Looking into old photographs often brings back memories. An exhibition, Mint Condition, that begins today, is one such attempt to tell stories through photographs and videotapes. The only difference is, that viewers can make his/her own interpretations.
The exhibition has been put together by Chatterjee and Lal, Suspect which is a four-member collective of film-makers Ashim Ahluwalia and Shumona Goel, photographers Dale Cannedy Azim and Farhad Bomanjee, and the Kala Ghoda Café.
The 12 photographs and two videos of the show are abandoned or lost negatives, junked prints and moldy videos reclaimed from streets. While some were found on the steps of a church, others were recovered from the debris after a violent storm in Florida. And more fished out of a rainwater gutter in Colaba.
“The works were selected after an extensive edit. The result was a compelling series of diverse images that have endless narrative possibilities,” says Bomanjee. Every scratch and tear on the photographs could tell a new story.
The setting, a disused office space next to Kala Ghoda Café, is as important. “In Mint Condition, there are no individual artists. The images are works of phantom operators — individuals who will forever remain unknown. The show is inspired by India’s inventive but fading culture of recycling and reusing waste. It questions the role of the singular, ‘original’ artist and interrogates him/her as a maker of objects for sale,” explains Bomanjee.
Suspect however believes that the idea of individuality is over-hyped and needs introspection. Individualism is a homogenous idea in itself. Suspect is working in a sonic environment featuring furniture and sounds for the next show.