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Neha Choksi

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1973, USA
Lives and works in both Los Angeles & Mumbai

Neha Choksi’s works are centered on the idea of absence. Through sculpture and video installation techniques, she uses negative imagery such as ‘absenting’, ‘erasing’, ‘shrinking’, ‘exhausting’ and ‘disappearing’ in her art works in order to make her viewers understand the importance of the concept of ‘presence’ and ‘renewal’. Full of emotion, the artist’s works easily arouses the consciousness of the viewers.

Education

2000

Masters in Classics, Columbia University, New York

1997

Bachelors in Fine Arts, University of California, Los Angeles

1997

Bachelors in Classical Greek, University of California, Los Angeles

VIEW     Selected exhibitions     Text      Videos      Awards      Selected images      View all

LIFE AND WORK

MAPPING THE ARTIST

12

Gallery Show Solo

12

Countries exhibited in

0

Museum Show Solo

3

International / national residencies

18

Years in Practice

0

Auctions

2

Special Projects

3

Biennales

0

Museum/public collections

2

Museum Show Group

14

Publications

1

Awards

34

Gallery Show Group

3

Art Fairs

UNDERSTANDING Neha Choksi

Neha Choksi's mixed heritage influences her art

She was born in the United States, raised in India, and formally educated in the Fine Arts and Indo-European philology at UCLA and Columbia University. She lives and works in Mumbai and Los Angeles. This mixed upbringing brings with it issues of exile and relocation, a sort o identity crisis, where identity can be defined both positively and negatively.

There is nothing ordinary about her journey as it is not the usual journey with a fixed starting and destination point. Through her own experience, Neha Choksi wishes to enlighten the viewers about the ephemeral nature of life itself. We are so preoccupied and caught up with our materialistic lives that we have actually forgotten the true state of our being.

It’s interesting to understand why Choksi uses an ice-made boat for her journey. ‘Ice’ itself stands for transience and it won’t last long. It will melt and so will the clothes along with it. In the end, that which will remain is the body. So, through her video performance, the artist unveils the revelatory meaning behind life and its journey.

Neha Choksi, Iceboat, 2013, HD video, color, stereo sound, 13 mins

The central theme woven around Choksi's works is the idea of absence

Neha Choksi's poetic oeuvre presents a materially bound search for, and acceptance of, various forms of absences - absenting and emptying. Her art takes matter apart in substance and form, in metaphor and media. She often makes tragicomic, even absurd, interventions in the life of a plant, an animal, or her own, and in so doing trespasses on the vulnerability, intimacy and isolation that is experienced.

Similarly, for Neha Choksi, the value of ‘presence’ can only be understood through its absence, erasure and negation. Choksi adopts the idea of erasure through her knowledge of the Jain philosophy that preaches the practice of anti-materialistic desires. The idea of absence is suggestive of the religious notion of renunciation. Neha Choksi’s video installation “Leaf Fall” can be approached through a practice of Jain monks of pulling out hair from one’s head one by one. Thus, even in its decay, the tree attains renewal.

Neha Choksi, Leaf fall (still), single-channel HD Digital video projection, 14:14 mins(looped)

The symbol of animals is prevalent in Choiksi's works

“I wanted to put myself into the category of animals.” Neha Choksi’s desire of experiencing and living an unconscious state of being along with those of the animals seems hilarious on the surface level, but it is an act that she displays for her viewers to feel encouraged to come forward to help. Neha Choksi validates her philosophy of life through experiments which she very courageously undertakes. The act of unconsciousness gives freedom to the mind and body and allows a temporary respite from the mundane and materialistic life.

Neha Choksi, Minds to Lose (film), 2011, single channel video installation, HD, color, widescreen, sound, 11 min 54 sec.

Choksi works with a range of mediums

For Neha Choksi, her poetic oeuvre presents a materially bound search for, and acceptance of, various forms of absences - absenting and emptying.She works with a huge range of materials.Whether sculpture, video, photography or performance, her art takes matter apart in substance and form, in metaphor and media. She often makes tragicomic, even absurd, interventions in the life of a plant, an animal, or her own, and in so doing trespasses on the vulnerability, intimacy and isolation that is experienced.

Neha Choksi

The artist's sculptures are influenced by Greek literature

Neha Choksi deliberately creates the element of mystery so that the viewers can create multiple meanings out of the experience of ‘nothingness’ and ‘absence’ that she portrays in her works. The artist’s fondness for Greek Classical texts such as those of Sappho and others helped her to imbibe the notion of incompleteness which also reflects in her works. Her attempt to offer a dubious and ambiguous image is an act to make the viewer complete the very incompleteness of her work through the gesture of meaning making.

Neha Choksi, I can’t drop off, yellow cotton mattress, single clear vase, white flowers, and time, life-size