Photography at Play: Bhatt, Karia, and Mohamedi in Baroda, 1966–1975

09 Mar – 22 Apr 2017

Photography at Play

Baroda witnessed a decided turn towards photography between the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the Faculty of Fine Arts of M. S. University as its centre. This exhibition, curated by Diva Gujral, traces the photographic practices of three former faculty members: the prolific painter and printmaker Jyoti Bhatt, who taught at the department from 1966 onwards, photographer Bhupendra Karia, and artist Nasreen Mohamedi. In surveying their work together, the formal qualities of their photography seem to become apparent almost out of spontaneous consensus—a particular attention to flatness, to light, to grain and line, to the primacy of form. Photography at Play attempts to resurrect not only the conversations among their work but also a sense of the artists’ own camaraderie—it was in part whilst travelling through Gujarat with Karia that Bhatt developed a particular skill with the camera; around the same time it is Bhatt who takes the most iconic photographic portraits of Mohamedi. 

By assessing the networks of companionship that informed the practice of these three photographers, this exhibition explores the development of an abstract, and geograhically distinct, visual language out of the city of Baroda. This is photography at its most curious and experimental, in practices that were developed in serious play.