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Shubigi Rao

An Expanded Vocabulary of Filmic Drawing
14–26 August 2023

Shubigi Rao, page from River of Ink, mixed media in a hundred books, 2008.

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Mixed media drawing, film imagery, text and mytho-poetics

Festung Hohensalzburg

Teaching language

What to bring
Any drawing materials and surfaces you prefer – physical or digital. Any textual or other material that relates to words and semiotics, still or moving image, from the students’ personal archives. It is helpful to bring examples of your work that you either wish to resolve, improve, or are central to your ongoing thinking and practice

Fluency in English. All practices are welcome, at any level, though an interest in drawing (any media), text, print, publishing, and language is preferred

Maximum number of participants
15 (ideal is 12)

Teaching Assistant
Johanna Binder

Participation fee
€ 640,– (reduced € 480,–)

The course will address the multiple relationships of drawing and image-making with words, fiction-building, myth-making, non-linear narrative, as well as drawing as a radical form of transformation. The primacy of drawing, especially with text, is evident in its constancy and endurance in multiple forms and media, as well as in the power of drawing and text to dismantle (through feminist and eco-critical thought) stifling monolithic structures.

This course welcomes artists, writers, film-makers, and those interested in interdisciplinary art‑making, writing, research and thinking. It will include lectures on methods, diverse practices, narrative building and practical information. There will also be group discussions, presentations and critical workshopping one-on-one sessions. These individual sessions are meant to actively parse the student’s practice and processes, with necessary problem-solving and exploration of possibilities towards expanding, enhancing and advancing their work. Through the course, participants will improve their research methods, enhance their understanding of their own thinking and practice, and explore text and drawing as collaborative tools through peer and one-on-one engagement. They will gain a deeper appreciation of the interplay of drawing and text in multiple media, its enduring power, and its relevance in contemporary art practice and discourse.

Shubigi Rao’s interests include libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, ecologies and natural history. Her complex layered installations comprise books, drawings and etchings, video and pseudo-science machinery, metaphysical puzzles, ideological board games and archives, examining current and historical flashpoints as perspectival shifts, as well as examining contemporary crises of displacement, whether of people, languages, cultures or knowledge bodies. These forms address a key argument in her current research – that current geo-politics is invariably influenced by language, cultural shifts and destruction in a proportion often underplayed in history.

As part of Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, a 10-year project about the history of book destruction, she visits public and private collections, libraries and archives that have served as flashpoints in history, collecting fragments, ephemera, anecdotes and buried secrets, and piecing together (through film, books, drawings and art-works) a composite chronology of the literary and violent trajectories of our species. While researching the global approach to knowledge archiving, access, retrieval and disposal, the project generates a semi-mythologised biography of the book, while referencing the wealth of information that is never accessed, or is marginalised, disregarded or forgotten.

In 2020, the second volume of Pulp won the Singapore Literature Prize (creative non-fiction). The first volume had been shortlisted in 2018. The first exhibition of the project Written in the Margins won the 2018 APB Signature Prize Juror's Choice Award. She represented Singapore at the National Pavilion in the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, and was Curator for the 2022 Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Solo exhibitions
2022 Pulp III, Singapore National Pavilion, 59th Venice Biennale, Venice (IT). 2021 A Small Study of Silence, 10th Asia-Pacific Triennial, Australia. 2018 The Pelagic Tracts, 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India. The Wood for the Trees, Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, Singapore. 2017 Written in the Margins, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. 2013 Useful Fictions, Grey Projects, Singapore. The Retrospectacle of S. Raoul, Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. 2008 The Tuning Fork of the Mind, 2nd Singapore Biennale 2008, Singapore

Group exhibitions (recent)
2021 Plants in Print, Botanic Gardens, Singapore.2019 Arus Balik – From below the wind to above the wind and back again, NTU-CCA, Singapore. State of Motion: A Fear of Monsters, by Asian Film Archive, Singapore. 2018 Winners exhibition of the APB Signature Art Prize, 2018, National Museum Singapore. About Books, AlbumArte, Rome. Draw-in Drawing, Boan artspace, Seoul. 2017 Historical Fictions: a manual for the aspiring tyrant. Spoken word artwork for AFF and Sanja Ivekovic’s Monument to Revolution, Documenta 14, Athens. 2016 10th Taipei Biennial 2016, Taipei, Taiwan. Demain est une île (Tomorrow is an island), Villa Vassilieff, Paris. Ghost on the Wire 2, Objectifs Gallery, Singapore. 2015 Urban:ness, DUCTAC,  Dubai, UAE. Dear Painter, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Singapore. Shubigi Rao: Exquisite Corpse, showcase under Curating Lab, NUS Museum Singapore. Mysterious Objects at Noon, Objectifs Gallery, Singapore, and Bermondsey Gallery, London (UK). Singapore mon Amour (literary section), part of Singapour en France – le Festival

Recent publications/reviews
Pulp III: An Intimate Inventory of the Banished Book, Rock Paper Fire Singapore, 2022
Pulp II: A Visual Bibliography of the Banished Book, Rock Paper Fire Singapore, 2018
Written in the Margins, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2017
Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, Rock Paper Fire Singapore, 2016
History’s Malcontents: The Life and Times of S. Raoul, Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore, 2013
Useful Fictions, Grey Projects, Singapore, 2013

Education including teaching experience 
2008 Masters in Fine Arts, First Class Honours, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2006 BA Fine Arts (Painting), First Class Honours, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2005 Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting) with Distinction, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
1996 BA (Hons) in English, Second Class First Division, Delhi University, New Delhi

Teaching (selected)
July 2021 Summer Academy Salzburg (AT)
June 2020 Visiting curator, HISK, Ghent (BE)
Feb-May 2018 Dissertation supervisor for Master of Arts Fine Arts candidates, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
September 2017  Visiting studio supervisor at SOTA, Singapore
2011 - May 2016 Dissertation supervisor for Master of Arts Fine Arts candidates, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Aug 2014-May 2016 Studio tutor and theory lecturer for BFA and Diploma Fine Arts LASALLE College of the Arts
2013-2015 Dissertation supervisor and lecturer in dissertation research and writing for BA Fine Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2011-2015 Studio supervisor and final exhibition curator for Masters in Art Therapy, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2006-2014 Lecturer in Critical Studies/Theory for BFA, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2014 Lecturer in Methods and Materials of Asian Art Histories, Masters of Asian Art Histories, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.
2012, 2011 Dissertation supervisor, Masters of Asian Art Histories, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
2010-2012 Lecturer in Art History at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore (Oct 2010 – Feb 2011 and Apr 2011 – Dec 2012). Lecturer in International Visual Arts, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore (Apr–Dec 2011)
2010 Dissertation supervisor for Master of Arts in Asian Art Histories candidates at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (Jan – May)
2009, 2007 Lecturer in Printmaking (Studio and Workshop), LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore and
Shubigi Rao. Portrait by Kathrin Leisch.