Indrani Saha is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program at MIT. She studies modern art of the United States with a particular interest in histories of abstraction as they intersect with theories of mind, histories of spirituality, and reception theory.
W21’s 2021 theme of “disembodiment” resonates with Saha’s own research interest in how seemingly simple “non-representational” instances of colour and form can yield visceral experiences where one becomes self-conscious of embodiment taking place. As a member of the “Art, Vision, and the Brain” @dukebassconnections team, she studied the dizzying (and nauseating) equiluminant screenprints from Richard Anuszkiewicz’s Spectral Cadmium portfolio. This experience piqued her curiosity in disorienting aesthetic experiences.
How do art objects serve as dis/orientation devices? What are the political, artistic, spiritual, and subjective stakes when disorientation induces becoming? Saha explores these questions in further detail in a wild dissertation-in-progress about women curators/modern art promoters engaged in an effort to operationalise radically abstract modern art to spiritualise and (dis)orient the American public in the early twentieth-century.
Saha holds a BA in Cognitive Aesthetics from Duke where she was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her distinction thesis examined how perceptual disruption and disorientation alter social interaction in Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation. She has worked with the Nasher Museum as a curatorial intern and student curator.
Hilma af Klint, Serie SUW/UW, Grupp IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 17, 1915, oil on canvas © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk Photo: Albin Dahlström/@modernamuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.