biography

biography

Amar Kanwar has distinguished himself through films and multi-media works, which explore the politics of power, violence and justice. His multi-layered installations originate in narratives often drawn from zones of conflict and are characterized by a unique poetic approach to the personal, social and political.

Recent solo exhibitions of Kanwar’s work have been held at the Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai, UAE (2020), New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, UAE (2020), Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21, Madrid, Spain (2019), Tate Modern, London (2018), Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA (2018), Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden (2017), Marian Goodman Gallery, London, England (2017), Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai (2016) and at the Assam State Museum in collaboration with Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and North East Network, India (2015). In 2013 and 2014 at the Art Institute of Chicago, USA; the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, U.K.; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA 21), Vienna, Austria and at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2012).

Recent group exhibitions have been presented at the Documenta 14, Athens & Kassel (2017),  The Garden Sees, Megaron, Athens (2017), #Resist, Goethe-Gallery & Black Box Studio, Hong Kong (2017), Devi Art Foundation with Salima Hashmi (2016), Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (2014); Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India (2014); 56th Carnegie International, USA (2013); Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2013 and 2012); 13th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2013); 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia (2013); 11th Sharjah Biennale, UAE (2013); 1st Kochi Biennale, India (2013); Tarra Warra Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia (2013) and the Bristol Museum, U.K. (2013).

Kanwar has also participated in Documenta 11, 12, 13 and 14 in Kassel, Germany (2002, 2007, 2012, 2017). Other solo exhibitions have been at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2008); the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, U.K. (2007); the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway (2006) and the Renaissance Society, Chicago, USA (2004).

Amar Kanwar has been the recipient of awards such as the Prince Claus Award (2017); Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change (2014); an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, USA (2006); the Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art, Norway (2005); the MacArthur Fellowship in India (2000); the Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, USA (1999), as well as the Golden Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival, India (1998).

Retrospectives of his films have been held at film festivals including the 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, Kerala State (2012), the 13th Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival (2011), the Documentary Dream Show, Tokyo (2010), the Parallel Perspectives Film Festival, Hyderabad (2008), and the 9th International Short Film Festival, Bangladesh (2005).

solo exhibitions
2020
Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai, UAE
New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, UAE
2019
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21, Madrid, Spain
2018
Tate Modern, London, England
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
2017
Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden
Marian Goodman Gallery, London, England
2016
Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, India
Nanyang Technological University, Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore
2015
The Assam State Museum in collaboration with Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and North East Network, India
2013
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, England, U.K.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary-Augarten, Vienna, Austria
2012
Evidence, Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland
2011
Babel Art Space; Trondheim, Norway
2010
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
2009
Film Huis Den Haag in collaboration with “Movies that Matter”, Amnesty International Film Festival, The Hague, Netherlands
2008
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Marian Goodman, Paris, France
2007
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England, U.K.
Selected Work 1991-2006, Apeejay Media Gallery, New Delhi, India
2006
Trilogy, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway
2005
Nye filmer, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway
2004
A Season Outside, Peter Blum Gallery, New York, USA
A Trilogy of Films, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois, USA
2003
(Trilogy), Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
selected group shows
2017
#Resist, Goethe-Gallery & Black Box Studio, Hong Kong, China
The Garden Sees, Megaron, Athens, Greece
Documenta 14, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany
2016
This Night Bitten Dawn. Salima Hashmi with Gujral Foundation and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India
Third Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2015
Local Stories/Global Practices. MDE’15, Medellin, Colombia
Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
2014
Word. Sound. Power. Khoj Studios, International Artists’ Association, New Delhi, India
In the Aftermath of Trauma. Kemper Art Museum. St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Is it What You Think? Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, India
Where do I end and you begin, Edinburg Arts Festival, Scotland
2013
56th Carnegie International, Pennsylvania, USA
5th Moscow Biennale, Russia
13th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey
Sharjah Biennale 11, United Arab Emirates
Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala, India
Being Singular Plural, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Newtopia, The State of Human Rights, Mechelen and Brussels, Belgium
Indian Highway, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space, Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina, USA
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
No Borders, Arnolfini, Bristol, England, U.K.
Word. Sound. Power, Tate Modern Project Space, London, England, U.K.
Animate/Inanimate, Tarra Warra Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia
Connecting-Unfolding, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
2012
Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany
Indian Highway, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
Being Singular Plural, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Lines of control, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
2011
Paris, Delhi, Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
You have been there, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France
Artist Films: Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Sharjah Biennale, United Arab Emirates
Indian Highways, MAC-Musée d’Art contemporain, Lyon, France
Indian Highways, Fondazione MAXXI, Rome, Italy
29th Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Biennale Jogja, Indonesia
2010
Aichi Triennial, Aichi, Japan
Snapshots of Tourism, Helsinki International Artists Centre, Helsinki, Finland
Being Singular Plural, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany
October Salon, Belgrade, Serbia
Indian Highways, HEART Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark
Signs of Life, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland
The View from Elsewhere, Gallery of Modern Art and the Australian Cinematheque, South Brisbane, Australia
2009
“What a Wonderful world” Göteborg Internatinella Konstbiennal, Sweden
The symbolic efficiency of the frame, Tirana Biennale, Tirana, Albania
“Significant and Insignificant Events”, Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey
Indian Highway, Astrup Fernley Museum, Oslo, Norway
Trouble at the Front/ Troubles aux Frontières, with Yael Bartana and William Pope. L, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France
Expended Box, Arco Art Fair, Madrid, Spain
“Lines of control”, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, UAE / VM Gallery Karachi, Pakistan
"The World in 1989", Haus der Kultur der Weldt, Berlin, Germany
2008
Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London, England, U.K.
“48°, Public, Art, Ecology”, New Delhi, India
A Question of Evidence, TBA 21 Vienna, Austria
Reflexions on Contemporary India, Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain Terror – your fear is an external object, Muscarnok / Kunsthalle, Nudapest, Hungary
The Greenroom: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art (Part I), The Hessel
Museum and The Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College, New York, USA
Can Art do more? Art Focus Biennial, Jerusalem, Israel
Everywhere is War (and rumours of war), The Bodhi Art Gallery, Mumbai, India
Other than Yourself – An Investigation between Inner and Outer Space, TBA 21, Vienna, Austria
2007
Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany
Thermocline of Art-New Asian Waves, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany
Stop & Go, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
There is no border…, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Germany
GeoPoetics, Centro Guerrero, Granada, SpainAfter Shock, Contemporary Art Norwich, U.K.
Shooting back, TBA 21, - Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Australia
Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ireland
2006
Every Day… another artist/ work/ show, Salzburger Kunstverein, Austria
Subcontingente, Fondazione Sandretty Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
Zones Lofoten International Art Festival, Svolvær, Norway
Zones of contact, Museum for contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydeney 2006, Australia
Image War: Contesting Images Of Political Conflict. Whitney Museum, New York, USA
The Artists Cinema, Frieze Art Fair, London, England, U.K.
2005
Populism, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway; SMC, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Experiments with Truth, Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Patriot, Contemporary Museum, Maryland, USA
2004
LIAF 04, Lofoten International Art Festival, Svolvær, Norway
Historical Retrospective - 50 years of Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany
Art Basel, Switzerland
In Progress - Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland
‘Diverge – Crossing Generations’, Mumbai, India
Doc Fortnight, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
2003
A Territories, Kunst – Werke Berlin, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
Art Basel Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Selves Made Strange:¬ New perspectives from India at the House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany
Amar Kanwar, 10th Biennial of Moving Images, Museum of Modern Art, Geneva, Switzerland
Extra Muros, FRI-ART Centre Art Centre d'art Contemporain Kunsthalle, Fribourg, Switzerland
2002
Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany
Werkleitz Biennale, Germany
Other India's - Breaking the Code, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England, U.K.
KalaGhoda Art Festival, Mumbai, India
awards
Prince Claus Award, 2017
Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, 2014
Best Public Service Short Film, Vatavaran International Environment Film Festival, New Delhi, India, 2012
Best Film Award, One Billion Eyes Film Festival, Chennai, India, 2011
Jury Special Mention, One Billion Eyes Film Festival, Chennai, India, 2009
Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, USA, 2006
Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art, Norway, 2005
Certificate of Merit, San Francisco International Film Festival, California, USA, 2002
Golden Tree Award, Vatavaran, National Environment & Wildlife Film Festival, New Delhi, India, 2002
The Grand Prix, EnviroFilm, Slovak Republic, 2002
National Jury Award, Mumbai International Film Festival, India, 2002
The First Prize, Torino International Environment Film Festival, Italy, 2002
Jury’s Award at Film South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2001
2nd Prize at the Niscort All India Video Festival, India, 2001
MacArthur Fellowship, India, 2000
Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, California, USA, 1999
Golden Orange Award, 36th Antalya International Film Festival, Turkey, 1999
Golden Conch Award, Mumbai International Film Festival, India, 1998
focus/retrospective
Amar Kanwar In Focus: 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, India 2012
Amar Kanwar Retrospective: 13th Madurai International Documentary & Short Film Festival India 2011
Guest Filmmaker 2009, Flaherty Film Seminar, New York, USA
Amar Kanwar Mini Retrospective, titled Continent India: King of Dreams at the Documentary Dream Show / Yamagata In Tokyo 2010, Japan
International Artist-in-focus: Open Lab, Goteborg Dance and Theater Festival 2008
Amar Kanwar Retrospective 2008, Parallel Perspectives Film Festival, Hyderabad, India
Amar Kanwar Retrospective 2006, Vibgyor Short Film Festival, Kerala, India
Amar Kanwar Retrospective 2005, 9th International Short Film Festival, Bangladesh
filmography
Such A Morning, 2017
The Scene of Crime, 2011
A Love Story, 2010
The Torn First Pages (Part 1, 2, 3), 2004-2008
The Lightning Testimonies, 2007
Henningsvaer, 15 mins, 2006
Somewhere in May, 37 mins, 2005
The Face, 4 mins, 2005
Ma Win Maw Oo, 4 mins, 2005
Thet Win Aung, 3 mins, 2005
The Bodhi Tree, 8 mins, 2005
To Remember, 8 mins, 2003
A Night of Prophecy, 77 mins, 2002
Freedom, 58 mins, 2001
King of Dreams, 30 mins, 2001
Baphlimali 173, 28 mins, 2001
The Many Faces of Madness, 19 mins, 2000
A Season Outside, 30 minutes, 1997
Marubhumi, 52 mins, 1996
Earth as Witness, 40 mins, 1994
Talash, 60 mins, 1993
The Leather Trilogy, 90 mins, 1992
Lal Hara Lehrake, 40 mins, 1992