Devika Singh specialises in modern and contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on art in South Asia and the transnational history of modernism.
Before joining the Courtauld in 2022 she was Curator, International Art at Tate Modern where she was part of the core team of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, leading and convening a number of research events that advanced new perspectives on global art histories. Singh was also in charge of museum displays and acquisitions of South Asian art for the Tate collection. She has previously been Smuts Research Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art (Max Weber Foundation) in Paris. Singh is an affiliated scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies of the University of Cambridge and a member of the ‘Observatoire: Globalisation, Art et Prospective’ at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA, Paris).
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). She worked at Marian Goodman Gallery in Paris before pursuing her PhD in the history of art (Cambridge, 2013) supported by the AHRC and a Knox studentship from Trinity College. She 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, an André Chastel fellowship of the INHA at the French Academy at Rome (Villa Medici) and was a resident of the Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo (OCA)’s International Studio Programme.
Devika Singh has curated in a diversity of contexts and continues to curate internationally. She co-curated ‘Gedney in India’ (Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, CSMVS, Mumbai, 2017; Duke University, 2018) and curated exhibitions including ‘Planetary Planning’ (Dhaka Art Summit, 2018), the India pavilion at Dubai Photo (2016); ‘Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan’ (Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2019-20) as well as a number of displays at Tate Modern including Lee Mingwei’s Our Labyrinth (Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2022).
Her writing has appeared widely in English and in French in exhibition catalogues of international museums and institutions (including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Barbican, the Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo and the Centre Pompidou), in art magazines such as frieze, Art Press and MARG and in the journals Third Text, Modern Asian Studies, the Journal of Art Historiography and Art History. Her book International Departures: Art in India after Independence, for which she received a research grant from the British Academy and a publication grant from the Paul Mellon Centre, is forthcoming in fall 2023 with Reaktion Books. She is a member of several professional bodies, including CIMAM, and she is on the editorial board of the Oxford Art Journal.
Select articles, book chapters and exhibition catalogues
(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 (Reader), Duke University Press/Haus der Kunst, Durham/Munich, 2023.
‘Planning and Dreaming: Architecture and the Media’, in Sean Anderson, Anoma Pieris and Martino Stierli (eds), The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2022, pp. 135-141.
‘Revisiting the History of SAHMAT: Devika Singh in conversation with Ram Rahman’, in Actions of Art and Solidarity (Reader), OCA, Oslo, 2022, pp. 259-268.
‘German-Speaking Exiles in the Bombay Art World’, in Partha Mitter, Parul Dave Mukherji and Rakhee Balaram (eds), 20th-Century Indian Art, Thames & Hudson, London, 2022, pp. 158-160.
‘Transnationalism and the work of Isamu Noguchi: A conversation between Karen Ishizuka, Katy Siegel, Dahn Vo and Devika Singh’ (conversation chair) in Fabienne Eggelhöfer, Rita Kersting and Florence Ostende (eds), Isamu Noguchi, Prestel, Munich, 2021, pp. 254-259.
‘A Million Mutinies Now: Art and Architecture in Conflict in 1970s India’, in Glenn D. Lowry (ed.) Art and Conflict (special issue), MARG, June 2020.
Editor (with Amy Tobin), Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2019.
‘Homelands: An Introduction’, in Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2019.
‘Archives of Home and Homelessness: Devika Singh in conversation with Homi K. Bhabha’, in Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2019.
‘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, pp. 459-476.
‘German-speaking exiles and the writing of Indian art history’ in Journal of Art Historiography, no.17, December 2017: https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/singh.pdf
‘ “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.
Guest editor, India-France: Artistic Exchanges, MARG, September-December 2017.
‘Mukti Bahini Soldier’, in Chris Dercon and Nada Raza (eds), Bhupen Khakhar: You can’t please all, Tate, London, 2016, pp. 32-35.
‘Isamu Noguchi and Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar’, Hannah Barry Gallery, London, 2016 (contribution to a book on Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq), 2016.
‘ “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: 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.
‘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 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.
‘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.
Other publications include:
contribution to Mortimer Chatterjee (ed.), Moving Focus, India: New Perspectives on Modern and Contemporary Art (The Shoestring Publisher, 2022) pp. 504-505; ‘Zarina: A Tribute’, Critical Collective (online, 2020: https://criticalcollective.in/ArtistInner2.aspx?Aid=135&Eid=1340); contribution to Donatien Grau and Christoph Wiesner (eds), After the Crisis: Contemporary States of Photography (Diaphanes, 2019); contribution to ‘Decolonial Documents’ (frieze, online, 2018 : https://www.frieze.com/article/decolonial-documents-part-three); Review of India: Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art, Critique d’Art, 2018; ‘Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, “Deconstructors”’, TAKE on Art, January-June 2018, pp. 44-47; ‘Nalini Malani : “If humankind wants to survive the twenty-first century”’, Art Press, no. 450, December 2017, pp. 49-54; contribution to Paris Photo, 1997-2016. Parcours (Paris Photo, 2016), pp. 92-93; ‘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.