Vijai Patchineelam recently edited the book Samba Shiva: The Photographs of Sambasiva Rao Patchineelam. It was published by Zum and Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo. In Samba Shiva, Vijai revisits the photographic archive of his father, a scientist who immigrated to Brazil at the end of the 1970s. The artist proposed to himself the role of the editor and organizer, while the authorship of the book is credited to the scientist Sambasiva.
This displacement of roles is part of a larger project that Vijai pursues in his doctoral research, The Artist Job Description: A Practice Led Artistic Research for the Employment of the Artist, as an Artist, Inside the Art Institution.
If an experienced artist were to replace one of the museum’s public relation employees, would the artist decisions be any different than of the former employee? And if not what does this say and mean to the assumed progressive and transcendent properties of art, if the knowledge gained through its practice cannot be transferred to other human activities?
This practice-based research project in the field of arts aims at questioning the configuration of the contemporary art field focusing in particular on the dialogue between the artist and the art institution, that is the different types of venues available for displaying and producing artworks. Conventionally the artist comes to an art institution in a temporary role, for an exhibition, a residency, a commission. At times she or he can also be employed as a technician, monitor or less frequently as a curator or a board member. Foregrounding the role of the artist as a laborer, Vijai Patchineelam intends with this project to develop a research driven artistic practice capable to experiment with, and advocate for, a more permanent role for an artist, an artist becoming a constitutive part of the inner workings of an art Institution.