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Apologue and Archaeology

Apologue and Archaeology

September 7, 2017 – October 7, 2017

Artworks in Exhibition

Visual Archives are dynamic and have a varying relationship to each other. Reprographic or photographic truth can be interpreted in a variety of manners which change with technology. Textual interpretation is also variable as it is a question of personal choice, based
on documents and assumptions or analysis. Here, I am particularly interested in seeing how idea and thoughts change when visual appearance is transformed by means of technology. This can create a new document or narrative, which becomes another viewpoint from
which to approach the same material. At this point, I use my own artistic vantage point to intervene and bring a new language to the isolated archival material. My perspective is not one of argumentation based on facts and truth, but a psychological interpretation of
archival material using an artistic vocabulary. It also an attempt to investigate the hidden journey of visual vocabulary and its excavation process, which may shed new light on history by moving away from words and explanations. I find there generally tends to be a gap between visual studies and textual studies. The powerful language of words and historical content can create a
distance between artistic expressions and strict theory based practice. The authenticity of theory and authorship is a deeply personal approach but we also need to use archaeological excavation, myth and archival materials, including visuals. These ideas emerged as I looked at my large collection of old books and journals. They contain a wide range of visual references to time all dealing with the same subject. Rapid changes in reprographic systems tend to exacerbate this sensation. Looking closely, I notice how different photographic lenses
create a new language of photography which then leads to a new range of interpretations. My archive consists mainly of books [1920 – 2000] including different editions of the same book. It was built from a selective and unselective personal collection and was
later expanded by the inclusion of some institutional collections, or contributions from scholars. The journey of collecting taught me to look in great detail at a collection, noting the manner in which pages are marked with comments, notes, underlining or in many other
ways. We can also notice how the process of studying a text, and even the value attributed to it, changes over
time. Needless to say, this is process by which history is created on the basis of knowledge and assumption. But history needs to open the door to everybody of every generation, and new readings can reveal other perspectives. It cannot be based solely on personal assumption, which could be an acceptable approach at a second stage. In this context, I must say that it is important to understand images in their own right and the way they represent the development of an artistic mind. Words or critical text create a gap with the visual
vocabulary of artistic language. This exhibition is a series of works without individual titles, and explores the process I am engaged with, an exploration of history and archives, which I call Apologue and Archaeology. I must admit the truth of Wilhelm Worringer’s words in
Abstraction and Empathy: ‘Methodology in the case of art making is very trivial, and may not always be expressed meticulously’. And in this context -“The form of an object is always its being formed by me, by my inner activity. It is a fundamental fact of all psychology,
and most certainly of all aesthetics”,.
Samit das
2017 New Delhi


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