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Dayanita Singh wins The Photobook of the Year Prize in Paris Photo 2017

Dayanita Singh wins The Photobook of the Year Prize in Paris Photo 2017

The recently concluded Paris Photo 2017 was an inspiring exhibition filled with ideas, experiments and other visual conversations on personal, topical, social and political issues. The photographic work was experiential, transportive and experimental. The exhibition, in its 21st edition, held at the Grand Palais with 190 exhibitors from 29 countries and featuring icons to emerging artists, was a breathtaking mix of photography exhibits, curatorial projects and discussions. From looking at photographs as multi-dimensional to going beyond the images of the world and depicting a deeper artistic truth, Paris Photo 2017 was intersecting between the traditional and digital formats to experiment and craft a vivid engagement. Here are the highlights:

Dayanita Singh’s Museum Bhavan won the Photo Book of the year. She has often spoken in her interviews about being a bookmaker working with photography. The boxed set of nine books is beautifully designed and conceived as portable museums. She is a widely and critically acclaimed artist, well known for her outstanding portfolio of work in photography. She has worked with Gerhard Steidl with her ideas of merging the art of bookmaking and the experience of exhibitions per se. She combined the two platforms to offer the viewer and the artists a very versatile experience of interaction wherein each holds a string of how the story of her photographs unfolds.

IMAGE CREDIT: Dayanita Singh Studio

Dayanita Singh’s Museum Bhavan, a beautiful, multi-volume boxed set of nine intimate Leporello books, is a marriage of photography’s two major formats: book and exhibition. Each enclosed book features a typology of tritone images printed slightly larger than the original 6-by-6 negatives. Singh conceived Museum Bhavan as a miniature travelling exhibition — one that includes her Printing Press Museum, Museum of Vitrines, and Little Ladies Museum series. Christoph Wiesner connects the concept to Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-valise (Box in a suitcase), which replicates the artist’s own work as a travelling object; we also find in Singh’s photographs self-referential gestures to the book form and other modes of presentation — images of printing presses and overstuffed library shelves.

Man Ray’s iconic photography “Noire et Blanche” from the Thomas Koerfer Collection featuring the portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse, muse and lover of Man Ray. She is holding a tribal art mask, highlighting Man Ray’s exploration of Surrealism and African art. Kiki was a unique symbol of that Parisian era, a painter, and a performer, she embodied the headiness of Paris’ off-beat culture. Noire et Blanche, was first published in the Parisian edition of Vogue in May 1926. This quiet, elegant and dreamy study naturally appealed to Jacques Doucet, the great French fashion icon and designer. His own vision, which combined the ancient and primitive arts with his graceful and modern taste, is complemented by Man Ray’s vision of a surreal twist of tonality. Sold to an anonymous buyer for $3,120,658 the recent sale broke art market records for Man Ray.

TITLE: Man Ray (1890-1976), Noire et Blanche
YEAR: 1926

German painter, photographer, installation artist, and more, Sigmar Polke’s work ‘Quetta, Pakistan’, made an appearance. Here, he painted over his photograph of an opium den. It is an overwhelming work for the man who was at the forefront of capitalist realism. The movement was heavily influenced by pop art and took aims at consumerism and as the name suggests, capitalism. His extensive travels created this rich cache of images, many of which he then painted over and manipulated. His mediums were experimental, and even as the art world changes, he continues to remain relevant.

TITLE: Sigmar Polke, Quetta, Pakistan
YEAR: 1974
MEDIUM: gelatin silver print
DIMENSIONS: 57.2 x 86 cm
COURTESY: © The Estate of Sigmar Polke, Cologne / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
IMAGE COURTESY: Paris Photo 2017

Raghu Rai’s seminal works on India. His ever-expanding portfolio of masterpieces always leaves one awe-struck. The master who waits for his moment showcases his zen-like approach to capturing the right moment with some more stunning shots of art.

Paris Photo 2017 was a rich display of masterful exhibitions, a cultural glimpse of our converging world, a comment on the journey photography as an art form is on today. The fair could be distilled down to a grand celebration of the medium. Catch a very small glimpse of it through these images below. We will continue our coverage by bringing you artists whose work you should know more about.

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