“Breathing Between the Lines: Re-Deconstruction in Chitra Ganesh’s Tales of Amnesia” n.paradoxa: International Journal of Feminist Art, vol. 29: Trans-Asia, January 2012.

In her mid-thirties, Indian-American artist Chitra Ganesh has reached a stage in her career marked by significant media and market attention, both generating and benefiting from increasing visibility for artists from India and the Indian Diaspora in the contemporary art world.1 Perhaps unsurprisingly, her digital collages based on Hindu comic books have been particularly popular, as they present vibrant illustrations populated with sexy, mysterious figures, easily identifiable cultural markings of “Indianness”, and poetically vague but unmistakable feminist overtones.

However, the seemingly straightforward legibility of this postmodern combination, so perfectly suited to the current tastes of the global art market, has thus far precluded a deeper consideration of this work. Yet, such an analysis of Ganesh’s first major work in this style, Tales of Amnesia (2002), and its relationship to its source material, the Hindu comic book series Amar Chitra Katha, is ultimately quite rewarding. Therefore, in this article, I want to explore how, rather than a generic feminist attempt to “challenge” gender stereotypes or a rehashed pop critique of artistic authenticity, the complex structural organization of Ganesh’s work sets out to...