Retake of Amrita
Re-take of 'Amrita' is a book of 38 digital photomontages by Vivan Sundaram, with a preface and annotation by the artist-author. These montages are the result of a collaborative photographic project: between Umrao Singh Sher-Gil (1870-1954), the 'essential' photographer (who took numerous self-portraits), and Vivan Sundaram, who orchestrates with a digital wand, archival photographs of the Sher-Gil family. Vivan enters the space of the Sher-Gil homes and makes the members of the family enact (and re-enact) moments of radiating desire under his direction. The 'encounters' generated in this process of re-casting the family in new roles elaborate into a fictional narrative. The central axis of the cinematic plot is the relationship between the father, Umrao Singh and the artist-daughter, Amrita (1913-41).Vivan Sundaram was born in Shimla in 1943. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda, and at The Slade School, London, in the 1960s. He returned to India in 1970 and continued his painting. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography and video. Vivan, himself a member of the Sher-Gil family, has been engaged with the Sher-Gil project over a thirty-year period, as curator, editor, archivist. Re-take of 'Amrita', a series of digital photomontages made in 2001, has been exhibited in museums and galleries in India and abroad. Vivan has also collaborated with Kumar Shahani on the script for a proposed film on Amrita Sher-Gil.Revelling in the multitude of meanings inherent in his digitalized photomontages and his writing, the artist assembles his cast of characters, all close family members, each one singled out for his or her unique history, and repositions them in a fictive composition. The design and layout certainly culls from the best traditions of art book publications.The Art News Magazine of India
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