Sonia Khurana (b. 1968)
An artist known for working with various mediums, Sonia Khurana uses metaphors to highlight the conflict between an individual’s internal world and the external world. She predominantly uses video, performance, sound, found objects, installation, photography, drawing, text and architecture to explore the idea of self-definition and cultural identity, as well as its political and gendered aspects. Her work also centres around the body and its interaction with the material world.
Khurana was born in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and raised in New Delhi, where she received her BFA and MFA (1993) from the Delhi College of Art. She also did a short course from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (1996), furthering her interest in lens-based practices and performance art. The following year, she enrolled for a second Master’s at the Royal College of Art, London, aided by a grant from the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. Khurana also undertook a two-year residency and research programme at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, from 2002 onwards.
Notable works by Khurana include Breath 1 (1998), a colour video on the movement of the human body during respiration; Bird (2000), a monochrome video of a performance in which Khurana takes on the role of a bird unable to fly; Lying Down on the Ground (2006–12), a series of performance art pieces in which Khurana lay down in public spaces in various cities and documented the responses of the public; and her solo show Oneiric House/round about midnight (2014) organised by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, which brought together a variety of related works that reflected various states of sleep and wakefulness. The exhibition featured video installations that depicted fictional characters and the internal worlds created by their sleeping disorders and dreams.
She has exhibited at Goethe-Institut, New Delhi (2000); the Busan Biennale (2004); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2007); the Gwangju Biennale (2008); the KHOJ Live Performance Art Festival, New Delhi (2008); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009–11); and the Aichi Triennale (2010).
At the time of writing, Khurana lives and works out of New Delhi.
Antoinette, Michelle, and Caroline Turner. Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-Making. Canberra: ANU Press, 2014. https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p298341/pdf/book.pdf.
Daimler Art Collection. “Sonia Khurana, Bird, 2000,” July 13, 2020. https://art.daimler.com/en/artwork/sonia-khurana-bird-2000/.
Deccan Herald. “In the Realm of Sleep and Insomnia,” February 03, 2014. https://www.deccanherald.com/content/384359/in-realm-sleep-insomnia.html.
Google Arts & Culture. “Counterpoise: Nine Women Artists at KHOJ.” Khoj International Artists’ Association, November 16, 2016. https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/counterpoise-nine-women-artists-at-khoj-khoj-international-artists-association/pQISGkxOKsWqKQ?hl=en.
IndisKunst Contemporary Indian Art. “Sonia Khurana.” Accessed May 21, 2021. http://www.indiskkunst.dk/biografies/bio_Sonia%20Khurana.htm.
KHOJ International Artists’ Association. “Sonia Khurana.” Accessed May 21, 2021. https://khojworkshop.org/participant/sonia-khurana/.
Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. “Sonia Khurana.” Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.knma.in/artist/sonia-khurana.
Sharma, Sanjukta. “Sexual and Gender Politics at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.” The Voice Of Fashion, December 18, 2018. https://thevoiceoffashion.com/intersections/body-politic/sexual-and-gender-politics-at-the-kochi-muziris-biennale-1944/.
Wainwright, Leon. “Bodily Relations and Reciprocity in the Art of Sonia Khurana.” Cultural Dynamics 29, no. 4 (2017): 255–74.
Whitechapel Gallery. “In Conversation: Sonia Khurana and Griselda Pollock.” Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/conversation-sonia-khurana-griselda-pollock/.