Permindar Kaur is a sculpture/ installation artist, whose approach to art is playful, using childlike objects to explore the territory of cultural identity, home and belonging. She uses simple forms, for instance furniture (beds, cots and chairs) and toys (soft, brightly coloured figures, trucks and animal forms). These objects resemble displaced domestic belongings, which have been distorted and manipulated to invoke the uncanny. They are deceptively familiar in their appearance and initially might remind the viewer of innocence, childhood and play belying their sinister undertones.
Kaur has exhibited internationally; major solo exhibitions include Home, 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG (2020-21); Interlopers, University of Hertfordshire (2016); Hiding Out, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts (2014); Untitled, Berwick Gymnasium Art Gallery, Berwick (1999) and Cold Comfort, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Mead Gallery, Coventry (1996).
Major group exhibition include Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 (2021) YSP & UK tour; Ikon in the 90’s, Ikon Gallery (2021); Animals & Us, Turner Contemporary (2018); A Vision of Utopia, Spirella Building, Letchworth (2014); At Home with Art, Tate Britain, London and touring (2000); Hot Air, Granship, Shizouka Arts Centre, Japan (1999); Pictura Britannica, Art from Britain, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (1997); British Art Show, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff (1995). Permindar Kaur completed her MA at Glasgow School of Art, she lives and works in the UK.
Photo © Brian Benson
Breaking The Mould – Study Day – On Saturday 4 December 2021, in collaboration with Arts Council Collection, Lakeside Arts, Nottingham hosted an informal and engaging day of presentations and discussion to shed light on the important contribution made by women to the field of modern and contemporary British sculpture.
Watch here: Video: Breaking The Mould Study Day
Permindar Kaur -Bunker Talks, Fri 14th Jan 2022. The Performance Research Cluster at Manchester School of Art invite artists and researchers to talk about who they are and what they do. A space for critical encounters, presentations, provocation and dialogue, Bunker Talks are linked by a line of enquiry into geo-political, ecological or economic concerns. In the COVID-19 crisis, they have moved online to explore how artists, writers, curators and researchers continue to make and share their work.
Watch here: Bunker Talk #90 Manchester School of Art
Interview in Unravelling Women’s Art: Creators, Rebels & Innovators in Textile, pg 198 -200 by P.L. Henderson published by Aurora Metro in Dec 2021. The author unpicks the threads that link female textile artists and the arts they produce, revealing a global and historic patchwork of assorted roles, identities and representations. Entertaining as well as informative, this book offers a unique overview of female-centric textile art production including embroidery, weaving, soft sculpture and more. Includes over 20 interviews with contemporary textile artists, providing fascinating insights into their practices, themes and personal motivation. Permindar is featured in Chapter 7 Sculpture & Installation alongside Tracey Emin, Nancy Spero, Senga Nengudi, Carolee Schneemann, Ana Mendieta, Mona Hatoum, Sheila Hicks, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Dorothy Tanning, Kaarina Kaikkonen, Guerrilla Girls, Mary Sibande, Léa Donnan, Ghada Amer, Kimsooja, Chiharu Shiota, Jeongmoon Choi, Rivane Neuenschwander, Ana Teresa Barboza, Joana Vasconcelos, Roxanne Jackson.
More info here: Aurora Metro
Podcast – Sculpting Lives: Making Sculpture Public, Mon 6th Dec 2021. Sculpting Lives is a podcast presented by Jo Baring (Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art) and Sarah Victoria Turner (Deputy Director at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London).
Over the last year public sculpture has become a hugely controversial issue. No longer passive objects that we simply walk past on our streets, public sculptures are part of a vigorous debate about contemporary society – who is commemorated and represented, and why. In this episode we delve further into this subject, interviewing the people associated with our most recent sculpture commissions of and by women, speaking to critics and researchers who are reflecting on the historical dimensions of this contemporary moment, and the contemporary sculptors who are making objects that occupy our streets and squares.
Jo and Sarah also visit the Breaking the Mould Exhibition: Sculpture by Women Since 1945, organised by the Arts Council Collection, to talk to the curator and some of the artists involved in this landmark display. Together, they discuss the relevance of the public display and exhibition of the histories of women working with sculpture and broader questions about gender and representation in the art world and public sphere in 2021 .
Listen here: Sculpting Lives
Breaking The Mould: Sculpture by Women Since 1945, 18 Sept – 9 Jan 2022. Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, Nottingham. An Arts Council Touring exhibition. Breaking the Mould is the first extensive survey of post-war British sculpture by artists identifying as women in a public institution. Spanning more than seventy years and exploring the work of fifty sculptors, this exhibition provides a radical recalibration, addressing the many accounts of British sculpture that have marginalised women or airbrushed their work out of the art historical canon altogether and includes sculptors such as Phyllida Barlow, Rachel Whiteread, Holly Hendry, Sarah Lucas, Veronica Ryan, Anthea Hamilton, and Cornelia Parker to name just a few. Lakeside Arts
RA Summer Exhibition, 22nd Sept – 2 Jan 2022. Royal Academy of Arts, London. Invited by Bob & Roberta Smith, showing Growing A House, 2019 and Indian Teddies, 2021. Royal Academy
Permindar Kaur: Locating a ‘Black’ Artist in Narratives of British Art in the 1990s. Essay by Alice Correia for Art History, June 2021
This special issue of Art History looks closely at the multi-faceted genealogies of Black British modernism since the arrival of the ‘Windrush generation’. It brings together a range essays in different formats by artists and art historians to centralize the lack of attention paid to the material and conceptual nature of artworks made by Black British artists, and asks how a reappraisal of their work can contribute to an expanded understanding of modernism.
Read full essay here: Art History
Cold Comfort and Cultural Identity. The exhibition Cold Comfort, held in 1996, presented new work by Permindar Kaur and was the result of a commission from Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. The preface to the exhibition catalogue stated that ‘Kaur removes the domestic and the familiar from their everyday surroundings and transforms them to produce disquieting results’. This is evident across Kaur’s practice: she pushes the boundaries of materiality and scale to interrogate what it means to be truly comfortable. Roo Dhissou, an artist and research assistant for the exhibition A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s, reflects on how her research into Ikon Gallery’s displays of work by Global Majority artists in the 1990s has offered new perspectives on her own practice. Published in PMC Notes 19, Paul Mellon Centre.
Read full essay here: Paul Mellon Centre
Talk – Cold Comfort: 25th Anniversary, Friday 23 July 2021 / 1.00pm — 2.00pm
Artist Permindar Kaur discusses her 1996 exhibition, Cold Comfort, with Rupi Dhillon, Ikon Research Assistant. Having exhibited at the British Art Show in 1995, Kaur’s first solo show set up a tension between the routine and the unfamiliar, the comforting and the alienating. The artist considers changes in her practice between then and now, specifically her current exhibition, Home (until 2 July 2021) at 5 Howick Place, London for HS Projects. Watch here – Ikon Gallery on Youtube
Artists in Conversation: Permindar Kaur, Alia Syed & Jasleen Kaur, Thurs 15 July 2021 / 5.00 pm – 6.00 pm
Whilst there are overlaps amongst their interests, each artist takes their own unique stance on these subjects, with their respective use of material, imagery and artistic voice. This insightful talk will be chaired by Nadia Thondrayen, Exhibitions Curator at John Hansard Gallery.
Watch here – John Hansard Gallery/ Vimeo
Artist Permindar Kaur in conversation with Eddie Chambers, March 9th, 2021 for Djanogly Gallery. Available to watch for 12 months.
Watch here – Djanogly Gallery
A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 90’s – 18 June – 30 August 2021, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK.
The fourth in a series of surveys of Ikon’s artistic programme, this exhibition is a review of the 1990s. Comprising work by artists who featured in exhibitions and other projects at the gallery in John Bright Street during the period 1989-1997 and then at Ikon’s current premises in Brindleyplace until 1999.
More info here: Ikon Gallery
HOME – 12 December 2020 – 2 July 2021 Curated by HS Projects
5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WP.
Kaur presents a range of work from early in her career and a major new sculpture – Overgrown House made specifically for this exhibition. She makes viewers aware of the difference between the ‘private & public’ by abruptly converting this very public space into a bedroom in a private home. The central new work is a large steel bed which upon closer inspection reveals a world of colourful creatures ‘lurking’ beneath it. These creatures are a conception of private thoughts & dreams, giving viewers a sense of domestic insecurities & vulnerabilities.
More info here: HS Projects
The catalogue for HOME is now available with 21 colour images and critical texts by Dr Alice Correia and Dr Eddie Chambers. Copies are available for purchase at £10. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Artist Agency
Between Playful and Disturbing: A Conversation with Permindar Kaur – Approaching the familiar as though it were a fairy tale, Permindar Kaur uses the uncanny as camouflage in order to re-explain ordinary things. In “Home,” her current exhibition at Howick Place in central London, she continues her exploration of “private” and “public” by uprooting basic domestic objects and reintroducing them as freakishly distorted furnishings that enjoy the safety of the exhibition space while wanting to be free of it. In conversation with Rajesh Punj for Sculpture Magazine, June 4th 2021.
Read full essay here: Sculpture Magazine
HOME – Review by Piers Masterson for This Is Tomorrow, Feb 26th 2021
this is tomorrow
‘I am careful not to offer answers’. Interview with Michal Boncza, Morning Star, Feb 6-7, 2021
Morning Star interview
IKT 2021 Congress Artists in Conversation: Permindar Kaur & Alia Syed, Thurs 2 Sept 2021 / 6.00 -7.30 pm
Chaired by Nadia Thondrayen, curator at John Hansard Gallery, Permindar Kaur and Alia Syed discuss their respective artistic practices, exploring notions around new networks, connections, collaborations and wider impact on artists of the South Asian diaspora.
Talk available soon
Permindar Kaur | Now & Then, Here & There | BAM London Conference 6-8 October 2016 Chelsea College of Arts, Clore Auditorium, Tate Britain. Permindar Kaur presents a paper on Day 2 of the Black Artists and Modernism conference.
Watch here – BAM London Conference