PERFORMANCE (Studio 2)
A photograph embodies the entirety of an experience – it is the document of a life lived, a pleasure enjoyed, a moment performed. Its subjects do not remain static objects, but contain within themselves a lively tension; a tension that is only magnified with viewing, with engagement, with understanding, and with acceptance. The photographers here prepare us for a moment of flux, a limbo in time where aspirations begin faltering, where confusions start arising, where existential despair knocks on the door of wants and desires.
Surekha’s series of photographs in Not to be seen (2008) exteriorise internal conflicts and explosive struggles. Her heavily garlanded body – draped in jasmine flowers – locates itself as a sight of contestation, appropriation, and emotional turbulence. The image, a delicate examination of the precarious lives of women, presents a sensual and intimate environment that is at once accessible, and undeniably distanced from the viewer. This jarring dissonance is heavily pronounced in Madhu Das’ practice. It is a visual language wherein his body establishes an improvisational relationship with his immediate social and natural surroundings. Weaving itself across mythic as well as historical time, Das’ approach narrates an asynchronous understanding of irony and reality, contemplating on material cultures and our presence in a natural and preternatural world that stand overburdened with excavation and exploitation. His intense allegorical and linguistic turns resonate with Vivek Vilasini’s large-format photograph Before one shore and several others (After Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam) (2009). In his whimsically grand presentation, Vilasini translates our prevalent social structures into contemplative expressions of aspirations and conflicts. His visuality challenges a global scene that remains constantly shifting; an all-encompassing chimaera that is delicately balanced on ideologies and racial societies. It is a variable and unpredictable motion that peaks with Nikhil Chopra’s photograph from the Yog Raj Chitrakar series; a motion blur that disorients our understanding of time and space. Chopra’s body goes beyond the spectral, taking a flight of fancy from the world of permanence into a realm of transience. It is a metaphor of ephemerality, a sign of inopportune tidings. What brave new world are these photographs introducing?