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Public Art

Jitish Kallat: Tangled Hierarchy

Tan­gled Hier­ar­chy explores the rela­tion­ships between silence/​speech, visibility/​invisibility, action/​inaction, bodies/​phantom pain.

02/06/22 – 12/09/22
Opening Times
Sun–Mon, Closed
Tue–Sat, 11:00 – 17:00
John Hansard Gallery, part of the University of Southampton, is pleased to present Tangled Hierarchy, an exhibition that centres on a collection of five humble, yet remarkable, used envelopes. Each envelope carries the name of Mahatma Gandhi and all are carefully conserved within the Mountbatten Archive at the University of Southampton.

On Monday 2nd June 1947, Lord Mountbatten met with Mahatma Gandhi to discuss the imminent partition of the Indian Subcontinent; a proposition strongly opposed by Gandhi. As a consequence of Gandhi undertaking a vow of silence on Mondays, the meeting took an unusual turn. Instead of conversing, Gandhi communicated with Mountbatten via handwritten notes on the backs of some used envelopes, which are now the only surviving record of their exchange. Tangled Hierarchy opens on 2nd June 2022, marking 75 years to the day since this momentous meeting.

John Hansard Gallery invited the artist Jitish Kallat to curate an exhibition which considers the Mountbatten Archive and the Gandhi envelopes as a reference point for a series of artistic conversations and correspondences. Combining archival and scientific artefacts, alongside works by contemporary artists, Tangled Hierarchy explores the various relationships between silence and speech, visibility and invisibility, action and inaction, partitioned land, bodies and phantom pain. Themes of maps, borders, continuous movement and unsettling displacement are woven throughout the exhibition.

Featuring: Kader Attia, Kim Beom, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mahatma Gandhi, Zarina Hashmi, Mona Hatoum, The Partition Museum, Sir Roger Penrose, Paul Pfeiffer, Vilyanur Ramachandran, Roger Shephard, Homai Vyarawalla, Alexa Wright.

Tangled Hierarchy is curated by Jitish Kallat.