Digital history

This unique exhibition showcases photographs from the archives that have been transformed by digitally manipulating their features

Taking a look at old archival photos, artist Masuram Ravikanth, recreates the bygone era with a twist. He represents the past in a contemporary way with his digitally manipulated photographs, which are on display at the exhibition titled ‘Slippery memories: unhinged histories’. It includes four series, comprising 451 photographs. Overlapping and intersecting his personal memories with shared histories, he digitally introduces elements of the modern world in his photographs.

A third-generation artist, Ravikanth says, “My fascination for photography grew because of my father’s photo studio. My grandfather too, was a poet and artist.” Masuram’s works are not just a reflection of reality but are a form of expression.
Created between 2009 and 2014, using humour and irony, his works are a nostalgic and metaphoric look at his own life. His first series, Royal DicArt, mimics the costume and royal demeanour as represented in the Hyderabad miniature style of the late 19th century. Using studio techniques, he creates self-portraits for this series.

Taking a cue from his father’s photography practises from the 1960’s and 70’s, his second series called Romancing the Reminiscence 1, reconstructs the studio playfully through props, costumes, cosplay and self-portraits.

Carrying forward this idea of self-consciousness, his third series, Romancing the Reminiscence 2, takes the viewers through 300 archival images from late 19th and early 20th century India. He presents the subjects in a contemporary light by digitally introducing images of iconic modern Indian art.

Overlaying archival portraits of children in their rocking horses, with modern Marvel comic heroes, the last series Spandolika – Rocking Horse, represents the dying industry of traditional toy makers from his childhood village. Antique photos of toddlers are superimposed with images of Batman and Superman.

Working on different mediums, Ravikanth explains that he creates digital art, paintings, sculptures and audio-visual media. He collected his visual archives from books, personal records, collections of local gallerists and the internet.

So, drop in at Triveni Kala Sangam to take a look at how today’s digital world and modern culture have been amalgamated with elements from the past. The works are on display till November 21.