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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Mansi Bhatt

The Gallery


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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India: New Installations, Part 1, April 15 – November 25, 2007
About The Artist

Mansi Bhatt's work locates itself within the world of performance and photography. The characters that she inhabits in her work are drawn from a combination of reality and fiction. Her practice has evolved over the last ten years and has included solo shows in India and the United States as well as residencies at various spaces including the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh in 2007 and The Watermill Center in New York in 2005. The staging of the photographs is usually extraordinarily elaborate tableaux, and in her most recent solo show, she took on the environment of small-town India. A Suite was shown in September 2009. The final images are compelling as they disrupt easy readings as to what in the photographs is real and what is fictitious.

Uncertainty of objects and characters and her constant inquiry toward "belonging" are important elements of Bhatt's work, as is the idea of "travel." Her intensive performances often leave her body bruised and bleeding. For example, in her performance Bulldozer Yatra, Bhatt traveled on a bulldozer from Borivali to Azad Maidanin in Mumbai, digging the land into which she threw her own body. The piece opened many questions about territory and its negotiations.

Prosthetics and makeup have played an important part in creating an alienated reality in Bhatt's work, and her targets have included burned-out celebrities, superheroes, and even art world insiders. This last category places Mansi in a rare category among artists in the subcontinent who have turned their gaze inwards onto the politics of the art scene as it has played out in the last decade. Her works, which have critiqued both male domination and self-censorship in the art world, have taken on an iconic status and will undoubtedly be seen as vital art historical moments in the maturing process of the Indian art scene.

In her recent performance KALKInama at the 12th Shanghai Biennial, Bhatt presented herself as a love warrior—part Hindu god, part warrior, prat lover—inviting people to write love secrets on her satin cape.

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