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Dayanita Singh, "Let’s See", 2021 © Dayanita Singh
Dayanita Singh

Dancing with my Camera

For four decades, Dayanita Singh (b. 1961, New Delhi) has developed a body of work distinguished by her genre-defying approach of photography, one that pushes the limits of the medium and the boundaries of how we experience images. Dancing with my Camera, the most important exhibition dedicated to the artist to date, spans the entirety of her oeuvre, from her first photographic project devoted to the musical universe of the percussionist Zakir Hussain (b. 1951, Bombay) up until her most recent works, including Let’s See (2021), inspired by the format of contact sheets. A testament to the formal inventiveness that characterises Singh’s work, the exhibition also highlights the artist’s singular perspective on themes such as the archive, music, dance, architecture, disappearance, gender and friendship.

Photography, far from being a fixed image, constitutes a ‘raw material’ for Singh: a point of departure, in which the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of the shot matter less than the impression it arouses in the moment it is experienced, in relation to other images. According to a unique editing process that attaches great importance to intuition, the artist culls images from her archives that she then combines and reinterprets, resulting in temporary assemblages wherein various periods, places, figures, architectures, objects and motifs intermingle fluidly. Singh is notably recognised for her books, which represent an essential part of her practice and which she views as exhibition spaces in their own right. Here she experiments with different forms of photographic presentation, animated by her interest in the capacity for books to circulate in time and space, and the privileged, intimate relationship they establish to the reader.

In the early 2010s, Singh began incorporating her images into mobile wooden structures – what she describes as ‘photo-architectures’ – allowing her to exploit to its fullest potential a conception of photography based on montage and the narrative possibilities offered by the juxtaposition of images. This approach notably gave rise to the creation of a series of ‘museums’, such as the File Museum (2012), the Museum of Chance (2013), and the Museum of Tanpura (2021). These can be organised in different configurations, allowing for a rapid rearrangement of the constellation of images and space. They combine the principles of the archive and the exhibition and invite viewers to move freely – or ‘dance’ – around them to experience the images.

Biography
Dayanita Singh (b. 1961, New Delhi) has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2021); Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (2017); Tate Modern, London (2017); Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Bombay (2016); Fondazione MAST, Bologna (2016); Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi (2015); the Art Institute of Chicago (2014) and the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London (2013). In 2022, Singh was the recipient of the Hasselblad Award, and, in 2018, the International Centre of Photography Infinity Award. Her work is part of the collections of institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; K21–Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and SFMOMA, San Francisco. She lives and works in Delhi.

Credits

Location:
Mudam Galleries Level 0
Within the framework of the:
  • 9th edition of the European Month of Photography Luxembourg

Curator:
  • Stephanie Rosenthal

Curator of the presentation at Mudam:
  • Christophe Gallois, assisted by Clémentine Proby

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Hatje Cantz, available in German and English.

The exhibition Dayanita Singh. Dancing with my Camera is organised by the Gropius Bau in collaboration with Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, the Villa Stuck, Munich and the Serralves Museum, Porto. It is presented on the occasion of the 9th edition of the European Month of Photography Luxembourg.