Indian visual and performance artist Nikhil Chopra is the Artist in Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 2019-2020. As part of the MetLiveArts series that supports the world of the live arts, Chopra will be putting on a nine-day performance within the four walls of The Met.
Lands, Waters, and Skies, as Chopra has named his performance, is in line with his past work. The artist has been performing at various global venues for almost 15 years now, including Biennales in Venice, Kochi, Havana, Sharjah and Yinchuan, and for various exhibitions in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Athens, Kassel, Yokohama, Singapore, and Mumbai. His style involves live art, painting, sculptures, installations, theatre and photography; exploring themes of self-identity and transformation.
Chopra’s performances often include theatre depicting daily activities like dressing, eating, and resting, and usually the creation of a large-format piece of drawn or painted art. A lot of his artwork includes natural elements like trees, mountains, bodies of water and the sky. For him, the theatrical aspect is a method of drawing attention to the creation process of the art piece. With high spectacle-value, the performance involves Chopra taking on the role of various personae, down to the costumes, make-up, wigs and masks.
This particular performance, a journey through The Met’s hallowed halls, will see Chopra taking on characters of nomadic travellers moving from one personality to the next with dramatic transformations. The characters will interact with the pre-existing collection at The Met, giving the entire performance an added edge of profoundness. The artwork will be a landscape drawing that is to be of an enormous size, incorporating the elements that give the performance its name.
Commencing at The Met’s iconic steps, that annually see a host of fashion, film and music bigwigs at the Gala, Chopra will make his way into the Great Hall and then to the Ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur on the first floor, where he will also spend the second and third day. Days four to six will take place at the other end of the museum in the Modern and Contemporary Art section, while the last three days will conclude the performance on the ground floor of the Robert Lehman Wing.
While the artist will be performing in the various galleries alongside visitors during the day, he will reside within the building in a special dwelling for the nine-day period, which is a first for the museum, and for Chopra who has never undertaken a continuous physical residency for a duration this long.
Lands, Waters, and Skies will take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Ave, New York from September 12th to 20th from 10am to 5pm every day, except on the 13th, 14th and 20th on which days guests can view the performance until 9pm. The performance is free for The Met’s admitted visitors.