Rossi & Rossi is thrilled to be presenting the first ever survey of Indian-born Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao (b. 1975) in our Wong Chuk Hang space from 18 March to 13 May, 2023.
Rao is known for her long-term, multidisciplinary projects, comprising layered installations of books, etchings, drawings, pseudo-scientific machines, metaphysical puzzles, video, ideological boardgames, garbage and archives. Her interests include archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, ecologies and natural history.
Her art, books, films, and photographs look at current and historical flash points as perspectival shifts to examining contemporary crises of displacement, whether of people, languages, cultures, or knowledge bodies. As an artist, Rao critically, poetically and wittily examines the systems of knowledge that structure our world. Her immersive and tongue-in-cheek works range from creating archaeological archives of garbage, writing How To manuals for building a nation and a culture from scratch, discovering and diagnosing peculiar forms of urban malaise where digital dandruff and pixel dust accumulate like lint and cloud the contemporary brain, building immortal jellyfish, to pseudo-museums regenerating mechanisms of knowledge accumulation, storage, and destruction.
To coincide with the survey, a catalogue documenting Rao's practice from 2008 to 2022 will be published with an essay written by art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art JenniferGross.
Alongside Shubigi Rao's survey in the gallery, the artist will be staging a new iteration of her 2008 work The River of Ink as part of Encounters, a showcase curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor at Art Basel Hong Kong from the 21st to 26th March. River of Ink II (2023) is an installation comprising three hundred hand-lettered and hand-drawn books soaked in the same inks with which the artist draws and letters in her notebooks. The books undergo dissolution, some 'pulped' beyond salvage, some collapsing under the weight of their own accumulation, a powerfully redolent work of the warring impulses of creation and destruction.
About Shubigi Rao
Shubigi Rao is an award-winning multidisciplinary Singaporean artist who has exhibited in international biennales and institutions and won accolades for both her visual art practice and literary works. Her fields of study include histories and lies, literature and violence, libraries and archival systems, ecologies and natural history. Her current decade-long project, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book is about the history of book destruction and the future of knowledge. In 2020 the second book from the project won the Singapore Literature Prize (non-fiction), while the first volume was shortlisted for the prize in 2018. Both books have won numerous awards, including AIGA (New York)’s 50 best books of 2016, and D&AD Pencil for design. The first exhibition of the project, Written in the Margins, won the APB Signature Prize 2018 Juror's Choice Award. Rao has also been featured in the 10th Asia-Pacific Triennial (2021-22), March Meets (2019), 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018), 10th Taipei Biennial (2016), 3rd Pune Biennale (2017), 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), and the Singapore Writers Festival (2013, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022). Key publications include Pulp II: A Visual Bibliography of the Banished Book (2018), Written in the Margins (2017), Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, Vol. I of V (2016), and History’s Malcontents: The Life and Times of S. Raoul (2013). Rao represented Singapore at the National Pavilion in La Biennale di Venezia (Arte) in 2022. She is also currently the Artistic Director for the upcoming Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022, South Asia's biggest visual arts event.