Hyderabad-based artist and photographer Dia Mehta Bhupal has a unique way of looking at and redefining ordinary spaces through her work. Her photographs capture spaces that are “both strange and familiar”, making the process an awe-inspiring and unusual one. Her conceptual images have made her a name to look out for globally. Now, she is set to present her artwork at the opening of the Yinchuan Biennale in China.
The exhibition, curated by artist Bose Krishnamachari, will present the works of over 70 artists from around the world. Here’s what Bhupal has to say about her upcoming exhibition:
ELLE: Tell us more about the work you are presenting at the Yinchuan Biennale. How did the concept come about?
Dia Mehta Bhupal: There are several ideas behind my work, but they all revolve around my interest in private experiences in public spaces. It’s not space alone that interests me, but certain kinds of spaces, which reflect the perceptual gap between how we see our lives and how we live them. At the Yinchuan Biennale 2016, I will be presenting the liminal possibility of introspection, and the hidden structures of meaning in the mundane. I have developed a unique approach to photography that makes images of rooms and other spaces appear both strange and familiar. In fact, my photographs feature three-dimensional sets, mostly life-size, painstakingly constructed from magazines, newspapers and cardboard. Each piece of paper is cut, rolled and glued into many layers.
ELLE: What was the thought behind using newspapers and magazines to sculpt everyday settings?
DMB: In a world saturated with manipulated or mediated images, my work re-evaluates the potential of the photographic medium. The images do not simply depict the world around us, but actively participate in its construction. Although people are figuratively absent, what remains are images that become models of the memory, experience, and contemplation of these moments.
ELLE: We read that you’ve taken almost up to two years to craft some of your more complex newspaper-and-magazine sets. This appears on the surface to be a tedious and demanding task. Did you ever feel like giving up? What compelled you to move on?
DMB: On the contrary, my process allows me to keep discovering and learning on a day-to-day basis. The intense and meticulous nature of the process itself takes me to a deeper meditative realm, and keeps my mind engaged, alert and relaxed.
ELLE: You’ve showcased your work all over the world. Are there any cultural differences you’ve noticed in the way your work is received?
DMB: Visual culture is universal.
ELLE: You’ve studied in London and New York, and are based out of India now. Why India?
DMB: Cliché, but India is home and where my family is.
Flip through the gallery for a glimpse into the collection