Raghubir Singh (1942 – 1999)

Raghubir Singhum dos grandes fotógrafos indianos contemporâneos, desaparecido em 1999, é considerado um pioneiro o uso da cor na Índia, numa época, os anos 70, em que o monocromático era a norma do registo fotográfico.

As suas imagens, reconhecidas pelas composições cuidadas e pela organização do espaço eram notoriamente influenciadas pela pintura Moghul e pela arte miniaturista do Rajastão. Mas, acima de tudo, reflectiam a multiplicidade desse universo fascinante, complexo e inebriante que é a Índia.

Mais que um registo fotográfico (ou, melhor, aquilo que os registos fotográficas devem ser), um olhar sobre a História.

Born in Jaipur, Raghubir Singh was a self-taught photographer who worked in India and lived in Paris, London and New York. In the early 1970s he was one of the first photographers to reinvent the use of color at a time when color photography was still a marginal art form.

In his early work Singh focused on the geographic and social anatomy of cities and regions of India. His work on Bombay in the early 1990s marks a turning point in his stylistic development; at the contact of the metropolis his visual language acquires a new complexity. In addition to his photographic work, Singh teaches in New York at the School of Visual Arts, Columbia University and Cooper Union. In 1998 the Art Institute of Chicago organized a retrospective exhibition of his work which was still on show at the time of his death. The book River of Colour was published on the occasion of this exhibition.

In his last work A Way into India, published posthumously, the Ambassador car becomes a camera obscura. Singh uses its doors and windshield to frame and divide his photographs. In the accompanying text John Baldessari compares Raghubir Singh to Orson Welles for his juxtaposition of near and far and to Mondrian for his fragmentation of space.

 

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