“The validity of poetry as evidence in a trial; the discourse on seeing, on understanding, on compassion, on issues of justice; sovereignty and the determination of the self—all come together in a constellation of moving and still images, texts, books, pamphlets, albums, music, objects, seeds, events and processes.” (Amar Kanwar)

Amar Kanwar, The Sovereign Forest, 2012. Installasjon. Filmstill. Foto: Trine Otte Bak Nielsen.


DURATION: November 23, 2013 – March 23, 2014
CURATED BY: Daniela Zyman
Free admission
Getting Here, Opening Hours, Guided Tours

LOCATION: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 
Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna, Austria

The TBA21-Augarten is a little bit outside of Viennas center. Nevertheless it’s worth to visit this excellent exhibition by Amar Kanwar called The Sovereign Forest. The Sovereign Forest presents artwork within one theme with different medias and artistic discipines like video, installation, sound, text, documentation, archive, … . So this show becomes an poetic atmosphere in it’s own. Bring some time to check and enjoy this!!

The Sovereign Forest engages multiple faculties of seeing, perceiving, understanding, registering, and evidencing— a process wherein the definitions of evidence, sovereignty, and truth start to crumble and to reemerge from their own fragility and porosity. Challenging legally permissible evidence and the institutional and conventional limits of the archive, The Sovereign Forest acts as a library of evidence.

2013-12-14 15.56.35 2013-12-14 16.03.44 2013-12-14 15.56.09

About Amar Kanwar
Amar Kanwar was born in 1964 in New Delhi. He started making films directly after entering Film school at the Mass Communications Research Centre of Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi. It was also during these years that he began to engage with political and social activism.

Poetically interweaving narration, image and sound, Kanwar’s distinct artistic style allowed him to document, rather than simply ‘expose’ the absurd, yet historically solidified scars and rituals of separation as well as the violence, hopes and dreams of the people affected. Kanwar’s following projects include Earth as Witness (1994), a film made for the Tibetan government-in-exile, A Season Outside(1997), focusing on the Indian-Pakistani border post at Wagah, the single-channel film A Night of Prophecy (2002), an episodic visual compendium of Indian protest poetry that premiered at documenta 11; the multi-channel installationsThe Torn First Pages (2004) dedicated to Ko Than Htay, a Mandalay book dealer imprisoned for sedition and seeking to create an understanding of the multiple dimensions of the Burmese democracy movement; the multi-channel installation The Lightning Testimonies (2007) that recorded the different cultures of remembrance in relation to India’s history of sexual violence and abduction. Finally, Kanwar’s latest work, The Sovereign Forest (2011), an ongoing research project, which explores the social and environmental impact of mining on the local community in Odisha, India.

TBA21 has been working closely with Amar Kanwar since 2006 when co-producing The Lightning Testimonies in New Delhi together with Public Press.

The artist lives and works in New Delhi.


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