In October 2022, TBA21 presents The Third Pole, a major exhibition of the New Delhi-born artist Himali Singh Soin, in collaboration with musician David Soin Tappeser: their first institutional exhibition in Spain. Staged in Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and sustainably produced, the exhibition encompasses two bodies of work: we are opposite like that (2017 – ongoing), set in the North and South Poles, and As Grand As What (2021), set in the Indian Himalayas and the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Together, they conjure fictional mythologies for these fragile places. The Third Pole is rooted in the space between art and science, manifesting a cosmology in which everything is sentient: traversing a colonial, prejudiced past while dreaming up heterotopic futures in which love attunes us to the catastrophe of the present moment.
Himali Singh Soin works across text, performance and moving image. Her work is inspired by the natural environment to explore the nature of identity, and the entanglements between human and non-human life. David Soin Tappeser’s rhythmic sensibilities inform his compositions for analogue instruments, sounding the landscape. The resulting geological-human scales of temporality are layered with cultural references and protest movements, bringing to the fore questions of environmental justice and the transcendental power of listening as an act of togetherness.
The Third Pole is the breakdown of the binary, pitting ideas of the North and South not against each other, but with another, a marker of confluences that extend laterally, and diverge elsewhere. The third pole–love, distance, infinity, intuition–is evident in both geological and cultural history, as well as the artistic process. We invite you into a choose-your-own-adventure so that you are not simply witness to the art, but the art begins to look back at you. We work towards helping the communities from where these pieces arose. The exhibition is made up of a togetherness of voices, human and nonhuman alike. We offer you a sacred history of mountains and volcanoes, and hope that what you carry back is that etheric cord that holds you in this intricate network of places and ideas, even while the many slippery plates move below us.Himali Singh Soin
Curated by TBA21’s Soledad Gutiérrez Rodríguez, the exhibition promises to demonstrate the breadth of the artist’s collaborative practice. This exhibition follows previous collaborations between Himali, David and TBA21, which saw them produce new works for st_age, TBA21’s online platform.
we are opposite like that (2017 -) is an ongoing series of interdisciplinary works – comprising video, performance, textile, poetry and music – from material gathered during Himali’s fieldwork in parts of the Arctic and Antarctic circles uninhabited by indigenous human life. It comprises mythologies for the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep history: the ice. Ice, a melting fossil, is running out of time. The series fuses a variety of concerns: the ways in which we know the world, the slippery spaces between solidity and spirit, the potential of error, postcolonial preconceptions, a looming climate crisis and the interdependence of the natural and the magical.
Drawing on those entanglements, the quest continues from the farthest reaches of the earth to
Himali’s namesake and the third pole of the world, the Himalayas. There, she encounters an
emergent place where the voices of feminine deities and the physical and symbolic qualities of
the natural elements echo each other, calling for a transnational spirituality.
In As Grand as What (2021), a three-channel film by Hylozoic/Desires, a planetary catastrophe has occurred. Inspired by the Kalachakra mandala, a cosmic diagram in which the body is a microcosm of the planet, the artists, disguised as spirits of the earth, conduct a series of five rituals to reactivate the energy centers of the world. They go in search of a lost bla, a term in Tibetan medicine for the subtle life force that runs through the world-body. The mountains of India and the volcanoes of Italy begin to teach us how to be, how to be young and ancient at the same time, how to absorb what makes us fertile and release what depletes us. With the help of the resonance of sound and the force of love poetry, they seek to reinvigorate the collective self and learn from the tremulous temporality of the catastrophic.
This exhibition works, for me, as a proposition to change the way we inhabit the world, a radical transformation guided by the potential of love as a tool to sense the universe. And the beauty of it is a theoretical statement as well as a physical one: the exhibition is produced with natural and recycled materials that absorb toxins and clean the atmosphere. This creates a unique cosmos: the marble dust and the clay of the paint invoke different layers of time and knowledge, infusing the very structure of the exhibition with its philosophy.Exhibition curator, Soledad Gutiérrez Rodríguez
The Third Pole: Himali Singh Soin with music by David Soin Tappeser at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid 25th October 2022 –29th January 2023 Curated by Soledad Gutiérrez Rodríguez
The exhibition will be accompanied by two sets of performances by Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser coinciding with the opening of the show on 24th October 2022 and its finissage on 29th January 2023.
we are opposite like that, Monday, 24th October 2022 19.00 pm at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid A score for string quartet and percussion eulogising the lost language of ice.
Ancestors of the Blue Moon.
Wednesday, 25th –Sunday, 29th January 2023 at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. A healing ritual to bring us back from our crisis of lost presence, comprising a sound bath, a tea ceremony and a ritualistic film viewing.
About the artist
Writer and artist based between London and Delhi, Himali Singh Soin uses metaphors from
outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences,
entanglements, deep voids, debris, delays, alienation, distance, and intimacy. Himali Singh
Soin’s practice unravels speculations performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. In
doing this, she thinks through ecological loss and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere
in the radicality of love.