Every landscape has a story to tell; a story embedded in its soil, absorbed into its every rock and filtered within its atmosphere. There are a myriad ways to reinterpret and retell a landscape’s tale, relying on the multiple layers of human occupation, and rather more difficult to tell it as it is. It takes intuition to see it in the exactness of its being, and honed artistry to translate it into a tangible experience for an audience. Shibu, with his series “Finding Nowhere” does that and much more; he presents the natural and material landscape of Magadi at its real best, allowing each viewer the freedom to navigate the work in the context they are prepared to.
The spaces are serene, unadulterated by human presence, and carry little imprint of the artist’s presence. It is as if he has blended into the environment; the only evidence of his intervention the physicality of the images themselves. Yet, it is his unerring eye that leads us to the contoured frames, the eloquent scenery. There seems timelessness in the imagery; soft grey tones play with deep shadows and bright whites, resembling a lovingly etched monochrome aquatint. By divesting the landscape of its colours, the artist is leaving behind the final crutch of image-making. By allowing bluntness to shroud each object, he is deliberately challenging the accustomed precision of digital photography. His method stems from a combination of deep respect for historically relevant forms of photography, a passionate interest in experimenting with a variety of lensed ‘tools’ and an innate urge to experiment and reinvent his pictorial language.
The gentle, lyrical views stir the memory, and enchant the senses. And from the quietness of it’s being, the landscape breathes a narrative for tomorrow.
Bangalore | 2012