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Artist of the Day | Sreshta Rit Premnath

Sreshta Rit Premnath

Zero Knot

Intstallation view at Art 41 Basel



Sreshta Rit Premnath (born 1979, Bangalore, India) works across multiple media, investigating systems of representation and reflecting on the process by which images become icons and events become history.

Premnath is the founder and co-editor of the publication Shifter and has had solo exhibitions at Ace Gallery, Los Angeles; Nomas Foundation, Rome; Kansas Gallery, New York; Gallery SKE, Bangalore; The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago; Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin; Wave Hill, New York; and Art Statements, Art Basel. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Queens Museum, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris; 1A Space, Hong Kong and Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde, Dubai. He completed his BFA at The Cleveland Institute of Art, his MFA at Bard College, and has attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, Skowhegan and Smack Mellon. He has received grants from Art Matters and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and was awarded the Arthur Levitt Fellowship from Williams College. Based in Brooklyn, Premnath is Assistant Professor at Parsons, New York.

Artist Statement

In “Zero Knot,” an installation and publication, I examine the spectral figure of the monument – a memorial from the past that points towards its historic conception of a future.

The central object in his installation is, what appears to be, a saluting figure standing on a pedestal that is covered up with tarp. This hidden figure is reminiscent of controversial political statues of deposed leaders about to be taken down, or conversely, statues of political leaders yet to be inaugurated.

Like the mathematical zero knot, the monument can be seen as a cipher, simultaneously absent and present. After all, the word monument is derived from the word monere, “to remind,” already containing within it the fear of forgetting.

Likewise, the objects that surround this figure also vacillate between past and future, the body and the image. They lean against walls, resembling signboards discarded after a protest.

Attached to some of the leaning, mirrored surfaces are prints that selectively crop and reveal the hand gestures of political leaders and their statues. It is as if these amputated articulations of power fill in the gesture that we are unable to discern in the hidden, central figure. Screen-prints of knots, diagrammatic chalk drawings and spray paint interrupt our view of these prints as well as our own reflections on the mirrored surfaces.

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