EXCAVATING REALITIES

A collection of works by Uday Dhar, Gautam Bhatia, Tarun Jung Rawat, Falguni Gokhale, Gallery Art & Soul

Mumbai 17 Dec -17 Jan, 2013

…since knowledge of reality is based upon the distinction between real images and unreal images, and since this distinction does not at the first moment exist, these intuitions would in truth not be intuitions either of the real or unreal, not perceptions, but pure intuitions. Where all is real nothing is real. (Croce 1922)

Oxford English Dictionary reads the definition of reality as, “the quality of being real or having an actual existence”. Moving away from the essential terminology of reality, in the present times, we lead to the world of semiotics, signs and signifiers, which in itself questions the monolithic meaning of reality. Frederic Jameson (1990) argues that the “world with an unreality and a free floating absence of ‘the referent’” is a product of late capitalism and mass reproduction. Similarly with the advent of media technology we are forced to challenge the conventional meaning of reality, thereby we are given three types of realities: Surrealism, Hyper reality and Augmented reality.

Before discussing the three realities, it becomes primary focus to first talk about the process of subverting reality. The subversion of reality opens the space of odd juxtaposition of symbols and unorthodox understanding of the meanings attached to the symbols. The symbols in arts, under the canopy of subverting reality, embellish the narratives of reality only to disrupt the hitherto established interpretations. Thereby, the viewer occupies the center stage to interpret the unsaid meaning. The term Surreal was coined by the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, which works on the Freudian notions of dreams, ego, superego and id. The artistic and literary movement opens the world of dreams where chance and spontaneity play supreme roles. The surreal reality is feast of unconscious. Hyper reality instigates the debate between reality and representations. The debate reinforces an environment where the distinctions reality/imaginary is constantly imploded. Lastly, living in virtual world adds impetus to the virtual augmentation of reality. An existence in virtual world is governed by the dictates of the computer. This interaction between real world and virtual augmentation generates the composite view which becomes the final reality for the user.

When art is a product of this multiple realities, it proposes multitude of social meanings and onus lies on us to ‘excavate’ reality. This interdependence between social reality and art(s) suggests that the latter tells ‘us’ about ourselves as ‘our’ interpretation of the art (Baudrillard 1996). Hence, the reality is no more singularly given to the viewer but we ‘excavate’ reality from the plural realities.

I invited a group of diverse artists to represent their respective notions of reality. It is a sheer coincidence that two of the artists in the exhibition, Uday Dhar, and Gautam Bhatia trained as architects, and the other two Flaguni Gokhale and Tarun Rawat trained as graphic designers and four of them are practicing fine artists. Thus their excavations into reality follow their personal trajectories which are as diverse as the topography they come from.

New Delhi based Gautam Bhatia is subverting realities in a futuristic landscape. New York based Uday Dhar is looking at reality within a postmodern mapping where any issue, mapping of problems, and then finding solutions from two contradictory positions. “Neither resolution is right, or wrong – a classic post-modern syndrome.”

Pune based Falguni Gokhale views reality within an imaginary painterly reality, and Mumbai based Tarun Rawat places his reality within augmented reality.

Dr. Alka Pande

Winter 2013

Delhi Photo Festival

Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace
1 Copyright- Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace- Curated By Dr. Alka Pande
3 Copyright- Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace- Curated By Dr. Alka Pande
5 Copyright- Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace- Curated By Dr. Alka Pande
2 Copyright- Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace- Curated By Dr. Alka Pande
4 Copyright- Delhi Photo Festival 2013- Grace- Curated By Dr. Alka Pande

The biennial Delhi Photo Festival 2011, an initiative of the India Habitat Centre and Nazar Foundation, brings photography to the realm of public space to create awareness of the democratic discipline. The team of creative directors of Mr. Raj Liberhan, Dr. Alka Pande, Prashant Panjiar and Dinesh Khanna worked to offer first ever festival on photography in India. The inauguration of the festival with the talk and book launch of ‘My Journey As A Witness’ by Shahidul Alam encapsulated the euphoric moods of the participants and initiated a dialogue between many practitioners and lovers.

The two weeks festival with its wide spectrum of activities ranging from print and digital exhibitions, portfolio reviews, workshops, panel discussions to artists talks, addas, evening screenings opened a well desired platform for the dilettante and professional artists. The theme of affinity, though confined to print exhibitions, led the artists to showcase the constant engagement and participation within the workings of larger harmony. The 74 exhibitors hailing from every corner of the world added impetus to the growing debate on the photography as an art form.

In the similar vein, the morning panel discussion and afternoon artists’ talks provided food for thought only to multiply the critical vocabulary of the photography. The festival seeking to transcend the established boundaries of the discipline witnessed the participation of eclectic artists and curators, for instance: Pushpamala N., Diwan Manna, Dayanita Singh, Raghu Rai, Devika Daulat Singh, Samar Jodha, Vidur Jang Bahadur, Nitin Upadhya, Kurt Hoerbst, Prabhuddha Dasgupta, Clare Ami, Ketaki Seth, Swapan Parekh, Sohrab Hura, Sooni Tarporewala, Amit Mehra, Mahesh Bhat, Bob Hewitt, Munem Wasif, Peter Nagy, Matthieu Foss, Pramod Kumar KG, Sam Harris and Pablo Batholomew.