This book celebrates Dayanita Singh as the 2022 winner of the Hasselblad Award, considered the most prestigious international photography prize. Sea of Files highlights Singh’s consistent and unique engagement with the archive, both in a real sense (including the overflowing bundles of India’s public and private archives) and metaphorically: the archive as a vessel of cultural experience. The book includes Singh’s associative visual essay “Sea of Files” in its entirety, as well as—for the first time in a publication—“Museum of Innocence (The Madras Chapter)” and other series engaging with the meanings and materiality of archives. A personal essay by Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk explores the lyrical, silent reality of Singh’s photographs of state archives, for him images of aura and melancholy that evoke the “texture of memory,” “an idea of poetic decrepitude and a sense of profundity,” as well as “dignified resistance even when the passage of time makes everything meaningless.” The book furthermore shows how Singh has paved new ways for engaging with photography, be it through humanist portraiture, or her innovative display structures and book objects which recast traditional notions of the museum and publishing.
Co-published with the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg
Exhibition: Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, 15 October 2022 to 22 January 2023
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