Dayanita Singh may take photographs but she is most definitely an artist before she is a photographer – a fact which the Hayward Gallery seem to be acutely aware of in their new exhibition of her work entitled GO AWAY CLOSER.
The gallery has created a refreshingly-open minded environment in which to experience her art, which leaves the viewer to create their own context; there are no captions to accompany the images in the show and, hung as many of them are in a large open room, visitors are free to view them and to flick through her books in whichever order they like. The show also includes a new body of work called Museum Bhavan which consists of a series of eight “portable museums” created to house some of the different themes which run throughout Dayanita’s work, and within which she will rearrange her photographs throughout the course of the exhibition.
And the photographs are stunning. Exploring themes from industrial machinery to the life of her friend the eunuch Mona Ahmed, each is imbued with her intense awareness of light and a boundary-pushing investigation of photography as a medium.
It must be quite a challenge to create an exhibition for an artist whose work resists traditional methods of display, but the Hayward have done an admirable job.
GO AWAY CLOSER by Dayanita Singh will be at the Hayward Gallery from October 8 until December 15.