Biography

ALI AKBAR MEHTA (b. 1983, Mumbai, India)

MA (Visual Culture, Curating and Contemporary Art), Aalto University, Helsinki, 2018

BFA (Painting), Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, 2005

Ali Akbar Mehta is a founder and current Artistic Director of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki. Through his research-based transmedia practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that explore collective memetic history, narratives of memory, identity, violence, and conflict. He has exhibited his projects in galleries and alternate spaces in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Helsinki, and Tampere. He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, and an MA in Visual Culture, Curating, and Contemporary Art from Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, where he completed a thesis text titled ‘Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge’. Some of his ongoing projects are ‘256 Million Colours of Violence’, ‘Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori’, ‘War Room Echo – Regarding the pain of Other Cyborgs’, ‘New Frontiers: Critical enquiries for archives as Artistic Praxis’, and ‘Non-Alignment as Resistance: Towards Cyber Archives as counter-hegemonic practice’. He lives and works in Helsinki and Mumbai.

 

Current Projects

256 Million Colours of Violence

WAR • ROOM • ECHO – Regarding the Pain of Other Cyborgs

Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori – The Perfect Ghosts of Helsinki

Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge

New Frontiers: Critical enquiries for archives as Artistic Praxis

Archives as Witness: (Re)Sourcing Knowledge Systems for Ethical and Political Action

 

Performance:

Narrating War, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, 2018

Cyborg Archives: Can Archives Speak?, TIFA Working Studios, 2018

Narrating War, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

Narrating War, Memory of War, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, 2017

Narrating War, Clark House, Mumbai, 2017

Where does poetry nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Pispala Memorial, Tampere, 2016

null.void, Chimurenga Collective – Pan-African Space Station, Kallio Public Library, Helsinki, 2016

 

Artist Talks:

Congratulations, the space has been invaded: WHAT NOW?, Space Invaders VI, Helsinki, 2018

A Common Sense Manifesto of Cooking Practices for Artists, Aalto University, Espoo, 2018

Decolonial Dreaming, Atenuim Museum, Helsinki, 2017

The Urgency of Asking Questions, with Kevin Lobo, Piramal Museum, Mumbai, 2017

Memory and the Maximum City, Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai, 2015

FOLKARCHIVE: Ali Akbar Mehta, with Sumesh Sharma; moderated by Latika Gupta, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad City Museum, Mumbai, 2014

 

 Solo Exhibitions

Limitations of Liability, Mumbai Assembly and Harkat Studios, Mumbai, 2017

256 Million Colours of Violence, Third Space, Helsinki, 2016

SITE: STAGE: STRUCTURE, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, 2014

Of Men and Supermen, India Art Festival, presented by TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

The Ballad of The War that Never Was, and other Bastardized Myths, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2011

 

Select Group Exhibitions

Assembly of Access, TIFA, Pune, 2018

OUT 2, Research Pavilion: The Utopia of Access, Venice Biennale, Venice, 2017

Ateria/The Meal, URB 2017 + Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki, 2017

Immersion 2016, Espoo, 2016

Where Does Poetry Nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Galleria Emil, Tampere, 2016

Space Invaders IV: Heterotopia, Espoo, 2016

SOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, 2016

Cisspace: Construct(ed.), Otaniemi Recycling Center, Espoo, 2015

Infinite, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2014

Small is Beautiful – II, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Beyond the Canvas ­– Curated by Kalpana Shah and Sapna Kar, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Tagore Lost and Found ­– Curated by Bina Sarkar Ellias, India Bulls Art Gallery and Auction House, New Delhi, 2013

Equilibrium, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Synergy, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

Small is Beautiful, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

Three New Voices: Dimensions in Time & Space, Art Heritage, New Delhi, 2010

April Salon, Galerie Mirchandani + Stienruecke, Mumbai, 2010

Evolve, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2010

Gems of India, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, 2009

India on Canvas, charity auction, New Delhi, 2009

The Kohinoor Selection, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, 2008

Art for Justice and Peace, Sabrang, Mumbai, 2008

Art Smart, Mumbai, and Delhi, 2008

India on Canvas, charity auction, Mumbai, 2007

Celebrating India, Treo Foundation, Delhi-Calcutta-Bangalore-Mumbai-New York, 2007

 

Public projects:

TRINITY: Godrej Legacy Park Silos, Mumbai, India, 2015

 

Curatorial Projects:

MATERIAL///IMMATERIAL, A: SPACE, Espoo, Finland, 2016

SOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, Finland, 2016

 

Texts:

256 Million Colours of Violence, AROOP Journal vol.3, 2018

To Not wait for the Archive, ViCCA Journal, 2018

Cyber Archive: Archives as sustainable counter-hegemonic practice, Hākārā Journal, 2018

Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge, Aalto University, 2018

Border Crossing: Reshaping the Agency of Struggle, interview with Ranjit Hoskote, CuMMA Papers publication series, 2017

The Photons of Politics: Footnotes for a New History, RAB-RAB Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, 2017

 

Residencies:

SPACE 118, Mumbai, 2012

ARTEL 2018, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

 

Artist Publications:

Site: Stage: Structure, suite of 17 Accordion-fold and 3 Artist Photo Books, 2014

The Ballad of The War that Never Was, and other Bastardized Myths, 2011

 

Residencies:

ARTEL 2018, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

SPACE 118, Mumbai, 2012

 

Work Experience

2018

Guest lecturer, ‘Histories of the Present’ at Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki

2018 – present

Artistic co-Director, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki

2018

Artist-in-Residence, To Participate in the Archive, ARTEL2018, Pune

2016 – present

Founder Member of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki

2016 – present

Communication Assistant for Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki

2016

Post Production and animation for Arab Strings, a performance video by artist Jowan Safadi (Palestine)

2016 ­– 2017

Member of Third Space Collective, Helsinki

2016 ­– present

Founder Member of D/func.t Collective, Helsinki

2015

Post Production for ‘#7: Greed’ short film

2014 – 2015

Guest Lecturer at Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, communication and Media Arts

2014 ­– present

Co-conceived and Head of Post Production with COMPOSITE Films for Relics of Eden, a short fictional film

2014

Head of Post Production for What a Wonderful World, an independently produced post-apocalyptic themed experimental video

2013 ­– 2014

Freelance Artist and Character Designer working with Recyclewala Films for TUMBAD, feature-length live-action film

2012 – present

Consulting head of Post Production and freelance Artist for COMPOSITE Films, working on various Digital content projects (QuickHeal Antivirus, La15 Patisserie, Fizzy foods, and KNM Airlines)

2011 ­– 2013

Regularly conducting drawing and painting workshops as part of various NGO activities and schools (for children of 10 to 15 years) Teach India, Dear Imagination, The Oberoi International IB School.

2011 – 2013

Creative Director and Head of Post Production with COMPOSITE Films for Luminous Matter, a stop-motion animated short film.

Screened at Austria Film Festival 2013, Jaipur Film Festival, 2013, Leeds Film Festival, 2012, DIGICON Tokyo, 2012, FICCI Frames, Mumbai 2012

2002 – 2007

Co ­­­­­– ­founder, Lead Animator and artist at Mareech Animated Design, an animation studio specializing in 3D animation and Visual Effects for Film and Television.

2006

Co-written and performed, Aham: What’s going on?, a full-length play performed at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai

2005

Graduated from Sir J.J. School of (Fine) Art

2004

Directed and edited, Untitled, documentary short film on Sir J.J. School of Art

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