Samrat Banerjee | Anonimals | 2019– 24.10.2020 – 14.02.2021 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


Screenshot from Anonimals, digital video, 7:11 min., 2019 © Samrat Banerjee
Samrat Banerjee, Anonimals, 2019, SITUATION #214, SITUATIONS/Closure, installation view at Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2020 © Philipp Ottendörfer

In his work Anonimals, Indian-born artist Samrat Banerjee, who lives in Zurich, uses photographs, performative arrangements, gestures and imaginary tales to take a critical look at the idea of humanist Enlightenment. Anonimals examines the deployment – in urban public spaces in Europe, and specifically in Zurich – of symbols used to project colonial power, which often feature depictions of animals from the colonies. In the artist’s view, the effect that these enactments of human (European) superiority and privilege have in public space creates the symbolic foundation for the exclusion, exploitation and oppression of those not considered equal. To counteract this tendency, Banerjee combines and overlays colonial animal narratives with European and non-European “cosmogonies”– myths and evolutionary models explaining the creation and development of the world. In this way, Anonimals draws on a local Swiss example as a means to reveal the mechanisms and representational forms of colonial practices, which continue to have a major impact on urban spaces, also in Switzerland.