Exploring the intricacies of photography

Novel techniques

Revelar’ in Spanish means to reveal, to show something hidden. It also means to develop a photograph by the chemical processes of analogue printing. The exhibition, Al Revelar is the result of a workshop which focused on revealing what early photography was exploring in terms of techniques.

A workshop created to re-think these processes was put together by three artists, Natalia Ludmila, B Ajay Sharma and Fernando de la Torre, assisted by Nancy Verma and the curator, Julia Villaseñor for a period of a month and a half. The artists worked on developing photographs through the techniques of cyanotype, silver salts and gum bi-chromate, studying it’s chemical composition, times of exposure and other technicalities involved while revealing images.

The trio used Ajay Sharma’s studio in Delhi where they formed a dynamic work group resembling a residency experience. Indian artist B Ajay Sharma’s practice ranges from oil painting, drawing and miniature to video, performance and analogue photography, Fernando de la Torre is a Mexican photographer and traveller living in Delhi who bases his practice in digital photography, Natalia Ludmila is a Mexican painter living in Delhi who works mainly with watercolour and paper but is exploring video, photography and sound as expres-sive media.

The workshop was initiated by Villaseñor who wanted the artists to explore the limits of their practice and to rethink the techniques of ‘analogue image making’. The collaboration has resulted in very different bodies of work that explore ideas of presence and absence, what is revealed and what is hidden during the process, as well as a new way of looking at images, analysing their aesthetic qualities of composition etc.

Al Revelar is more of an exercise than an exhibition. Living in the age of selfies and Instagram, image making has become one of the most common activities of our times, all kinds of cameras and gadgets that create and capture images constantly surround us and, travel far and wide through social media. The de-materialisation of the photograph is a characteristic of our aesthetic reality and we have nearly forgotten the origins of this technological marvel from the 19th century. In a digital world, we no longer see images as material objects, we are bombarded by moving and static images made of pixels that disappear as quickly as they appeared before us. Preoccupations of film, chemical development and other technical processes are no longer part of our conscious mind.
This exhibition tries to reach back to the importance of an image as an object.

Al Revelar is on at Vadehra Art Gallery, D-53, till July 3, from 11 am to 7 pm.

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