View India: Contemporary Photography and Lens-based Art from India

Anisha Baid

What interests me about photography is how the camera becomes a prosthetic for the body and mind, and how each photography is a micro-archive in and of itself – Arshad Hakim (View India catalogue)

View India was an exhibition conceived and installed by Landskrona Foto at the Landskrona Museum in Sweden between June-September 2019. The exhibition, curated by writer Niclas Östlind and photo-historian Niyatee Shinde, brought together works by nineteen young photographers and lens-based artists from India, after conducting research trips within the country.

In conversation with curator Niclas Östlind, who speaks about his interest in photography and his curatorial process alongside exhibition views of the show. September 2019.

In many ways the exhibition was a unique investigation of emergent contemporary photography practices from the region, one that revised and renewed established pedagogical narratives encountered through well-known artists; and which also provided viable alternatives to the private gallery world within the subcontinent. The show featured many emerging practitioners with new-and-analogue media practices, thinking through what the place of lens-based art is today. This included the exploration of a diverse range of practices – from documentary and staged photography – to more experimental, inter-media projects which challenged the place of the still image.

I am not the kind of photographer who already has an image in my head. I always set out on a new project with a bunch of questions, trying to look for answers in the photographs I make and invariably end up with a whole new set of questions – Gayatri Ganju

Accompanying the exhibition, the Landskrona Museum published a catalogue with Koenig Books (London), presenting interviews with all 19 artists in the exhibition, along with other professionals from the region, with the stated mandate to reconsider legitimate voices from the contemporary, to find connections between local histories and the global use of photography, and to document ‘different aspects of life in India today.’ The artists featured included: Ajit Bhadoria, Anushree Fadnavis, Anisha Baid, Anoop Ray, Apoorva Guptay, Arshad Hakim, Chandan Gomes, Cheena Kapoor, Chinar Shah, Gayatri Ganju, Nihaal Faizal, Ram Krishna Ranjan, Ritesh Uttamchandani, Saumya Khandelwal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, SL Shant Kumar, Vaibhav Bhardwaj, Venkatesan Peevee Perumal and Vivek Mariappan.

View India Catalog, 1 of 12 covers

Ritesh Uttamchandani, From the series After-Life, 2010

Anoop Ray, Untitled from the series Friend and their Friends, 2015

Nihaal Faizal, From the film Mohammed Rafi Fan Blog, 2017

Arshad Hakim, On Refrain, Set of 19 Images, 2015

…and the street has a mind of its own – it is a living entity and deserves respect. With patience and humility, one has to continue with the process. The reward is in the process, not the photograph – Apoorva Guptay

The exhibition was also supplemented by a symposium at the University of Gothenburg, organised by Valand Academy, Hasselblad Foundation, and Landskrona Foto, titled Post Photography: Histories, Geographies and Contemporary Challenges, which included speakers: Ravi Agarwal, Rahaab Allana, Nihaal Faizal, Chinar Shan, Anisha Baid, Klara Källström, Thobias Fäldt, Ram Krishna Ranjan, Tyrone Martinsson and Karl-Magnus Johansson.

The symposium concluded with a panel discussion and exhibition of alternative publishing practices from India and Sweden at an experimental, exhibitionary space, FG2, hosted by B-B-B-Books. FG2 is exhibition project formed by architect Per Nadén, artists Klara Källström & Thobias Fäldt that takes place at Föreningsgatan 2 in Gothenburg. For each exhibition, an artist or institution is invited to collaborate and for which Johannes Wahlström writes an accompanying essay.

B-B-B-Books is a publishing platform that engages in methods of narration and visual culture. It was founded in Stockholm in 2011 by visual artists Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt together with designers 1:2:3.

On view  were publications by artists and collectives.

What follows are two conversations with the Publisher of Reliable Copy as well as B-B-B-Books, exploring the landscape of artist publishing, its challenges and its importance in the sphere of lens-based practices.

Reliable Copy is an independent, non-profit publishing house dedicated to the realisation and circulation of works, projects, and writing by artists, founded by artist Nihaal Faizal in 2018.

In addition to its publications Reliable Copy also undertakes research projects, organises workshops, hosts lectures, and curates exhibitions.

A conversation with artist/publisher Nihaal Faizal, along with images from Reliable Copy’s publications and archives. September 2019.

B-B-B-Books‘ projects focus on the production of knowledge, exploring media issues, historical narratives, and the depiction and perception of political events. Over the years, B-B-B-Books has produced a number of works relating to places undergoing paradigmatic changes and seeks to activate historical layers and notions of uncertainty and chance in order to draw attention to the gap between what is visible and what is told.

A conversation with visual artists Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt, along with images of various publications from BBB Books. September 2019.

The advantage of the medium is that it is a lonely person’s indulgence. Photography gives me the space to just be with myself – Saumya Khandelwal


Interviews conducted by Rahaab Allana

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