Pallavi Paul, Changing Places in the Fire, film still, 2022
Artist and film scholar Pallavi Paul’s practice meets at the crossroads of cinema, literary cultures and political struggles. She engages the camera as her primary medium to interrogate how spiritual, technological, political and historical regimes of “truth” are produced and sustained in public life.
In her multi-disciplinary work, spanning film, installation, performance, drawing and writing, Paul is particularly interested in the tension between the document and its aesthetic utterance – the documentary. She produces filmic work situated at the frequency between fiction and documentary by way of conjuring visual poetry through different references. They are often recomposed from news footage, youtube digs, social media, historic sources and multilingual texts and are combined with newly shot material. While reacquainting her audience with the beginnings of cinema as an instrument of magic, courageous, uncanny and spirited protagonists emerge throughout her early and recent films.
Since 2020, Pallavi Paul has been exploring the expansive realm of breath not only through the singular body but through the collective as a transhistorical, transgeographical and transformative current. Observing what it means to recognise patterns of molecular colonialism, religious and racialised violence in today’s society, Paul turns to the act of breathing as a political, social, environmental and rhythmic refrain of life-making in times of dissent and vulnerability. The monumental challenges to health infrastructures as well as of breath evade screen temporality; it is a continuous process of circulation and regulation connecting the individual to all living entities.
During her time as the Artist in Residence at the Gropius Bau in 2023, Pallavi Paul further deepens her research on love and its embodied counterpart – the breath – posing the unique challenge of how to generate tangible mappings of something ever-present but “invisible”.
From August 2023, the Gropius Bau will present a prelude to her upcoming major solo exhibition in 2024. In How Love Moves: Prelude, a scenography around the three-channel video installation Cynthia Ke Sapne / The Dreams of Cynthia (2017) transforms the historic Schliemannsaal into a twilight space between wakefulness and sleep. The installation is freely accessible and accompanied by the public programme Six Days of Love, unfolding as a series of cinematic readings, conversational formats, performances and sonic acts between August 2023 and Spring 2024.
Curated by Natasha Ginwala