Matter Show // Wednesday March 20th 2013 // Bharat Sikka
Presented in association with Gallery Nature Morte.
Filmed by Evren Dsouza and Sushil Chugani
Matter features a series of images in a variety of formats that blend studio, street, landscape and portrait photography into a portrait of the “new” India, an ancient culture slamming up against contemporary realities. The site of rapid change brought on by globalisation and breakneck development, India is searching for its identity – trying on new ones, uneasily inhabiting traditional ones, and shedding old ones like masks. Sikka’s images explore this mercurial identity from his own very personal perspective: urban, educated, middle-class and self-conscious. The palette of Matter is doggedly reductive; eschewing India’s clichéd bright hues, Sikka works only in blacks, greys, whites and silvers.
Sikka does not shy away from exposing every side of India’s uneven visual topography. All beautifully composed, the photographs show moments of brooding and alienation, moments of sheer energy, moments of teenage irreverence and moments of macabre allure. Mixing high and low, Sikka also pits the natural against the artificial: the peaks of the Himalayas are echoed in the folds and creases of a plastic sheet, while the unsettling gleam of a plastic-masked figure contrasts with the sensuous portraits of young men and women.
“Matter is a visual record of the many things that come my way. From photographing the ordinary, to the dead and the alive, these images constitute things that evoke an impulsive emotion in me. They do not only merely determine the state of my mind, but also challenge the way I perceive my surroundings. Each of these images has their own story or perhaps none at all. From an impetuous decision of jotting a word down, to rather lifting my camera and making that picture, I am writing and making notes while also making images.”
- Bharat Sikka