We Will be Forgotten

by Kitty Drake in September 2019
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Contra and It’s Freezing in LA! first became aware of one another when they were both nominated for Launch of the Year at the 2018 Stack Awards — which we love, because it makes us Cupid. The magazines, which are themed around conflict and climate change respectively, are now collaborating on an exhibition exploring our fundamental misunderstanding of the planet. Opening on 28 September, ‘We Will be Forgotten’ will show sculptures by Vinita Khanna, including a strangely luscious installation of 1,000 moulds made from the plastic packaging of water bottles and toothbrushes and light bulbs. In Contra’s second issue, Khanna wrote about our “collective amnesia” over the impending climate disaster. The plastic accumulating in the ocean, she writes, will soon outweigh the planet’s fish. This work is so aggressively tactile it evokes that weight.

The exhibition will be in North Greenwich at Contra’s studios, where Khanna has been conducting a one month residency. Ahead of the opening, Contra’s Shivani Hassard and IFLA’s Martha Dillon talk us through three of Vinita Khanna’s pieces.

Squaring the Circle — Earth Cube

“Khanna’s series of Earth Cubes are from 2004, and they are a great example of her earlier work already addressing some of the themes that are explored further in her newer installations. Her use of industrial materials creates a contradiction within her sublime landscapes, and the strength of these pieces lie in the feeling of surprise you get on physically encountering the work.”

A Rocks Repository

This piece is another foam sculpture that considers the human relationship to the natural world. Khanna is fascinated by sensory and material tricks, and the readiness with which we accept preconceived ideas for our own comfort — whether those ideas are about our immediate surroundings or the fate of the planet.”

We Will be Forgotten

“One of Khanna’s most recent pieces, We Will be Forgotten, was featured in Contra’s second issue on Protest. We Will be Forgotten includes hundreds of fossils created from ordinary consumer plastic products and packaging, the dispersal and disintegration of which is addressed in her earlier installations. We Will be Forgotten is the final resting place of this ubiquitous material in a world that has survived us, the consumer. This installation addresses a deep sense of denial in the face of ecologial disaster, borne out of self-preservation. Khanna’s work resists an over-intellectualised response as this is the very response that allows us to close off from the realities of the climate emergency. The immediacy of in-person experience seems to be at the core of her work. By reframing the banal and giving it a voice beyond functionality, the artist is permitting this dead material to become part of nature once more.”



We Will Be Forgotten will run from 28 September until 13 October at Unit 4, Delta Wharf, Tunnel Avenue, SE10 0QE. The opening party on Saturday is £10 and thereafter entry is free.


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