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"Beyond Bollywood"
The Press on Being Singular Plural

"Being Singular Plural: Moving Images from India" is the first show at the Deutsche Guggenheim to dedicate itself exclusively to contemporary art from India. The show calls on visitors to confront various different levels of reality and meaning in the moving image. For the press, the show's quality lies mainly in the presentation of complex works that belie cliché notions of Indian cinema.

Ingeborg Wiensowski of Spiegel-Online writes that the exhibition Being Singular Plural succeeds in questioning customary ways of seeing "with the images from the foreign subcontinent. (…) However, the viewer is called upon to really and truly confront the foreign." The best prerequisite for this is an "imagination that delights in experimentation." Wiensowski comes to the conclusion that it is "an exhibition worth seeing, because Indian cinema is rarely on view beyond the gigantic entertainment industry of Bollywood." Silke Hennig of Kulturradio takes a similar view: the show "gives a good idea as to why India's art scene is internationally on the rise-way beyond the heartache epics of Bollywood." Manuela Lintl (Neues Deutschland), in a piece titled "Beyond Bollywood," also writes of the contrast between the works shown at the Deutsche Guggenheim and commercial Indian cinema. She stresses the complexity of the "extremely critical examples of contemporary video and film art" shown: "in the face of the abundance of the critical and analytical approaches brought together here in only a few select works (…) the exhibition is an intellectual challenge for the public. Despite this, at first glance the (…) works seem incredibly accessible in a very sensuous and poetic way." Thomas Voelkner of Deutsche Welle World reports that the visitors to the Deutsche Guggenheim "can discover another side to Indian filmmaking" - and works that are "trying to trigger new ways of thinking and seeing".

Irmgard Berner of the Berliner Zeitung describes the exhibition as a "walk through a world that is far away and yet so close, teeming with contrasts and contradictions." The artist's view is "indeed extraordinary, personal and yet at the same time socially relevant. Exciting in its joy in process and experimentation." In the Tagesspiegel, Christina Tilmann remarks that the artists in the exhibition are "basically always concerned about the same things: life in a politically unstable and socially problematic zone." She is particularly impressed by Amar Kanwar's "extremely sophisticated installation" on the military dictatorship in Burma, The Torn First Pages-"a fragile, fleeting form of homage to an unknown hero." For Welf Grombacher, as well, (Märkische Oderzeitung) the show reflects the current situation in the region: "India is a land in the midst of great change. Between tradition and the modern. The quality of the show at the Berlin Guggenheim consists in the fact that it makes this transition between moved and moving images palpable."

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