Interview with Sreshta Rit Premnath

Nihaal Faizal

Published on 11.4.2023

Shifter’s nature is such that it changes every issue. What worked in the previous issue doesn’t work anymore. What failed may be substituted with new deficiencies.”

Nihaal Faizal [NF]: I think that’s a good quote to start with. The motivations of this interview are simple, we are now at an important moment in Shifter’s history—you recently announced its closing—and this is something that you’ve been doing since 2004. So I just want to get a record of it down, somewhere on paper, of its history and your journey with it.

Sreshta Rit Premnath [SRP]: I am really happy to be having this conversation. Yeah, we’re closing the project—it’s hard to say that there’s an end to the project, and who knows, there might be other kinds of projects that begin from here. As you quoted there are deficiencies that could be replaced with other deficiencies, so we’ll see where it goes. [laughs]

NF: What was the context in which you decided to start Shifter? I remember you said that you were in Bangalore when you started it.

SRP: Yeah, I was back in Bangalore after my undergraduate studies. I had finished my BFA at Cleveland Institute of Art in 2003 and had started graduate school at Bard College immediately after. I hadn’t been back in Bangalore for a long-time, and I hadn’t visited my family, so I really wanted to come. But once I arrived, I didn’t get a visa to return to the US. So I was in a bit of a crisis because I had started graduate school and I couldn’t go back. I had moved to the US right after high school, and the trajectory I had envisioned was over there. So I felt a bit lost at first being in India.

But of course, I met a bunch of artists working in Bangalore at that time. I met Sunitha Kumar Emmart who had just then started GALLERYSKE, and so I began to feel a sense of community back home. It was a community that I hadn’t really thought about, since I left India. I also had another community in the US from my educational experiences. And so I wanted to start Shifter as a way to encompass these seemingly separate communities.

I had also been contending with the issue of identity in a variety of ways. When I studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art it was predominantly comprised of White Americans and I was one of very few international students. And so whatever I did was always perceived through a certain lens of what people assumed about my cultural background. And so, there was this constant projection of identity onto my artwork.

I’ve had many different responses or relations with this over time, but at that moment, I wanted to create a platform that was not based on my cultural background—that was not specific to Bangalore or India or the US—but was thematic, and shifting in the same way that I had been moving from place to place. A platform for certain kinds of conversations and discourses that I had really enjoyed within the context of graduate school—a space for intense dialogue around art, philosophy, and other subjects. Even rethinking forms of dialogue. I was particularly interested in placing visual art, poetry, and critical writing alongside each other as equally viable forms of expression. So Shifter began out of all those desires and it took the form of an online publication because at that time I had no money whatsoever for a project like this. I was working part-time for a designer, Ravindra, in Bangalore, and he offered to host Shifter on his website, and that’s how I started the publication.

NF: But at some point you moved from the online space to a print publication, right? And I think you also began public programming around that point.

SRP: There was initially a push-pull between print and online when I was conceptualising the digital publications. I was designing them as publications that could be downloaded and printed. So they had consistent page sizes, margins, and so on. They followed the format of a book. And then there was a period—maybe around Shifter issues 7, 8, 9—I mean it was all over the place. So, for instance, I did an issue with no contents section or index. Or I would put the index at the end, and then have multiple different page sizes throughout the publication.

But I think I started to go back to the idea of print because I love print publications—I myself don’t spend a lot of time reading PDFs or online publications—and so with issues 10, 11, 12, and 13, we began doing print-on-demand editions. The issues would be available for free online, but also a small edition would be printed through Lulu, the print-on-demand publisher.

I was influenced, or maybe encouraged, by an interview I read with Ursula Le Guin, in which the interviewer asked her something like, “What do you think of the future of print? Do you think print is going to disappear?” And her response was—which I think is so insightful and brilliant— “No.” She said each of these forms has its own function, “but I think in the future it will be possible to translate the digital into the physical more easily.” I mean she didn’t use these exact words but what I took Le Guin to mean was that the future would be print-on-demand.

With issue 14, I was invited to do an exhibition at Bose Pacia Gallery in New York, which no longer exists, but was a space that focussed on Indian or South Asian artists. A really good gallery, but I was a bit hesitant to do a solo show there. I had just come out of graduate school and I didn’t want to be contextualised in that way. I was already showing with GALLERYSKE in Bangalore, and I didn’t want to be in an ‘Indian’ gallery in New York. So I counter proposed a group show and a publication.

This was the first time I organised programming through Shifter, and it was great. The title of the exhibition was On Certainty—that was also the title of the issue, and it was based on Wittgenstein’s book with the same name—and I began with a discussion group of the artists that I had invited to be in the exhibition. We thought through the exhibition together and everyone also contributed pieces to the publication, which was newsprint. Every week—which seems kind of crazy now in retrospect—I would host a different programme approaching the idea of certainty from different perspectives, inviting a neurologist, a physicist, and poets to talk about certainty through their disciplinary lenses. For example, Lawrence Liang spoke about law and truth-telling, and the history of truth serum in relation to certainty. So it was a pretty robust series that unfolded alongside the show. I think that was the first time I realised that Shifter was more than a publication. It was this sort of platform—for lack of a better word—where different kinds of dialogue could happen.

NF: You mentioned that you were also working at a design firm in Bangalore when Shifter began. Were you the one that designed the issues as well?

SRP: Yeah, yeah. I did everything. [both laugh] I was doing every aspect of it. I think with Shifter 6 or 7, I realised that I needed a co-editor. It was very early in the journey of the publication and the issues were coming out fast and furious. Initially I would explain the project to people and invite contributions, and then there was a point when people—friends—would approach me to submit contributions. So I created a fictitious co-editor to help me reject submissions when necessary. This lasted for a few issues and the co-editor’s name was Gönner Heiliger Von Lügen—which according to Google translate, is the German translation for ‘patron saint of lies’. [both laugh]

But yeah, I used to do everything including the design. With Shifter 10 onwards I started to collaborate on editing each issue. I was in the Whitney Independent Study Program then, and some of my close friends in the program—Steve Lam, Jane Jin Kaisen, Kajsa Dahlberg, and, importantly, Avram Alpert (Avi), coedited issues with me. Matthew Metzger co-edited issues 17 to 21 and really made the publication a long term collaborative effort. There were a chunk of issues in that period from 16 to 21 that were designed by Dan Levenson, who is a friend and artist based in Los Angeles—Matt, Dan, and I met at Skowhegan, another residency I attended. There was an issue that we invited Dan to contribute to and he proposed that instead of contributing a piece, he would like to design the publication.

Shifter 22 onwards were collaboratively conceived and organised by Avi, who had also previously coedited Shifter 13. Avi had a huge impact on the direction and ambition of the project and how programming started to precede each publication. He always jokes that he just wanted to start a drinking group and I made him turn it into the Dictionary of the Possible. Speaking of which, the Dictionary was designed by Gabriel Pericàs, who had just graduated from Parsons and had attended many of the Dictionary discussions when he was a graduate student.

NF: Coming back to issue 14 - On Certainty, it’s really interesting that an invitation for an exhibition of your own work, led to the realisation that public programming was such an integral part of Shifter, but also pointed the way to a strategy of using available opportunities and resources to take the magazine forward.

It reminds me of the work of another publisher I greatly admire, Display Distribute, and especially their Catalogue series. In the latest manifestation of this series, they occupied pages of an otherwise unrelated exhibition catalogue to promote the publications available through their artist-run courier network called Light Logistics. Their website describes this gesture in the following words: “Display Distribute ‘parasites’ both the publishing and logistical infrastructures of the exhibition to re-imagine and re-configure the artist/institutional binary.” Of course, the pun is that this source catalogue belonged to an exhibition that took place at Para Site in Hong Kong.

SRP: Yes, that’s very interesting. This reminds me of issue 17 of Shifter. We were invited to guest edit the art section of Rethinking Marxism, a print journal that my friend Jesal Kapadia was involved with. We proposed inserting an entire issue of Shifter into that section while also publishing it separately as an independent book. We removed “thinking” and “Marxism” from the journal’s title and called our issue Re___ing.

NF: You mentioned that you were initially motivated by not having any money to start Shifter as a digital PDF, and then opportunities like this exhibition at Bose Pacia became moments where you could use funding from different projects towards the project. How did it continue after that?

SRP: So 14 was the first time we did that and Bose Pacia funded the publication and the programming. For 16, my co-editor Warren Neidich helped with the funding, and then when I started co-editing the publication with Matthew Metzger—which was 17—he rightly said to me that we need to think through our funding model. We couldn’t keep relying on what money we either had or didn’t have, and so we began applying for grants, like to the Graham Foundation for one issue, and we did a kickstarter campaign for another two issues. And the thing I realised—I mean this should have been quite obvious, of course—was that with a little bit of funding, we were able to start making something quite beautiful. And realising, in a way, that that’s what I’m drawn to in print publications, reflecting back on that Ursula Le Guin quote. There’s certain publications that are about transmitting information and some of those publications can exist quite easily as digital publications. And then there are others where the form is part of the content, the content is also in the physical form, and having funds allowed for that development.

By Shifter 18 or 19, I had started teaching full-time, first at Moore College, Philadelphia, and then at Parsons, where I continue to teach. These full-time teaching positions allow access to research funding from the University, which has been a way that I’ve produced issues. Shifter 22: Dictionary of the Possible allowed a nice balance because it was a small publication, in black and white, so not terribly expensive to produce, but because we had funding we could actually make it into something quite beautiful with an embossed, hard-cover. And people want this book. When I’m at a book fair, I can see this very clearly. It’s the form, and the content, everything kind of comes together in this object, and then people want to acquire it, and read it. It’s taken me a while to realise something quite obvious, but there’s a kind of seduction that the book has to perform both in terms of what it stimulates in your mind, but also in your hands, to function as a successful publication.

NF: You know, last time when we met, you had said this about sculpture. [Sreshta laughs] That sculpture has to work on the mind, but also make you aware of your own body. And so it’s really beautiful to hear you talk about the book in the same way.

SRP: It’s funny, there’s so many of these things that when I say them out loud, they seem so generic. Like, they’re just so obvious. But I feel like I have come to these realisations backwards. When I was in graduate school I was introduced to Marxism and Situationism, and these ideas taught me to relate to my own taste in a critical way. I thought that the appropriate form of aesthetics was one that is aleatory. I had learned to be suspicious of beauty in some way, and if anything I was doing in my art started to look finished or beautiful, I wanted to destroy it.

So at that moment the PDF seemed really appropriate as an aesthetic. And my scepticism of my own role as an editor led to issues where the text was unedited, the pages were of different sizes, and in whatever fonts the contributors set them. It was more about process, and I mean, I don’t look back on it with regret. I think there’s meaning to that kind of process that has a particular relation to beauty—one of suspicion. But more and more, I feel like the object—whether it’s an art object or a book—has to be generous to the person who wants to spend time with it. To not treat the other person with suspicion and disrespect, but to invite them in and to ask them to stay. You know, the aesthetic quality of pleasure.

NF: I’m just going to go back a little to ask my next question, and it’s about the funds you were able to generate for Shifter. I am sure it was different with each project—but were you able to pay contributors at any point? Were you paying yourself for the work you were putting in? How did Shifter work in that sense?

SRP: Yeah, that’s a good question! It was only at the end, with issue 23, 24, and 25, that we started paying contributors. Before that we would give free copies of the book to the contributors in exchange for their participation. I would say that pretty much all the money went into printing costs. We never managed to pay ourselves, which was another reason that Shifter had to end.

My relation to these issues about labour shifted over the course of Shifter’s run. It was harder to defend the idea that Shifter was a labour of love for me, and so it should be for everyone else who participated in it. I think that was my attitude when I started it, and then at a certain point it felt unethical to be asking people to contribute an essay or an artwork and just give them a book or two in exchange.

One of the contributors to Shifter was Lise Soskolne, a founding member of this organisation called W.A.G.E in New York that has been working on standardising how much contributors and artists get paid for various modes of participation. To work like that is really something I aspire towards. My caveat always used to be that Shifter is not a nonprofit. I always called it a for-loss publication that was one step below non-profit, and so that was the way in which I made peace with how I was using the money. But if I started a project again, now or in the future, it would be very different. I would actually start with a lot of things that were afterthoughts for me when I started Shifter. I would start with these basic issues like funding, how one appropriately supports other artists, by not simply showcasing their work but by also helping them pay their rent. So that’s something I am much more conscious of now, yeah.

NF: Did you make any money at all off book sales? And I suppose it must have also been challenging calling Shifter a magazine, because then you really expect some sort of stability, but Shifter would change dimensions, mastheads, designs, and readerships with every issue.

SRP: No, not until pretty late in its run. Once we started getting funding, we were at least breaking even, and sometimes even making money, which was great. The format of Shifter, as you said, is so difficult to grasp at so many practical levels. If I were a publisher doing thematic publications, then I think people would have understood it a bit differently, or even if there was a consistency in themes. But it was the kind of project that became very associated with me and my coeditors. It was more like, “Oh! Rit and Matt, or Rit and Avi, have that publication called Shifter. What’s the new one about?”

So, this was a bit limiting and the kinds of bookstores that sell these kinds of publications are also very few. There’s Printed Matter in New York, Motto in Berlin, a couple of places in Canada, and so on, but we’ve never made any money selling through bookstores because they take 50% of the sale price and oftentimes you have to ship it to them and so you’re losing money both ways. I always thought of bookshops as advertising, and direct website sales, and events as actually generating income. So when we started getting seed funding for issues that covered printing costs, we started to actually make enough money to reinvest in the next issue, pay contributors, or to participate in a book fair. In places like the New York Art Book Fair, we actually made some money. Despite having to pay a table fee, we would sell much more in one weekend than we normally would in a year.

Since Shifter 20, we have also been focused on getting university and museum libraries to acquire complete sets of Shifter. This not only ensures that the publication is archived well and available to a wider public, but we can also sell the books for twice the regular price.

So a few years ago I approached Small Press Distributions, to see if they would be interested in distributing Shifter. And that person was generous enough to get on a call with me. He was like, “you know, there are so many ways in which you have framed this publication, that is confusing to people. And, one of those is calling it a magazine. Because bookstores and libraries are going to treat your publication in a very particular way that does not correspond with how your publication works.” And I think it was only then that it dawned on me that well, first of all, what I am doing fits into a very specific category of publishing—artist’s magazines. It is small on a global scale but it’s big when you go to the New York Art Book Fair and realise that there’s so many people doing these sorts of projects. And within that world, it has a certain meaning, which I wanted to stay committed to, despite the fact that I wasn’t making money on it.

I got my hands on this book Artists' Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art by Gwen Allen, which is a study of artists’ magazines mostly in the West between the 1970s to the 1990s, and it provided a historical context for what I was doing. She also stated something in that book, which I completely agree with, that an artists’ magazine is not a catalogue for an exhibition, nor is it documentation of a symposium. It functions more like an alternative art space—an actual space where you make art public.

Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avram Alpert at the New York Art Book Fair in 2019.
Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avram Alpert at the New York Art Book Fair in 2019.

NF: Yes, and having run something like G.159—a project space in my apartment—before starting Reliable Copy, I find this description quite accurate. Were there other models and references you were aware of when you started Shifter?

SRP: Not in a historically informed way. I had these friends at Bard who had started a magazine called FO A RM. I think when they started it, it was supposed to be ‘Form’, and the first issue was ‘A’ and the next issue would be ‘B’, and so on. But after they made the first issue, they decided to keep it as FO A RM. There were a lot of poets at Bard, and in the poetry world there is a practice of publishing chapbooks and little zines, and so on. So it was in this very local way that I learned about publishing. When I was in middle school in Bangalore, at Valley School, there was a student magazine that I worked on. When I was in Cleveland later, I edited the school newspaper. And so I had always been drawn to publishing in my immediate context. But for whatever reason, I didn’t have a deep or historical understanding of the form until long after I started working on it. It was when I approached Printed Matter to distribute it that I discovered the world of artists’ magazines and was like, “oh my god, this is amazing!” So yeah...

NF: In talking about artist-run and artist-led, as most of these magazines, publishing projects, and alternative spaces are, we come to a point where Shifter has to be seen as an extension of your artistic practice. But this is made even more complex by the fact that you were the designer for a large part, the editor for most part, and you have also contributed your own texts and works in almost every issue [both chukle]. So first, I am curious about your editorial process, before we move further into this direction. You said that in some of the early issues you published the contributions you received as is, without any edits or alterations, and somewhere the editorial gesture became more pronounced.

SRP: I think from the beginning, the impulse was to be in conversation with others and to create a space where I could do that. Which puts me in the centre of that, you know, statement. And so, even though it was maybe seen as a little tasteless to curate yourself into a group show for example, it isn’t unheard of within the world of zine making. I had these communities that I was in conversation with and I wanted to create a space where they could be in conversation with each other, or where we could all think about things together. And so there was always a ‘we’ that included me. The early issues were closely edited in that I would send out an open call, I would select things, and edit them, and I enjoyed that process of a back-and-forth with people. Of thinking through their work together through the process of editing.

And then there was a short period where I felt like my voice, as an editor, was a form of intervention that was in some ways unnecessary. Or rather, my copy editing as a form of intervention was unnecessary, but my editorial involvement was in how the pieces intersected or interacted with each other. It was a more curatorial gesture.

And then there was a period, maybe 16 or 17 onwards, where we would not do open calls at all. It was by invitation only and in some issues, I wouldn’t have a contribution beyond the editorial. With Shifter 22, Avi and I organised and led a biweekly discussion group, the makeup of which was quite organic. There were regulars who came to most sessions and not only shaped the discussions but also proposed terms to take up for discussion. So, yeah, I think it’s been a project where that question of what my/our own role is, has been very much part of the project. It still feels like a very active question for me.

I learned only recently that Satyajit Ray not only edited and wrote for, but also designed the covers of Sandesh, a Bengali children’s magazine first published by his grandparents. This was in the 60’s during the height of his film output. I also love the idea that this was a project that his literary and artistic friends, as well as his family were involved with—as funders, editors, and contributors.

I feel that the roles we play in the art world and the academic world—the spaces in which I work—are very much mixed and in conflict with each other. Yet, within these professional contexts, people make it appear as if their roles are distinct from place to place. You know, like the relationship between the collector, the curator, and the artist—who approaches whom to make something happen—these things are very messy in the art world even though they may appear organised and distinct. So it’s an active question for me, and I enjoy putting myself in the middle of it. Like writing an editorial and contributing to the issues, where different parts of me enter into this project.

NF: Right, and it’s worth noting too that you started Shifter between your student years, and you continued it through your time as a teacher. I wonder, in this context, if you saw Shifter as also being a platform for education, or pedagogy? Did you see it having an educational function as well somewhere?

SRP: Yeah, that’s a really good question because Shifter was always marking or being marked by what I and my co-editors were doing at a particular moment. When we did Shifter 19 and 20, both Matt and I had just started full-time teaching. And so there were a bunch of questions in our minds like, can we be successful artists and full-time educators? Or is it a failure of one that we’re doing the other?

We wanted to explore these questions in publication, and What We Can Knot, which was Shifter 20, consisted of conversations between artists who had shared a teacher-student relationship in the past, but now considered themselves friends in the art world. My contribution to that issue was an interview with a former student—who I had just worked with at Williams College the previous year. He was quite brilliant and I found the projects he did, and the conversations we had throughout that semester, to be really meaningful. And so I included a conversation with Abdullah Awad in that issue of Shifter.

And then with Shifter 22: Dictionary of the Possible, we held a series of bi-weekly discussions at the New School, leading up to the issue. And what happened was really beautiful I thought. It was open to whoever wanted to come, and it became a mix of 60% of New York art friends and some that I didn’t know, and then a small group of students and alumni who I had worked with. And we were all in this space together, which was set up in a circle, where the two presentations were very brief—10 minute presentations followed by an hour and forty minutes of discussion. It was a space that created an equal relation between all the people present, and I thought it resulted in some very interesting things. It fostered certain kinds of relationships with the people that I knew at the University, but more intense and informal. We’d go out for a drink after each of those discussions, and so there was a formal, as well as informal phase of the conversation.

And then during Learning & Unlearning which was 24, I was co-teaching a class with an anthropologist, Abou Farman called Utopias. Concurrently Avi and I programmed a series of events at Art in General that was titled Unlearning Dystopia, and there were topics such as Black Utopias led by Steffani Jemison, Ecotopias led by Terike Haapoja, and Queer Utopias led by Zach Blas. Although it was programmed with the idea that students from the class could come, very few students actually showed up and I feel it was less successful than the Dictionary in that respect. So, I do think there’s a pedagogical aspect to Shifter—or ways in which we are able to create spaces within Shifter that I aspire to create within the art school, but find harder because the University is so deeply structured, hierarchical, and problematic on so many levels.

NF: What really excites me about Shifter is also, as I said before, your relationship to it as an artist. I have followed your practice over many years, although we just met very recently, and I know that questions of site, place, and identity have informed your work for a long time. These are questions you have asked in Shifter as well. I am curious as to how the running of Shifter changed you as an artist, or how it fed into your art practice?

SRP: That’s a really difficult one. Although I would say for the most part that I thought of these two modes of working—working in my studio for exhibitions and then working on Shifter—as somewhat separate or parallel to each other, they were also so much a part of me that it has been hard to disentangle and understand what was cause and what was effect.

Even more so, the community that initially formed around Shifter overlapped with communities that I was already a part of, and it was about using Shifter as a way to find connections between and among these communities. But then over time, the community formed because of Shifter. So with the Dictionary Of The Possible or so many other issues, there are people that I came to know because they came to discussions, or because I invited them to contribute to an issue. I found their work interesting and relevant, and invited them, and now they’re good friends. There are moments when we’re like, “Wait, when did we meet again?” and then we realise it was through Shifter. So there, yeah it’s really hard for me to answer that question.

NF: Yes, but that’s a very good answer already. And, I think we can conclude here with a last question. This kind of work where you can design, edit, and produce things all by yourself in this way, while still being in conversation with so many other people, is quite addictive as a process. By this kind of work, I mean work that is understood as artist-run or artist-organised, whether it’s in the running of a project space or a magazine or a publishing house. I know, because I used to run a project space as a student and having given that up for two years, quickly started Reliable Copy to feel something of that thrill again. There’s times when it can be really frustrating and overwhelming, and times when it’s financially impractical and draining and outrageous, but it’s nonetheless addictive. There’s an energy to it that isn’t the same as making a work by yourself in the studio. So my question is, what do you see happening now? What’s next for Shifter? Or is there something next for Shifter?

SRP: Yeah I think you’re right about it being addictive. It’s almost a kind of world-building project. You can manage all these little aspects of the website, the book, the distribution, the production, a discussion. For example, it’s really important to me how we arrange the seating in a space. [both laugh] So, there’s a micro-managing aspect to it, even though I act as if it's very informal, and about freedom, and so on. But yeah, it's addictive. I think one of the disadvantages, or the shortcomings of this way of working has been, as I said earlier, that the project has revolved around me, even though I have worked closely with collaborators and co-editors. There’s so many mundane aspects of it including shipping books. Like, now I have student assistants who work for me, and when they are around they do it, but most often I’m responsible when an order comes in. This kind of work has a certain lifespan as well, I think.

Right now, I’m interested in focusing on my art practice and on writing. And also spending some time reflecting on the things I’ve done—like this interview is making me do. Just to take a pause and look back on these projects, and think through what I’ve learnt from all of this. I want to spend some time doing that.

The other thing I realised during the Trump era of organising—in whatever limited way I did—through political protests and canvassing and so on, was that you don’t have to start everything yourself. There are people who are successfully doing things and you can join them and you can contribute to their efforts. I am interested in that. If I am writing then what are the interesting editorial projects that I can be a part of? How do I use my time in a way that I’m not managing every aspect of a project, but rather focusing and going deeper into certain areas, and leaning on others for other aspects?

So that’s where I am. Last summer I was in a group show at Experimenter in Kolkata and I wanted to do a discussion while I was there. So I used the Dictionary of the Possible model and invited Trina Banerjee to be in conversation with me. We both delivered short presentations on performance and placemaking, using Judith Butler’s writing about performative acts and protest as a touchpoint, followed by an intense group discussion. And so, that was for me a way of creating spaces for discourse next to or alongside my art practice. This still feels really important and I often feel like I can do it better than the spaces I am showing at. So if they won’t initiate it, I will. That part of me is still very much alive. I imagine continuing to instigate different dialogues and conversations in relation to my artmaking and exhibition making, in relation to my teaching, but maybe not under the umbrella of Shifter for a while.

Sreshta Rit Premnath (b. 1979, Bangalore, India) lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent solo exhibitions include: Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2022); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2022); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2021); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2019); Nomas Foundation, Rome (2017); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2012); and Wave Hill, NY (2011); among others. He has participated in group exhibitions including The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2011); The Hollow Center, Smack Mellon, New York (2013); Common Space, The Kitchen, NY (2014); After Midnight, The Queens Museum, NY; So-Called Utopias, Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (both 2015); Cartography of Ghosts, The Drawing Center, NY (2016); The Socrates Annual, Socrates Sculpture Park, NY (2017); andL’Intrus Redux, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2019), among others. Premnath received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art (2003), an MFA from Bard College (2006), and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program (2008).

Nihaal Faizal is an artist based in Bangalore. In 2018, he founded Reliable Copy, a publishing house for works, projects, and writing by artists.