectedness.
Banerjee’s sculptures are shamanistic assemblages of textiles, feathers, sparkling glass and tinkling bells. Beaded, embroidered and sensuously monstrous, they wantonly conjoin the exotic and rare with the cheap and mass-produced — rejecting conventional hierarchies of material and culture. In her paintings, chimeric female forms dance and float through vibrant, bountiful landscapes in states of hybrid transformation.
In a post-colonial, global world, identity — racial, cultural or gender — is no longer easily defined. In this exhibition, Banerjee offers up the optimistic possibility of a world freed from the constraints of conventional standards of beauty, worth, social pecking order and what is “proper.” We live in a moment of singular opportunity, Banerjee posits, a moment when it is possible for individuals to define themselves in a way that is truly authentic.
Rina Banerjee (b. 1963, Kolkata, India) received a BS in Polymer Engineering and worked as a research chemist before completing her MFA at Yale in 1995. Recent solo museum exhibitions include the Smithsonian Museum’s Sackler Galleries (Washington DC) and the Musée Guimet (Paris). Her work was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, the 2005 and 2015 Greater New York Shows at PS1/MOMA, the 2013 Venice Biennale’s White Light/White Heat at the Glasstress Museum, the 2015 Asian Art Biennial at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taichung) and the 2016 Busan Biennial, South Korea. Her work will be included in this year’s Prospect 4 New Orleans Biennial. Her work is in the collections of the Devi Art Foundation (New Delhi), Kiran Nadar Museum (New Delhi), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The Brooklyn Museum (New York), Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, CA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), and many others.