In ‘Dream Villa’, Dayanita Singh’s forthcoming show on the insides and outsides of Indian family homes, night — the raw material of painters and poets — is lit by neons, crisscrossed by wires, smells of alleyways. The moon is mere ornamentation.
When Dayanita allows it inside her frames in the 38-photo series, it seems to play strange tricks. At no point of time is it allowed to outshine a bulb.
In 2009, Dayanita had shot industrial landscapes with the colour blue. Is ‘Dream Villa’ an extension of her interest in the ‘expressions’ of light at night? Is ‘Dream Villa’ so named to evoke an opposite set of emotions? To hint at the lie that sits inside all ‘dream homes’?
“Dream Villa,” says the artist, “is what you make of it. There is no strict message here. The sequence you see is not the sequence of the hang. The pictures will be hung like small novellas and short stories for you to piece together. I just present the clues. All I can say is that ‘Dream Villa’ is a landscape that exists in my head. It comes alive at night when the night transforms what is ordinary by day… I never know where I will find it but I know it as soon as I see it. It is not bound by location. Madrid can lead to Madurai… There is no solace here, everything is topsy turvy. The world is not what it seems to be.”