Fat in Space
Text by Pranab Man Singh
Insecurity is a powerful social motivator. It occupies the boundary between the personal and public. It shapes the interaction between individuals and the world. Our insecurities, in this sense, are constantly changing and adapting to the world around us. In the series titled (Im)Perfect Me, Karma Tshering Gurung delves into the signs and symbols that shape the insecurities and anxieties that individuals feel about themselves. The personal is used as a metaphor for how the body is sometimes extraneous to the inner workings of the mind. Photography is used to visualize the shadows and reflections of transient judgements and dreams.
Gurung explores the layers of discontentment he has with his own body starting from an external observation of his body moving towards an inward exploration of his state of being. The potato that he takes on as a symbol appears to embody the negativity that comes with being identified as ‘fat’ but its ubiquitous use in all our meals allows it to shed this image to be a provider that is average, normal and mundane.
Gurung’s photos delve into the life of objects too and how the photographer/subject begins to represent a larger concern or predicament. In some settings, the same fatness can represent prosperity, wealth and contentment. In others, it may fizzle away into nothingness or be a metaphor of dead weight. The photos and his body are public displays of his comfort within a given space. As Gurung enters into the private space of his room and then his mind, he allows us to explore how these insecurities can take on forms of compliance and resistance. Personalities and emotions are never binary, they are stretched across a wide canvas of multiple possibilities. Our insecurities are both gender specific and of gender itself, they are extended between public definitions and private desires.
They form a malleable and permeable personal landscape that is in constant flux, in reaction to both the external spaces and internal thoughts that preside over us. Gurung’s photo set depicts this range through diffusive, jittery and surreal images, in contrast to moments of clarity in others. It therefore also suggests the innate ability for images to make meaning beyond biography and pedantic definitions.
All images from the series (Im)Perfect Me
Kathmandu, August 2015 Digital