Coronet Inside Out: Jitish Kallat
Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight)
Indian artist Jitish Kallat has shared a short film about his 2018 sculptural installation Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight).
Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight) 2018 dental plaster, mild steel supports sculptural installation (plinth dimensions 328.8 x 138 x 21.6 in. / 835 x 350.5 x 55 cm)
Jitish Kallat’s sculptural installation Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight) draws together two carefully chosen pointers, one from our prehistoric past and the other pointing to a prophesied future. The suite of sculptures derive their form from paleolithic hand axes and stone tools that were the first human effort to alter the planet.
The first stone tools mark the dawn of human ingenuity, augmenting physical capacities before exponential future innovations lead to uninhibited human supremacy and indiscriminate manipulation of the planet. Numerous clusters of reptilian and mammalian, fish and bird eyes imbue the oversized tools with an uncanny sentience. Kallat places these enigmatic sculptures on a plinth that derives its form from the hands of the iconic ‘Doomsday Clock’.
The ‘Doomsday Clock’, has been maintained since 1947 by members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, a congregation that includes several Nobel laureates. The symbolic clock represents a hypothetical human—made global catastrophe as “midnight”, and the Bulletin’s opinion on how close the world is to a global calamity as a number of “minutes” to midnight. Its original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. Since then it has annually been set backward and forward 23 times. As of January 2018, the clock is set at “two minutes to midnight”, due to nuclear threats, climate change, bioterrorism, and artificial intelligence.
Kallat’s sculptural installation draws together ciphers that link past and future, dawn and midnight to induce a contemplation on the many urgencies of our present—day existence.
Jitish Kallat was born in Mumbai in 1974, the city where he continues to live and work.
He has exhibited widely at leading museums and institutions across the world, as well as major international biennales including the recent Venice Biennale 2019.
His solo exhibitions at museums the Art Institute of Chicago, Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Mumbai), the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne), CSMVS Museum (Mumbai), the San Jose Museum of Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Frist Art Museum (Nashville) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 2017 the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi) presented a mid-career survey of his work titled Here After Here 1992-2017 curated by Catherine David.
In the late nineties and early 2000s Jitish Kallat used to write frequently on the subject of contemporary art. He was the curator and artistic director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014.