Friday, March 22, 2013

Images of 'new' India

‘Matter’ is a new series by photographer Bharat Sikka, featuring images in diverse formats, which blend studio, street, landscape and portrait photography. They present today’s India, amalgamating an ancient culture and contemporary realities.

The palette of ‘Matter’ on view at at Mumbai's Mehboob Studio courtesy Nature Morte is doggedly reductive; eschewing India's clichéd bright hues, he limits himself to blacks, greys, whites and silvers. Sikka does not shy away from exposing every side of India's uneven visual topography.

Bharat Sikka, born in 1973, completed a BFA degree at Parson's School of Design in New York In 2002. Solo exhibitions of his works have been held at Nature Morte in New Delhi (2009) and Berlin (2011), Bose Pacia Kolkata (2007), Otto Zoo in Milan and the National Museum in New Delhi (2008), Project 88 in Mumbai and the Sunaparanta Art Center in Goa (2010).

Sikka travels widely from his home in New Delhi, working as a photographer for numerous projects. His work has been published in prestigious newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, GQ, Vogue India, Vogue Hommes International, I-D Magazine, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and he has been a contributor to the Incredible India campaign.

All beautifully composed, the new photographs show moments of brooding and alienation, moments of sheer energy, moments of teenage irreverence and moments of macabre allure. Mixing high and low, he pits the natural against the artificial: the peaks of the Himalayas are echoed in the folds and creases of a plastic sheet, while the unsettling gleam of a masked figure contrasts with the sensuous portraits of young men and women.

The photographer adds, “From photographing the ordinary, to the dead and the alive, these images constitute things that evoke an impulsive emotion in me. They do not only merely determine my state of my mind, but also challenge the way I perceive my surroundings. Each of these images has their own story or perhaps none at all. From an impetuous decision of jotting a word down, to rather lifting my camera and making that picture, I am writing and making notes while also making images.”

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