Procheta Mukherjee Olson: Palimpsest
Opening Reception for the Artist: Thursday, February 6, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
This exhibition is something of a departure from UMCA’s series “Dialogue with a Collection”. Over the
years, artists have been invited to integrate their own works with pieces they select from the museum's
works-on-paper collection, which includes over 3000 contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs.
This year Procheta Mukherjee Olson has opted to select one single artwork from UMCA’s collection by
Yun-fei Ji, which she finds pivotal and meaningful to her own art practice.
In this Dialogue with a Collection, Procheta Mukherjee Olson explores the multiple ways in which her
work parallels the formal and conceptual concerns of Yun Fei Ji’s “Three Gorges Dam Migration” (2002).
A magnificent 32-feet-long hand scroll made with over 500-hand-carved woodblocks, this print from the
University Museum’s permanent collection maps the massive social and psychological disruptions
caused by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtse River in China. Like Yun Fei Ji, Olson
works in a classical eastern painting tradition (specifically one that also renders space in flattened
perspective), and often against its grain to draw attention to the intersection of the personal and the
political. Drawing from her own experiences and the inherited collective memory from her country of
origin, she uses the vernacular of Mughal and Persian miniature painting traditions to map the culturally
hybrid landscape of India as it exists between Colonialism and Globalization. Anachronisms appear as
historical figures and pop-cultural icons appear beside each other, and like in Ji’s scroll, depictions of
major social events are interspersed with the quotidian and the fantastical. Together, their narratives
flow like rivers in flux, palimpsests in which the individual collides with the social, the historic with the
modern, and the dramatic with the pedestrian.