When renowned architecture historian Andreas Volwahsen came to India in the ’60s, he was treading an unfamiliar path. He was then working on his books on Indian architecture (Living Architecture: Islamic India and Living Architecture: India), a subject that has puzzled and even challenged many westerners in the past.
But Volwahsen managed to capture some beautiful images of architectural masterpieces across the country, that too in great detail, in order to study and later illustrate in his books. These pictures are now being displayed by a photography organisation, Tasveer, as independent works in an exhibition called Living Architecture.
Rather than merely posing as a tourist attraction, Volwahsen’s pictures help the viewer understand the design and geometry of early Indian constructions. Talking about the show, Volwahsen says, “It is difficult for a European to find the right approach to Indian architecture. Even parallels with modern architecture soon prove wholly misleading, and one seeks familiar guidelines from European buildings, or at least looks for points of comparison. In India, one is overwhelmed by the immense wealth of forms, of decorative ornament and sculpture — this makes it all the more delightful to penetrate these externals, and inquire into the canons and laws
that governed ancient Indian architects.”
Nathaniel Gaskell, creative director, Tasveer, believes that Volwahsen’s focus on geometric forms and patterns is evident from his modernist, high contrast and black-and-white approach. “Visitors at the exhibition can expect to rediscover ancient Indian monuments, photographed in a unique and interesting way by one of the true authorities of Indian architecture,” he says.
Catch the exhibition from December 2 to 10, 10 am to 7 pm at Institute of Contemporary Indian Art, Kala Ghoda