Mumbai: Exhibition to blend architecture, craft and photography
Dia Mehhta Bhupal blends architecture, craft and photography for her first solo exhibition in Mumbai, showcasing life-size sets
The year 1949 marked the genesis of a constant silent dialogue between a Hungarian photographer and a Swiss-French architect. When Lucien Hervé walked into Unité d'Habitation, a residential project in Marseille developed by Le Corbusier, he walked out with 650 photographs.
Hervé mailed him the pictures, and the reply read, "You have the soul of an architect." Their collaboration lasted until Corbusier's death. It's 2019, and we're staring at artist Dia Mehhta Bhupal's work and are left wondering — how does one capture the soul of their own work? This Wednesday, maybe we'll know the answer and you'll know, too.
A Parson alum, her expertise lies in the art of careful construction. In many ways, she gives metaphors their meaning. Take a close look at any image of her work on this page. Yes, it is an image of a real-life setting photographed by Bhupal, and that's what a viewer will take away with an average five-second viewing.
Stay a bit longer, and textures begin to surface. That's when reality fades away. Each setting — be it the waiting room, gym, or movie theatre — has been handcrafted by Bhupal into a life-sized installation in her Hyderabad studio, using finely-rolled magazine sheets. So, it's not surprising that an installation of a washroom made out of 3,500 building blocks consisting of these sheets turned heads at the 2017 Kochi Biennale. A single set can take her years to make.
Speaking about what influenced her work in an email interview, Bhupal mentions the urban landscape and its transient moments. "I often question how we decipher the world around us. How we connect through the visual, because I feel that it's the images of our subconscious that form our connections with the world. We are constantly bombarded with images, and we might not even register everything we see, but still decipher the elements," she says.
Her process, she states, is reflective and requires her to "multitask between design, craft, architecture and photography" — subjects that are often viewed in isolation in the art world. Bhupal lives and works in Hyderabad, but grew up in Mumbai. And this week she debuts her first solo exhibition aptly titled Watch This Space, with photographs of her work and one live installation.
Inviting the viewer, she adds, "My series corners you to a contemplative experience limiting us (you) to observe, reflect and experience the basic realities." Do we see her process and the paper rolls evolving in future exhibitions? It's hard for Bhupal to tell. "Yes, creativity is limitless...There's never one thing alone that leads me to create work."
Dia Mehhta Bhupal
On January 16 to February 13, 11 am to 6.30 pm
At Pundole's, 368/367, Dariya Building, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
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