Paul Purgas is an artist and musician working with sound, performance and installation. Originally trained as an architect he has presented exhibitions and projects with Tramway, Serpentine, Tate, Kettle’s Yard and Spike Island. His written output includes essays for the 'Unsound:Undead' collection published by Urbanomic/MIT Press and contributions to the critical journal Audimat.
Much of Purgas’s recent work has been rooted in research he undertook at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad. The city was well-known as a centre for developing ideas that came from modernism in the fields of design and technology during the 1950s and 1960s. Purgas wanted to research the history of an electronic music studio set up at NID by the New York composer and pianist David Tudor. Purgas discovered that a Moog synthesiser had made its way to the studio via connections forged by Gita Sarabhai, who had studied with John Cale and was a prominent local family. In the archives he found a set of reel to reel tapes made by a series of unknown composers made using the Moog between 1969 to 1973 - India's lost electronic music scene.
Purgas's subsequent research to find the composers of this fed into the BBC Radio 3 documentary 'Electronic India' that aired in 2020. Purgas has subsequently drawn on it for his exhibition 'We Found Our Own Reality' which was first presented at part of Brent2020 in association with Camden Art Centre and developed as a solo exhibition at Tramshed, Glasgow in 2021.
Paul Purgas is currently based at Somerset House Studios in London. Recent exhibitions and performances include his solo institutional show ‘Scattered Fire’ at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna (2022); his solo show ‘We Found Our Own Reality’, Tramway, Glasgow(2021); Art Night 2021, Transmediale, Berlin (2020), Spike Island, Bristol (2019), Cork Street, London (2018), South London Gallery, London (2018), Art Night London (2017), and Serpentine Gallery, London (2016).
CTM 2023 – Portals'We Found Our Own Reality' January 27, 2023»We Found Our Own Reality« examines the cultural, political, and post-colonial echoes of South Asia’s avant-garde sonic pioneers, proposing an alternative reading of Modernist history...Read more
Paul Purgas performance at Nottingham ContemporaryCaves, Dwellings & Vibration December 11, 2022Caves, Dwellings & Vibration is conceived as a sensorial exchange across research, mediation and performance highlighting Nottingham’s extraordinary condition as a city built on a...Read more
'Scattered Fire' at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, ViennaJune 24, 2022The exhibition Scattered Fire considers a 1921 public reading of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore’s mystic play The King of the Dark Chamber ( 1910...Read more
New Music BiennalePaul Purgas commissioned to create new work June 1, 2022As part of the New Music Biennial 2022, Supersonic have commissioned sound artist and musician Paul Purgas to create a new work with tape. In...Read more