What are you looking for?

Ciotti, Manuela

Ciotti, Manuela

NIAS Individual Fellowship

Unmooring the nation: An ethnography of the global spread of modern and contemporary art from India

Research Question

Why is art’s global circulation important? What happens when modern and contemporary art travels out of India? What kind of identities does such art engender? To answer these questions, this project draws upon a decade of research on exhibitions of art from India held at biennales, museums and galleries in Asia, Europe and the USA, and their digital presence.

Project Description

Since the 1990s, the symbolic and financial value of modern and contemporary art from India has increasingly rested on its circulation outside national boundaries. However, this circulation has taken place in a context where western art institutions still largely powers the processes of art’s recognition, canonization and legitimation. At the same time, ‘India’ and ‘South Asia’ have often been deployed as key cultural references in art-making and have informed exhibitions and markets. This project shows how, paradoxically, the geographical movements of art out of India have recast and re-activated ‘nation’ at a time when global art world dynamics would suggest the fluidification of national identities.

Selected Publications

2020. The artist Karl Marx and the auctioned god: ‘Post-practice’ ethnographies of the art world, impossible collaborations, and renewable anthropologies. Journal of Cultural Economy 13(6): 725-742

2020. Art and Global South: ‘Playing Venice’ at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB). New Global Studies 14 (3): 327–35

2017. Art world stops: Disjunctions of object, identity and place, Global-e, 10, 54 (http://www.21global.ucsb.edu/global-e/august-2017/art-world-stops-disjunctions-object-identity-and-place) (companion essays)

2014. ‘Art institutions as global forms in India and beyond: Cultural production, temporality and place’ In H. Kahn (ed.) Framing the global. Entry points for research. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 51-66


Personal page