Textured wall surfaces, dripping paint, colorful graffiti, rusting metal surfaces and abandoned objects fascinate me and draw me due to their visual quality. In the last few years I have been photographing such kinds of surfaces wherever I found them, whether in my neighbourhood or elsewhere while travelling. While shooting these photographs I isolate certain parts of the surface to form a different kind of visual experience. In this process of isolation the original image gets transformed and gains a new identity. As a result, in the final image, they start 'looking' like complete abstract images in their own right.
I am aware of the argument that such isolation may be detrimental and rob the image of its integrity, but come to think of it, every photograph is a partial recording of the scene that the photographer is witnessing and can never be the complete picture. While the experience is holistic, its narration can only happen in fragments occurring in sequence.
Each finished photograph has two layers, or rather is a merging of two sets of memories. The first is the memory of the particular moment of looking at the surface and its constituents. The second is the recollection from my collective memory of abstract works that I have accumulated or some of the principles of abstraction internalized by me while doing abstract paintings for several years. In some instances the overlay is fairly specific to the works of particular artists. Hence I have called this project 'Remembered Abstraction' as a way of denoting the play of memory that is captured in these images.
I have been involved in this project since 2006. Initially, I just shot pictures of surfaces that interested me without being very clear about where it was heading. But as time elapsed, I could achieve some clarity and arrived at a frame with which to look at the experience. It was this frame which helped to unify diverse experiences, be it near such as in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ooty, Mysore, Magadi, Jaipur, Kokkare Bellur or all across the world in cities like London, Brighton, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Miami, Shanghai, Jordan, and various cities of Mexico and Korea.
One can find references to abstractionists of various periods and hues, Indian as well as foreign, but a majority falls into the reference points of abstractionists from the 1950s to 1970s. In a way it is also revisiting the period when abstraction was the main concern in my work from 1993 to 2000. It is as if I have I have carried over my interest in 'abstraction', in a different time and medium.
My repertoire from these experiences spans a whole gamut but the works presented here represent just a slice of the larger collection. Arguably, such images and the experience are wedged between real and abstract, and hence hold an ambivalent position. For me, this is a very fascinating position.