Dayanita Singh’s work occupies a unique place within the photographic tradition. Singh works with the medium of photography but always tries to push its limits through her conceptual and performative approach.
Over the past forty years, Singh has captured numerous subjects in her mostly black and white photographs. They reflect her longstanding preoccupation with music, the transformation of Indian society, friendships, gender roles, and much else. Still, Singh is never concerned with the individual image, but rather with the way relationships develop among photographs.
Dayanita Singh sees herself as an “offset artist,” meaning an artist whose work is dissemination. Her early series of works developed as book projects. In publications she combines her images into specific narratives, with the turning of the pages being a way of keeping the images moving. The books themselves also keep moving: as mobile objects they can be carried into any space.
Over time and especially through her exploration of the medium of the exhibition, she has developed a series of modular display structures that make it easy to switch images, while at the same time relating them spatially to one another and to viewers. She calls these flexible structures “museums.” They contain numerous images that can be presented in ever new constellations. The individual components are movable, depending on which parts are supposed to be visible; photographs not shown are kept inside. The museums thus carry their own art depot within themselves. Singh frequently uses (suit-)cases to transport her museums, thereby underscoring the central role of movement in her work—both as a theme and as a reflection of the many different approaches to art and forms of dissemination and presentation of her work.
In the exhibition, ambassadors activate selected museums at regular intervals. This means that the modular structures themselves as well as individual photographs will repeatedly be moved and rearranged. As a result, the exhibition will keep changing over the weeks and present itself afresh to visitors.