Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400


Sreshta Rit Premnath: Grave/Grove

Explore the possibilities and limits of political agency

17 September

27 February

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

Sreshta Rit Premnath uses sculpture, photography, video, and painting to explore the possibilities and limits of political agency. Borrowing from the strategies of Minimalism and Conceptualism — 20th century art movements known for simplicity of form and primacy of the idea — he works with natural, and industrial materials to create environments that highlight the inequities faced by migrants, refugees, and other marginalized groups.

For his solo exhibition at the CAC, Premnath explores how shared spaces of growth and care, such as community gardens or nurseries, can be embedded within dehumanizing spaces of collective discipline and confinement, such as detention centers or refugee camps. Weeds sourced from communities around the museum grow between sheets of aluminum cut to resemble unfolded cardboard boxes. Above these, suspended figurative sculptures hang in pairs, submitting to gravity as they lean on each other for support. Drawing from his own experience as an immigrant to the United States and an advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and incarcerated individuals, Premnath employs weeds as an allegory for the complex relationship that so-called outsiders have to the land they occupy. “The condition of being different — ‘other’ — becomes a radical precondition for political possibility.” Premnath writes, “The very bodies that do not count — that are dead to the social process — hold the key to reanimate the social.”

About the Artist

Sreshta Rit Premnath (b. 1979, Bangalore, India; lives in Brooklyn, NY) is an artist and the founding editor of Shifter, an issue-based journal focused on contemporary art, creative writing, and critical theory. His work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Spaces, Cleveland (2007); Wave Hill, New York (2011); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2012); Nomas Foundation, Rome (2017); and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2019), among others. He has participated in group exhibitions including The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2011); The Hollow Center, Smack Mellon, New York (2013); Common Space, The Kitchen, New York (2014); After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997, The Queens Museum, New York; So-Called Utopias, Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (both 2015); Cartography of Ghosts, The Drawing Center, New York (2016); The Socrates Annual, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York (2017); L’Intrus Redux, Westfalischer Kunstverein, Münster (2019), and The Protest and the Recuperation, Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, New York (2021), among others. He holds a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art (2003) and an MFA from Bard College (2006). Premnath is Assistant Professor of Fine Art at the Parsons School of Design in New York.

Curated by

The exhibition is curated by Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center. It is co-organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, where a solo exhibition by Premnath curated by Natalie Bell is on view from October 22, 2021 to February 13, 2022. The accompanying publication, a special edition of the artist’s journal, Shifter 25: Waiting, is co-produced by the CAC and the List Center and follows from a series of public discussions convened by Shifter and co-hosted the CAC and the List Center last year.

Sponsored by

James L. and Linda F. MillerJohn and Ronnie ShoreGale and Dave BeckettJimmy and Lauren MillerJason McCaw Exhibition FundCarol Weston RobertsBarbara Weston Sasser

Supported by

CAC Exhibition Fund

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