Monday, May 6, 2013

A photo artist who frames pervasive silence of the night

Mumbai-based Chatterjee & Lal and Delhi-based Photoink recently under a gallery exchange program hosted exhibitions in both the cities. The two have already collaborated on several projects previously, out of a common interest in previously overlooked and historic material.

In keeping with the core theme of Mumbai, ‘The city’ – the Focus Festival – the latter presented a show, entitled ‘Works from Noida: Soliloquy & Sleepers (2007 – 2012) by photo-artist Dhruv Malhotra. Terming him ‘a chronic insomniac who has photographed mostly the night, an accompanying note states that his pointed intention to reveal what’s concealed in the shadows of darkness set them apart.

It adds: “In ‘Noida Soliloquy’, the experience of the night is not obscured or made mysterious. Instead, the photographs made with long exposures, appear almost like day and surreal. It is in this visible darkness that attention shifts to the anatomy of an aspiring metropolis and its in‐between spaces. It was while wandering through the streets and parks of Noida he photographed the sleeping figures he stumbled upon.”

Dhruv Malhotra (b.1985) grew up in Jaipur. He majored in Economics from Mumbai University in 2006. Being chronically unable to sleep at night, he wanders the streets with his Mamiya 6 x 7 and a sturdy tripod. His work focuses on urban areas and cities at night and engages with issues of progress, modernity and the otherworldly. His first solo exhibition, Noida Soliloquy was held at Photoink in 2010. Photographs from his second series, Sleepers were included in a group exhibition at the Hyères Festival, France in 2010, where he was awarded a year‐long residency by the School of Visual Arts, New York.

The desire to photograph ‘sleepers’ made him to go beyond Noida as he began seeking them everywhere he went. If photographs from ‘Noida Soliloquy’ were largely marked by the absence of people, ‘Sleepers’ is defined by their presence. The binding thread is the pervasive silence of the night. It’s as a much a commentary about urban life in India as much as it is a self‐reflection of a photographer, who found himself, as he reveals, “Drifting through life without purpose, waiting for an awakening of dormant potential.’’

No comments:

Post a Comment