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Imagined Documents, an alternate reality through a curated photography show

STIR @ SAF 2019
STIRring conversations at SAF’19 (Part 3): Ravi Agarwal takes STIR through the works of handpicked artists who work with staged photographs, at the Serendipity Arts Festival.

by Rahul KumarPublished on : Jan 24, 2020

Art historian Tom Gunning uses the term 'truth claim' to describe the prevalent belief that traditional photographs actually depict accurate realities. But do they? Doesn’t a photograph capture a limited frame that is different from what the eye would see, excluding things or putting subjects out of context? Ravi Agarwal takes this one step forward by curating a show titled Imagined Documents, where he weaves together works from artists who use staged photography as the format of choice.

"Looking at the staged-photograph that flits between reality and fiction, the show aims to focus on works that employ various sorts of strategies and techniques to tell their story. These could involve recreating scenes from memory, constructing elaborate sets or telling personal encounters," says Agarwal, who himself has an inter-disciplinary practice as an artist, photographer, environmental campaigner, writer and curator.

Constructed spaces often utilise found objects, but always re-constructed and re-imagined as conceptual narratives. The ensemble includes Sharbendu De, Prajakta Potnis, Azadeh Akhlaghi, Dia Mehta Bhupal, Bani Abidi, Munem Wasif, and Yamini Nayar. For them, the objects and characters are what paint is to a painter.

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