In the summer of 1999 I made my first experiment in photography, fixing the votive eyes I had been installing on walls up until now, on my own body. This did not come about in a planned studio context, but as a ritualistic action in the domestic space one morning. I glued the eyes on my palms, recalling the application of 'mehndi' in the spirit of 'bhakti' and 'shringar', but also as a contemporary performance gesture involving ambiguous move vents. My friend C K Rajan, an amateur photographer, was roped into shooting; following my instructions on the frame and the light I wanted. This was almost a banal exercise for me as the 'subject' and the 'auteur', until I had the processed negative and contact sheet in my hands. Then, the marvel, magic and materiality of photography was revealed to me in a moment I will never forget. This was about discovering for myself, my particular relationship with photography, outside its anthropological, documentary, journalistic, advertisement moorings.
- Anita Dube
Digital print 29 x 45 inches (3 works)
Silver gelatin print on paper
14 x 85.5 in (35.6 x 217.2 cm) 14 x 9.5 inches
Edition 3/ 10
Remembering Eklavya connects to another story. While Bhishma was teaching Archery to the Kaurava and Pandava princes, a lower caste boy Eklavya, was observing these lessons from behind the bushes. When the time came to test their skills, an open competition was held in which Eklavya defeated the princes. Even a great teacher like Bhishma could not let this pass: as guru dakshina he asked Eklavya to cut off his thumb, so that he would never compete with the princes. A framing accident had cut off my thumb in the shoot! This triggered the memory of the story. At the point and place of the 'cut', the image could be 'joined' to itself again and again- another beautiful accident! The initial doubling' became a multiplication of the same image- a fascinating undecipherable script- a celebration of collectivity and marginality; at that very site of exclusion.
59 inches x 79 inches
Edition 3/5 + AP
Sea creature simply enjoys the act of doubling – the expansion of its energy – its fission, its marine other worldliness –its sculptural qualities.
Three Gelatin Silver Prints
29 x 45 inches each x 3 works
Recognizes (philosophically and materially), the first trace of a photograph on the negative. That intermediary, luminal ground through which every analog photograph must pass- like a rite of passage. The eye travels through the white void inside the open mouth; then through the carnal grip of hunger that bites into it; and then, via this negative terrain, emerges as the luminous moon inside the mouth. In the photographic negative, the black of the pupil appears white. Such chance elements are the djinns that release fantastic suggestions and stories.... One such story is while Krishna was narrating the 'Gita' to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, he sensed Arjuna's doubt. At that point he opened his mouth and the whole cosmos (brahmand) was visible inside.