In Order to Join

Curatorial research on political-historic moments of the 1980s and 1990s

Rummana Hussain, In Order to Join, Filmstill der Ausstellung für Art in General, New York 1998. Courtesy: The Estate of Rummana Hussain / Talwar Gallery Delhi/New York

The Museum Abteiberg is an old municipal museum with a contemporary collection which focuses on the recent generation of international artists. The works by Rummana Hussain (1952 – 1999) serve as the starting point. The Indian artist produced her central works of early conceptual, installation-based and multimedia art in Mumbai and New York. Her view of the “dematerialization of the artwork” was embraced by the Indian art scene remarkably early. However, compared to her European and North American contemporaries, very few in Germany are acquainted with her works. In fact, the younger generation of Indian and Pakistani artists hardly attracts any attention outside India, though their works critically reflect on shifts in the political and social landscape, religious upheavals and deritualization. The Indo-canadian art historian Swapnaa Tamhane was responsible for developing and co-curating the exhibition in cooperation with the museum and the post-graduate programme “Art criticism and curatorial knowledge”. The selected works in the exhibition expressed the wish to participate in European discourse and the desire to contribute to the discussion concerning Western values. The project also worked on furthering the concept of a “World Art Academy” and integrated it into the fellowship programme.

Exhibition "In Order to Join - Political in a Historical Moment"

Curated by Swapnaa Tamhane und Susanne Titz. “In Order to Join” toured to Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, 26 February to 10 April 2015. There was a workshop in association with KHOJ Workshop, Delhi in Spring 2015. Artists: Helen Chadwick, Chohreh Feyzdjou, Angela Grauerholz, Sheela Gowda, Jamelie Hassan, Mona Hatoum, Rummana Hussain, Shelagh Keeley, Astrid Klein, Ana Mendieta, Pushpamala N., Adrian Piper, Lala Rukh, and Rosemarie Trockel

The International Museum Fellowship programme

With this funding programme, the Federal Cultural Foundation enables guest curators and researchers from abroad to work at museums or public collections in Germany for a duration of 18 months.

International Museum Fellowship (external link, opens in a new window)

Swapnaa Tamhane, Fellow at the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg

Indo-canadian art historian Swapnaa Tamhane (*1976) has been closely studying the work of the indian performance and installation artist Rummana Hussain (1952-1999) since writing her Masters dissertation. In 2012 she co-organized a symposia with the University of Toronto and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery looking at the developments of performance art in India, Africa, and through movements like Relational Aesthetics. She has given lectures and written articles regarding the political climate of the 1990s in India and its effect on art and culture. Her interest is related to understanding developments towards the contemporary landscape that is the India we see today.


Städtisches Museum Abteiberg

Abteistr. 27

41061 Mönchengladbach (external link, opens in a new window)