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Dr Devika Singh


Devika Singh is an affiliated scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies of the University of Cambridge and a member of the Global Art Prospective at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) in Paris. She was previously the Smuts research fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies. She completed an hypo-khâgne and a khâgne at Lycée Condorcet in Paris and holds a BA in the history of art from the University of Cambridge (King’s College) and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB). Her PhD (Cambridge, 2013) was supported by the AHRC and a Knox studentship from Trinity College. She was a fellow at the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art (Max Weber Foundation) and has held an AHRC fellowship at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC, a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) fellowship at the Freie Universität, Berlin, and an André Chastel fellowship of the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art at the French Academy at Rome (Villa Medici). She also received a research grant from the British Academy for her current book project.

Research Interests

Devika specialises in Indian modern and contemporary art and architecture and is currently writing a book on artistic practices in post-independence India for Reaktion Books. Her research interests include the writing of Indian art and architectural history, the history of exhibitions, the history of photography in South Asia, and more broadly, the global reconfiguration of modernism. The conferences she co-organized on these topics are ‘Reimagining Modernism, Mapping the Contemporary: Critical Perspectives on Transnationality in Art’: and ‘Showing, Telling, Seeing : Exhibiting South Asia in Britain 1900 to Now’: She curated the India pavilion of Photo Dubai Exhibition (2016), co-curated the exhibition ‘Gedney in India’ (Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, 2017; Duke University, 2018) and is a guest curator of the next Dhaka Art Summit (2018).

Key Publications

(forthcoming) Guest editor, India-France: Artistic Exchanges, MARG, September-December 2017.

(forthcoming) ‘Postwar India and its Historical Legacy: Responding to Socialist Realism in Communist Bengal’, in Okwui Enwezor, Atreyee Gupta and Ulrich Wilmes (eds), Postwar – Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, Duke University Press/Haus der Kunst, Durham/Munich, 2017. 

(forthcoming) ‘German-speaking exiles and the writing of Indian art history’ in Journal of Art Historiography, no.17, December 2017.

(forthcoming) ‘Indian art and the Bangladesh War: Somnath Hore, K.G. Subramanyan and Bhupen Khakhar  in a time of “upheaval and chaos”’, in Natasha Eaton and Alice Correa (eds), Third Text, special issue, Autumn 2017.

(forthcoming) ‘German-Speaking exiles in the Bombay art world’, in Partha Mitter, Parul Dave Mukherji and Rakhee Balaram (eds), 20th-Century Indian Art, Skira, Milan, 2017. 

‘Isamu Noguchi and Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar’, Hannah Barry Gallery, London, 2016 (contribution to a book on Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq). 

‘ “The Time lived by others”: Indian art reviews after independence », in Katya García Antón and Antonio Cataldo (eds), Critical Writing Ensemble, Office for Contemporary Art (OCA)/Mousse Publishing, Oslo/Milan, 2017, pp. 218-227.

 ‘Mukti Bahini Soldier’, in Chris Dercon and Nada Raza (eds), Bhupen Khakhar: You can’t please all, Tate, London, 2016, pp. 32-35. 

‘  “Des ciels gris de crystal”. Mots pour Christoph von Weyhe’, in Donatien Grau (ed.), Christoph von Weyhe. Au silence, Association Azzedine Alaïa/Actes Sud, Paris/Arles, 2016, pp. 49-57.

‘The In-Coming Passengers’ (on artist Desmond Lazaro), in Desmond Lazaro, The In-Coming Passengers, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai, 2016. 

‘Ebrahim Alkazi and Exhibition-Making: Revisiting the Post-Independence Indian Art Scene’, in Parul Dave Mukherji (ed.), Directing Art: A Tribute to Ebrahim Alkazi, Mapin, Ahmedabad, 2016, pp. 152-167.

‘Learning from Chandigarh: Architecture and Photography’, in Shanay Jhaveri (ed.), Chandigarh is in India, The Shoestring Publisher, Mumbai, 2016, pp. 232-240 & pp. 273-281.

‘Zarina's Folding House' (on artist Zarina Hashmi), in Zarina Hashmi, Zarina: Folding House, Gallery Espace, New Delhi, 2014. 

‘Indian Nationalist Art History and the Writing and Exhibiting of Mughal Art, 1910-1948’, Art History, volume 36, issue 5, 2013, pp. 1042-1069. 

‘A Modern Formation? Circulating International Art in India, 1950s-1970s’, in Shanay Jhaveri (ed.), Western Artists and India: Creative Inspirations in Art and Design, Thames and Hudson, London, and The Shoestring Publisher, Mumbai, 2013, pp. 46-57.

‘Approaching the Mughal Past in Indian Art Criticism: The Case of MARG (1946-1963)’, Modern Asian Studies, volume 47, issue 1, 2013, pp. 167-203.

‘A German Insider in Bombay Cinema: Franz Osten’s Situated Orientalism’, in Shanay Jhaveri (ed.), Memory and Representation, Cultuur Centrum Brugge, Bruges, 2012, pp. 28-33. 

‘Contextualiser l’art contemporain indien. Une histoire des expositions de groupe de 1968 à nos jours’, in Sophie Duplaix and Fabrice Bousteau (eds), Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Editions du Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011, pp. 88-95.

‘The Compass that keeps on spinning’ (on artist Amar Kanwar), in Juan Guardiola (ed.) INDIA: Auteur films, independent documentaries and video art (1899-2008), La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2009, pp. 168-175. Reprinted from ArtAsiaPacific, no. 59, July-August 2008, pp. 126-131.

Other Publications

Other publications include: ‘Four literary shows’, frieze, October 2016, pp. 238-239; ‘Inheriting the transnational history of art reviews’, TAKE on art, July-December 2016, pp. 32-35; ‘Farah Atassi’, frieze, September 2016, pp. 182-183 ; ‘Made in Algeria. Généalogie d’un territoire’, Art Press, January 2016, pp. 8-11; 'Mrinalini Mukherjee', frieze, April 2015, pp. 152-153; ‘Sheela Gowda’, Art Press, May 2014, p. 18; ‘Zarina’, frieze, June-August 2013, p. 235; ‘Delhi City Report’, frieze, no. 148, June-August 2012, pp. 142-149; ‘Amar Kanwar. La juste mesure du documentaire’, Art Press, no. 379, June 2011, pp. 42-46; ‘Ranjani Shettar’, June-August 2011, frieze, p. 205; ‘Looking back at the influential Summer of 1977’ (interview with Vasif Kortun), ArtAsiaPacific, March and April 2010, pp. 62-63; ‘Being Singular Plural: Moving Images from India’, Art Press, November 2010, p. 98; ‘Tsuruko Yamazaki: Beyond Gutai’, ArtAsiaPacific, July-August 2010, p. 124; ‘Christian Boltanski’, frieze, May 2010, pp. 136-137; ‘Resemble Reassemble’, Art Press, April 2010, pp. 78-79; ‘Indian Highway’, frieze, March 2009, p 148-149; ‘Looking Back/Looking Forward’ (best of 2008), frieze, January-February 2009, pp. 96-115; ‘Still Moving Image’, frieze, November-December 2008, p. 209; ‘Fire in the Belly: The Poetics of Ranjani Shettar’, ArtAsiaPacific, November-December 2007, pp. 144-149. November-December 2007, pp. 144-149.