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Images and irony

Images and irony
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First Published: Thu, Sep 10 2009. 01 15 AM IST

Piyau by Udit Kulshrestha
Piyau by Udit Kulshrestha
Updated: Thu, Sep 10 2009. 12 31 PM IST
These are everyday scenes. You’ve seen them on your way to work in the mornings or on a long car ride that takes you through far-flung suburbs. Yet, the photographs at Gallery Ragini’s Juvenilia Juxtaposed exhibition make you stop and smile. They highlight the abounding irony in our daily environment, and explore how phenomenon such as capitalism and modernization have only touched the surface of our social fabric, creating amusing juxtapositions.
Click here to watch a slideshow on different urban moods
A village boy takes a break from the buffalo he was herding by posing in a pair of Rayban sunglasses; an antiquated nook hosts a clock that symbolically evokes progress; and Bollywood kitsch forms the backdrop for McDonald’s French fries.
Piyau by Udit Kulshrestha
Nidhi Jain, director, Gallery Ragini shares that she was looking for spontaneous images that capture the eccentricities of the world we live in. “Photography is an integral part of contemporary art. One often comes across situations, which once captured, create a story or a statement in itself. We asked participating artists to capture the irony in their surroundings.”
The photographers range from novices such as Ashok Paul, who presently works as ace photographer Raghu Rai’s assistant to more established shutterbugs such as Udit Kulshreshtha and Bandeep Singh. The others in the group are Ajay Rajgarhia, Anshika Varma, Laurent Goldstein, Sunando Mazumdar and Sephi Bergerson. They will show around 40 photographs in all, printed on archival paper of different sizes.
The photographs are a mix of those that were shot as per the exhibition’s brief as well as ones previously taken that fitted with the show’s theme. Kulshreshtha shares that he looked up the word ‘juvenilia’ on the internet when Jain sent him the brief. “It was open to interpretation. So I decided to show some images that work with ‘juvenilia’ and some that take the word ‘juxtaposed’ quite literally.”
‘Juvenilia’ is a term applied to literary, musical or artistic works produced by an artist during his or her youth. Since most of the photographers are mature professionals and the works are recent, Jain shares that the title was intended to convey the youthful and impromptu nature of the works instead. “I didn’t want something overbaked or contrived. The idea was to see, to smile, to photograph and to show.”
The wide range of participants ensures that the audience gets to see and smile at motley environments. While Sephi Bergerson, with a background in advertising, mostly focuses on lifestyle and food photography, young artist Anshika Varma’s photographs deal with street and city life. Her photographs titled Spazio Lotte, Blue Book Invocation and Frozen display the need to preserve the changing nature of cities and customs. Says Anshika: “An artist tells a story, not just by what she creates or captures but also by what she chooses not to. In my photographs, you will see a lone fruit seller fighting to survive an armada of refrigerated convenience stores, a local teeth maker standing against an onslaught of corporate healthcare, a hole-in-the-wall tailor pitting his skills against an army of international label, and the struggle between faith and a religion of brands.” On the other hand, Kulshreshta’s photographs such as Time, Glamour Stories and Parked and Washed explain the artist’s nostalgic mindset while he traveled though Baroda, Mathura and Old Delhi.
The photographs are priced starting at Rs10,000.
Juvenilia Juxtaposed will show at Gallery Ragini, F-213 C, Lado Sarai, New Delhi from 9-26 September 2009
anindita.g@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Sep 10 2009. 01 15 AM IST