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REVIEW: Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer

Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London  © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh

Internationally celebrated photographer, Dayanita Singh, opens her first UK retrospective this month at the Hayward Gallery. ‘Go Away Closer’ explores the duality between image and narrative through refuting against conventional methods of curation.

Breaking away from the print-on-the-wall tradition, Dayanita Singh employs various ‘portable museums’ that showcase between 70 to 140 photographs in large wooden structures. This presentational device introduces a strong sense of interactivity with her audience, as it invites the viewer to create their own sequential interpretations.

The visual stories that she depicts, often touch upon social oppositions such as westernization versus the loss of cultural values in modern India.  This concept is echoed in the exhibition title itself ‘Go Away Closer’, which perhaps suggests the artist’s own uneasy relationship with advancements in technology and its impact upon the role of the photographer.

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Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh’s retrospective also highlights her passion for book-making, often described as ‘novels without words’, her publications on display explore how layout manipulation can stimulate ambiguous photo-fictions. Experimenting with diptychs, scale and negative space – Dayanita Singh’s hand crafted constructions create a feeling of intimacy for the viewer, as their fragile aesthetic reminds us on how we have become accustomed to mass-produced art books that currently saturate today’s high-street.

Dayanita Singh’s exhibition ‘Go Away Closer’ can be seen at the Hayward Gallery between Tuesday 8th October – Sunday 15th December 2013.

All images © Dayanita Singh.