Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Where Three Dreams Cross

Still from Charly Nijensohn's short film 'Dead Forest'

Visited the Whitechapel Gallery on Sunday to see their new exhibition 'Where Three Dreams Cross' showing a collection of 150 years of photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

On attending a lecture at Chelsea regarding the subject of Orientalism I was intrigued to see how the show would fit together and how heavily it was influenced by our western culture. Photography is arguably the most obvious medium of cultural imperialism as the rise of colonialism corresponded to the rise of photography. As photography was a western invention it is easy to see how the camera could act as a bias form of cultural representation.
The exhibition, however, was a refreshing insight into the culture of these south asian countries.
On reflection I feel as though this is largely due to the way the exhibition was hung. Instead of the curators hanging the show chronologically by country it was divided up into portrait, family, body, performance, streets and politics. This removed a sense of a detatched western approach and instead gave it a deep insightful perspective.

Overall I feel this exhibition is an interesting comprehension of south asian culture, far more successful than the c
urrent exhibition at The Saatchi- The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today. The Saatchi exhibition though 'fun' and eye-catching fails to strike a deeper note with the viewer, almost stopping short at a bright aesthetic gimmick.

Searching for.... Charly Nijensohn- 'Dead Forest' My absolute favourite piece from the 'Where Three Dreams Cross' was Nijensohn's short film 'Dead Forest'. (See first image) This hauntingly powerful piece had me fixated until the very end. It depicts a dark figure floating on top of some wood in a vast, desolate forest staring bleakly out into the distance. This intensely powerful film is an important reminder of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in relation to vastly spreading issue of over consumerism.

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