Gallery Espace presents 'An Other Place'

Gallery Espace, An Other Place, Ravi Agarwal

New Delhi: Gallery Espace presents a solo exhibition of recent photographs and a video installation titled 'An Other Place' by Ravi Agarwal from October 1, 2008 to October 21, 2008 at Gallery Espace, 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony, New Delhi.

Art Exhibition previously on in India.
From Wednesday 01 October 2008 to Tuesday 21 October 2008
Launch Wednesday 01 October 2008, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. (IST)

Machine Man 3 (Archival Inkjet Print) image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 25 September 2008.
Contact the publisher.

Gallery Espace presents environmentalist & lensman Ravi Agarwal’s recent photographs depicting hope and despair in Delhi’s changing landscape

New Delhi: Gallery Espace presents a solo exhibition of recent photographs and a video installation titled An Other Place by Ravi Agarwal from October 1, 2008 to October 21, 2008 at Gallery Espace, 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony, New Delhi.

Ravi Agarwal trained as an engineer and works as an environmentalist in the non-governmental sector leading the NGO Toxics Link. As an independent artist, he uses photography as a medium and became a familiar name in the art world when he represented India in the 11th Documenta, Kassel, Germany in 2002. He started wielding camera at the age of 13 and since then it has been a faithful companion to him. His engagement with the movement against ecological and environmental depletion added a new dimension to his photographs. Says the artist: “Photography, which has always been a sustaining and meaningful activity for me (like diary writings) became a medium in itself to further my interest in environment.”

Agarwal is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Immersion, Emergence which showcases the artist’s love for the dying Yamuna and contains prose and photographs taken in and around Yamuna. NGO activism in India generally lacks aesthetic fineness. Rough clothes and disheveled looks, gloomy faces and street players’ fatigue mark them out even in the mass movements. However, Ravi Agarwal’s activism has an aesthetic panache. Besides his activities as a social worker, he captures the visuals from the areas that he passes through. They become aesthetic tools to convey his activist ideas to a different mass.

Says Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace: “From within the gallery walls, Agarwal’s photographs can move towards newer directions and find comrades in arms elsewhere in the world. As an environmentalist, Ravi works tirelessly to suggest constructive ways in which burgeoning ‘development’ in the city can interact with the ‘natural’. As a documentary photographer, Ravi’s focus has been on environmental and labour issues and the changing face of urbanity.”

His earlier work, in the documentary oeuvre, encompasses ‘nature’, ‘work’, ‘labour’ and the ‘street’, while more recent work has been traversing explorations of self and the social and based on questions of nature and ‘personal ecologies.’ ‘An Other Place’ showcases his latest work through a body of photographs and video shot over the past two years. In bringing together the ‘found’ and the ‘constructed’, in the four series of composite images – ‘Urbanscapes’, ‘Mechanical Man’, ‘Machine Man’, Ecology of Desire’ and a video – ‘Oil is not water’, Ravi expands the possibilities offered by the photographic lens. The documentary and the performative collaborate in images that speak of dislocation, the alienation of the self, and the loss contained in uninhibited contemporary urban development. Delhi, the city that Ravi inhabits, seems eager to shed its past in its urgent pursuit of the future. As the city’s richly layered histories are replaced by a temperamental commercial plasticity, Ravi’s images serve as a residue of that which will soon be lost forever. However, the vibrant colours of the natural world seep into these photographs of desolate spaces and abandoned debris converting them into images of hope rather than loss.

‘An Other Place’ offers, as the title suggests, an alternative space, a site that yearns to re-establish relationships with the organic, with that which is less ephemeral, a place where there is the possibility of “rediscovering a personal ecology”.