The San José Museum of Art, California (SJMA) is pleased to present its major spring exhibition, Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World, the first mid-career retrospective on the contemporary practice of Rina Banerjee, co-organized with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (PAFA).
Known for her large-scale sculptures and installations made from materials sourced throughout the world, Banerjee’s works investigate the splintered experiences of identity, tradition, and culture, prevalent in diasporic communities.
Make Me a Summary of the World will be on view to the public from May 16, 2019 through October 6, 2019 in the galleries at SJMA. It will be accompanied by extensive programming and a full-color, 160-page catalogue co-published by SJMA and PAFA. After the exhibition closes at SJMA it will then embark on a national tour.
Banerjee (born 1963) is one of the most important artists of the post-colonial Indian diaspora living in the United States and her work has been shown most extensively in Europe and South Asia. This exhibition, the first in-depth examination into the artist’s work, will consider Banerjee in both American and global frameworks, specifically in relation to Banerjee’s approach to feminism, globalism, colonialism and the environment.
Susan Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director of the San José Museum of Art, said, “We are thrilled to bring Banerjee’s monumental work to the people of Silicon Valley and the West Coast, reiterating SJMA’s dedication to foster awareness of artists’ broad contributions to society. Banerjee’s art explores globalization, migration, and identity—themes that reflect our community.”
SJMA curator Lauren Schell Dickens, added: “For twenty years, Rina has been using her work to disrupt conventional notions of identity, delving into the complex territory of cultural fragmentation and self-identification, which makes her an important voice today. We’re particularly excited to be presenting this rich examination of her work in San José, which is home to so many diasporic groups.”
Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art at PAFA, remarked: “Make Me a Summary of the World marks a defining moment for Rina. As the artist’s first retrospective, it traces her work over twenty years, culminating in sculptures made for the 57th Venice Biennale and 2017 Prospect Triennial in New Orleans—important exhibitions that reflect one of the most exciting periods of recognition in Rina’s career.”
Bringing together several of Banerjee’s monumental installations in conversation with more than two dozen sculptures, as well as a thorough selection of works on paper, Make Me a Summary of the World will transform SJMA into an immersive experience.
Using a variety of gathered materials ranging from African tribal jewelry to colorful feathers, light bulbs, and Murano glass, Banerjee’s sensuous assemblages present themselves simultaneously as familiar and unfamiliar, thriving on tensions between visual cultures and raising questions about exoticism, cultural appropriation, globalization, and feminism. Her works are named with thought-provoking and poetic titles that are works of art in themselves, ranging in length from 50 to 180 words.
About Rina Banerjee
Born in Calcutta, India in 1963, Banerjee was raised in the United Kingdom and United States. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Polymer Engineering from Case Western in 1993 and took a job as a polymer research chemist upon graduation. After several years, she left the science profession to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts from Yale University. Banerjee currently divides her time between New York City and Philadelphia.
She has exhibited in San Francisco, New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, New Delhi, and notably in a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in 2013. Her works are also included in many private and public collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France; Queens Museum (NY); Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi, and the Brooklyn Museum (NY).