Kumari Selja, Minister for Culture and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation here today inaugurated an exhibition of Contemporary Photography from the V&A- “Something That I’ll Never Really See:” in the presence of Secretary Culture, Shri Jawhar Sircar and Ms. Kate Bellamy, Head, International Audiences, V&A, London. This exhibition “Something That I’ll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography from the V&A is an exhibition that is part of a travelling tour that was first showcased at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said, Victoria & Albert Museum has been playing an active role in cementing bilateral cultural relations between India and United Kingdom. Even before an MoU on cultural exchange was signed between the two countries in July 2010, Victoria & Albert Museum had an agreement with the Ministry of Culture, under which several exhibitions entitled ‘Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists’ were hosted in different metros of India.
Kumari Selja said, signing of an MoU between India and United Kingdom on Culture in 2010 after 63 years of bilateral relations was a historic occasion. It marks a new chapter in our cultural relations, which have a legacy of several centuries. But, we now need to carry forward into the 21st century, in a vastly changed paradigm.
She said, the exhibition has been drawn from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum that has been avidly collecting photographic works, and includes some of the most innovative works created during a pivotal period in photographic history. The selection explores a broad array of styles both by internationally well-known names as well as emerging talents. She said that this is the first time that this eclectic collection of works is being showcased at a series of venues outside of the U.K.
Kumari Selja said, over the past two decades photography has become an integral part of the world of contemporary art. She said, her Ministry is aiming to actualize much such dynamic collaboration, in an endeavour to bring the international world of art and culture to India, and to take the Indian art and culture to audiences worldwide.
The Minister said, Ministry of Culture and the NGMA have been focusing on photography both as an art form and a record of the history of our times. The NGMA is conscious of the artistic potential of the medium, and has many of the contemporary masters of photography in its collection ranging from Lala Deen Dayal, Raghu Rai, Dayanita Singh etc.
Congratulating the Victoria & Albert Museum for holding this exhibition in India, Kumari Selja expressed the hope that they will now take a lead for hosting reciprocal exhibitions of Indian art and photography in London. She said, she is specially keen to showcase the splendid collection of Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Deen Dayal, Homai Vairawala, Kuldeep Rai and several others.
Work by internationally-acclaimed photographers such as Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and leading fashion photographer Tim Walker are on show as part of this exhibition. The Victoria and Albert Museum has the UK’s national collection of photography, and this exhibition, curated by Martin Barnes, presents 40 works of over 30 artists from pivotal moments in photographic history.
Exhibited here are a broad range of styles, subject matter, and techniques by both internationally well-known names and emerging talents. Many of these artists challenge photography’s traditional genre distinctions, such as fine art, science, fashion, advertising, documentary, and the snapshot. Apparently ‘straight’ documentary images are in fact elaborately staged; fashion photographs draw on the styles of documentary; and works of fine-art resemble scientific imaging.
The exhibition title is inspired by Gavin Turk’s photograph Portrait of Something That I’ll Never Really See (1997), a self-portrait of the artist with his eyes closed. The title suggests a number of ideas suggested by the photographs in the exhibition: that photography freezes a moment in time that can never be relived; that it depicts places and people many of us will never actually see in real life; and that what the camera records and what the photographer perceives can never really be the same thing.
This exhibition is a result of the cultural agreements between the two governments of India and UK. The Ministry of Culture, Government of India, has played a pivotal role in the implementation of such touring exhibitions. This photography exhibition has travelled to Mumbai, Bangalore, and will proceed to Hyderabad after showing in New Delhi. Supported by the World Collections Programme (WCP), organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (V&A) and generously funded by the Ministry of Culture in India, the exhibition would be on display at the NGMA until the 10th of April 2011.
The NGMA would be running several programmes in conjunction with the exhibition. A participatory workshop for gallery facilitators, teachers and museum educators, featuring around the works in the gallery, talks by prominent contemporary Indian photographers, special film shows on important contemporary photographers are all part of the outreach programmes.