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Photoexhibition, Hasselblad Award 2022

Dayanita Singh – Sea of Files

Hasselblad Center proudly presents the winner of the Hasselblad Award 2022, the photographer and artist – Dayanita Singh.

In celebration of this, the exhibition at Hasselblad Center reflects how archives and archiving has been continuous points of interest, research, and reference in Singh’s photographic oeuvre. She has developed a highly inventive archival methodology for publishing and displaying her work, creating new ways of seeing and experiencing photography.

Dayanita Singh challenges the conventional approach to presenting photography by creating her own accessible ‘museums’ in the form of installations or publications. Singh’s photographs seem to take on a life of their own, but in the manner of a skilled composer, she assembles her images in meticulously crafted arrangements of poetic plays with themes and associations.

Dayanita Singh has been photographing and documenting everything from local town archives to court registries in India since the early 2000s, and the seminal work File Museum includes 140 of these photographs. Some of the archive documents are carefully wrapped in fabric, while others are placed in piles stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Finding the right document can appear to be an impossible task, but in Singh’s photographs, a close tie between archive and archivist emerges, where the piles of documents become an extension of the custodian, thereby following an internal logic. Singh is fascinated by the fact that archivists in India not only create their own physical structures, but also – in many cases – their own individual cataloguing system.

In connection with the exhibition and the award ceremony, a new book will be published about Dayanita Singh’s archive works, accompanied by a new essay on her photography, written by Orhan Pamuk. The publication contains a number of works from the exhibition, including the visual essay Sea of Files in its entirety. It is also the first time that Museum of Innocence (The Madras Chapter) will be published.

Credits: Dayanita Singh, Mona Montage, 2021

Credits: Dayanita Singh

Credits: Dayanita Singh

Credits: Dayanita Singh

Credits: Dayanita Singh

Credits: Dayanita Singh