Karthik Pandian is an artist who works in film, sculpture, performance, and public interventions to unsettle the ground of history and render mythologies of the present through forgotten, fragmentary, and futuristic pasts. Pandian has held solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Bétonsalon in Paris, and Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, amongst others. His work has been featured in numerous survey exhibitions such as the inaugural LA Biennial at the Hammer Museum; La Triennale: Intense Proximity at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015, at Whitechapel Gallery, London. Pandian’s recent project, Atlas Unlimited, a collaboration with Andros Zins-Browne and Zakaria Almoutlak, culminated in a solo presentation in New York City at 80WSE in 2019 and a commission by Triple Canopy published in the Spring of 2021. He received his BA in Art Semiotics and Comparative Literature from Brown University and his MFA from Art Center College of Design. Pandian teaches in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University.
Karthik Pandian is an artist who works in film, sculpture, performance, and public interventions to unsettle the ground of history and render mythologies of the present through forgotten, fragmentary, and futuristic pasts.Artist Bio
On June 10, 2020, under cover of night, a monument to Christopher Columbus was anonymously beheaded in Boston Harbor. Hours later, protestors led by American Indian Movement activist Mike Forcia toppled a Columbus statue on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol. Direct action against settler colonialism uncoiling in the wake of George Floyd’s murder connected a critical circuit of solidarity and resources between the Movement for Black Lives and the ongoing Indigenous insurgency against the sovereignty of the US. Lucid Decapitation conducts the energy of these acts of destruction into film form, documenting, dramatizing, and speculating around the histories that animated them through the rhetoric and conventions of Hindu mythological cinema. The work searches for relationality in Columbus’s geographic confusion – a founding misrecognition of Caribbean Natives as Indians – a confusion that Brown people live in the crosshairs of to this day. Produced in collaboration with Mike Forcia and an ensemble of Twin Cities-based musicians, dancers, media workers, and activists, Lucid Decapitation braids Indigenous prophecy, Black music, and mythological film to challenge the colonial monument’s claim on space and time. It is a call to loving destruction, to mourn, renew, and re-enchant the world; to turn away from the pedestal and towards one another.