Curator’s Recommendation: Visiting “PARIS-DEHLI-BOMBAY”
As I have a love for an in-betweenness of photography and film, photography has always been a facet for me as frozen film stills. My fascination is particularly in blurring the passage of time, and freezing time in incredible moments only by coincidence— reducing experience into moments of in-betweenness that are mysterious, beautiful, jarring, estranged, and most importantly, anthropologically familiar. If successful, my expectations are that these moments captured should be characteristic of moments we’ve seen before, yet surprise us when we see these undermined moments as points of spotlight.
Encapsulating all of these elements in the PARIS-DEHLI-BOMBAY… exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, I immediately fell in love with the work of artist Dayanita Singh. Upon recommendation, and after becoming acquainted with curator Valentina Levy recently, I had the great privilege to visit the exhibition in coming to know that it conveys the complex socio-politics of the diverse, rising and fresh, Indian sub-continental, contemporary art scene– one of which, for the first time, is at the bridge of a collaborative lens that is both Indian and European, and combines the artistry and scholarship of different perspectives coming altogether specifically in France.
Singh’s photographic series is taken from a book, which, in the state I have not seen, perhaps might have been interesting to see when presented as a read-through, visual, literary narrative that counters the cruciality of sequence— an element I am fascinated by conceptually (as opposed to being displayed on the wall as geometrically-scattered physical divisions). Coming from her book, House of Love… her photographs revisit moments she experienced throughout a single year, and as the relationship between the images feel both cohesive and foreign, light illuminates and sculpts these moments– blurring a line between a literary fiction and experiential reality. In exploring my own cultural roots as a Bengali-American artist, it is in this way the contemporary India, as poetically depicted by Singh, is mysterious and full of emotion, borders the intimate, tremendously inspirational, and disturbingly familiar.