Rathin Barman: Unsettled Structures

Lived spaces are not just pieces of architecture; they are anthropological tools to explore history, memory, and even human behavior. Over time, the relationship between homes and their occupants changes through structural additions or functional shifts. Rathin Barman: Unsettled Structures emerges from many such stories of the restructuring of domestic space. In particular, the artist considers the legacy of colonial mansions in the artist’s hometown of Kolkata, India. These grand, luxurious buildings have been repopulated over time by migrants who come to the urban center to escape conflict, climate change, famine, or political unrest. Barman’s sculptures begin with a sense of dwelling borne out of the isolation of the pandemic and in light of ongoing pressures to house the dispossessed across the globe.

Rathin Barman lives and works in Kolkata, India. Barman completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata; and has been exhibited in select solo exhibitions such as There is Now a Wall (2022), Dimensional Distortion (2020), Experimenter, Kolkata; and Home, and a Home, curated by Suman Gopinath, Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2016). Select group exhibitions include The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10); Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; and Deeper within its Silence, curated by Sumakshi Singh, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi.

Janine Mileaf is executive director and chief curator at The Arts Club of Chicago. She is the author of Please Touch: Dada and Surrealist Objects After the Readymade (University Press of New England, 2010), and coeditor of A Home for Surrealism (University of Chicago Press, 2018) and The Arts Club of Chicago at 100 (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

This exhibition is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.



Work Details:
Charcoal and pigment on brass inlaid concrete
240 x 128 x 1 inches, 120 cast concrete panels, each 16 x 16 x 1 inches
Image Courtesy:
Rathin Barman
Experimenter Contemporary Art
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art/10th Asia Pacific Triennial
Photo Credit:
Nepal Bhadra

Rathin Barmin in conversation with Prateek Raja

Event Date: September 19
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: The Arts Club of Chicago

Tuesday September 19

Exhibition Opening Gallery Talk

Rathin Barman: Unsettled Structures

6:00- 7:00 pm

Including concrete and brass wall reliefs and a newly commissioned room-scaled installation, Rathin Barman: Unsettled Structures considers the creative reuse by migrant populations of abandoned colonial mansions in the artist’s home city of Kolkata, India. Barman will be in conversation with Prateek Raja of Experimenter in Kolkata.

Artist talk and opening gallery reception are free and open to all.



Posted May 2, 2023
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Yasmin Spiro: Groundation

Groundation, an installation by Chicago based, Jamaican artist Yasmin Spiro, utilizes the fence at the Arts Club of Chicago as a structure to build a semi-transparent weaving that is an homage to Jamaican wicker weaver and Rastafarian, Sylvester (also known as Bongo Silly) who created an immersive woven wicker environment in his home in St. Ann, Jamaica (1970’s -80’s) that also functioned as an important part of the local community. Originally called Lions Den, it was a gathering place for both locals and visitors, and as a Rasta, Sylvester viewed weaving as mediation and practice of communing with other planes of existence. The word ‘groundation’ in Rastafarianism is a term for a ceremony or gathering that is meant to express the connection of a culture to its roots and the connection of an individual to its tribe.


This work is an extension of Spiro’s interest in the creation of sacred spaces, particularly ones that utilize vernacular architecture and craft, removed from traditional religious uses. It ties into her own cultural experiences and is a tribute to this early artistic influence that explores the act of making as a spiritual practice—not connected to art in the western or traditional sense—and community activity, as other weavers joined in the process of creating this environment.


Architecture is intertwined with the history of weaving, with the grid pattern and intersection of structures reflecting the skeletons of buildings and more directly in vernacular architecture, literally using weaving as its main form. Using the architecture of the fence and the environment of the garden for the creation of this weaving, the project will be both an installation and performance as other weavers will be invited to add to the work during the time it is exhibited.
Posted September 13, 2022
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