#FaunaOfMirrors: I Love Cinema

It's all about Cinephilia

First day first show (Installation View) (2018) by Balaji MaheshwarOriginal Source: Artist Website

Venue: Art Houz, Chennai

Art Houz is one of the leading contemporary art galleries from South India. Founded in 2012 by Vincent Adaikalraj, the gallery has achieved significant importance, mounting some of the most important shows from the Indian art scene. It is a perfect backdrop for not just time-honoured unhindered traditional art displays but also for contemporary avant-garde arts.

I Love MGR (Installation View) (2010-2015) by Cop ShivaOriginal Source: Artist Website

Exhibiting Artists

Amshu Chukki | India 
Balaji Maheshwar a.k.a Raskolnikov | India
Cop Siva | India
D. Ravinder reddy | India
Dayanita Singh | India
Desire Machine Collective | India
JH Thakker | India
Jason Shulman | United Kingdom
Karthik Subramanian | India

The Tour (2017) by Amshu ChukkiOriginal Source: Artist Website

The Tour

By Amshu Chukki (IND)

Shot on deserted film sets of Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, this work takes us on a tour of a city that is both ancient and futuristic. With time suspended on its surface and left in limbo, the sites we see are like allegories to the future of our ancestors.

With its constructed hospitals, hotels, and neighbourhoods, the Film City resembles a deserted post-apocalyptic city whose inhabitants have disappeared. The tour bus, loaded with visitors, navigates this seeming abandonment of this city, and the guide re-imagines Film City’s desertion and narrates fiction that originates from this site. Read more

First day first show (Installation View) (2018) by Balaji MaheshwarOriginal Source: Artist Website

First Day First Show

By Balaji Maheshwar (IND)

"Religion is the opium of the masses and sigh of the oppressed", says Karl Marx. In Tamil Nadu, Cinema is a religion. 

Tamil Nadu has a close link between its politics and its cinema. Cinema has always remained a propaganda tool here.

In this project, 'First-Day-First-Show', Balaji tries to understand how the idea of masculinity is propagated through cinema in the form of heroism and how fans revere their on-screen idols. He has experienced First-Day-First-Show as a cinema fanatic and not as a photographer. Read more  

I Love MGR (Installation View) (2010-2015) by Cop ShivaOriginal Source: Artist Website

I Love MGR

By Cop Shiva (IND)

This series is a result of the photographer’s interactions with Vidyasagar – a Bangalore resident who would dress up every day as M G. Ramachandran, the politician and a Tamil film icon who cast an overpowering influence on the politics. 

The manipulation of identity through disguise and the idea of taking on a new persona is, in many ways, a comment on the prevalent influence of cinema in the socio-cultural context of South India. The artist captures the dichotomy of a split personality and duality by photographing a man who spent his life masquerading as someone other than his true self. The series delves into polarized ideas of reality and fantasy. Read more 

Daud (Installation View) (1997) by Chennai Photo Biennale 2019Original Source: Artist Website


By Ravinder Reddy Duggempudi (IND)

Movie stills shot for the Indian movie Daud. Aged 55 years, Ravinder Reddy always looks for human element while taking any picture and believes that it is all about giving life to photographs. Read more 

Masterjee (Installation View) (2016) by Dayanita SinghOriginal Source: Artist Website


By Dayanita Singh (IND)

‘Master Jee’ is a collaboration with choreographer Mark Morris. These images of Saroj Khan, the legendary Bollywood dance choreographer, were made in the early 90s. The images were so sumptuous, Dayanita was never sure what form they should take.

When Mark Morris was curating the White Light Festival in 2016, he asked for a work to go into the exhibition. That is when Dayanita sent him all the images of Saroj Khan, and asked him to pace and sequence them to the music of his choosing. Read more 

J H Thakker, Showcase by J.H. ThakkerOriginal Source: Artist Website

Portraits of Indian Bollywood Actors/Actresses

By Late Jethalal H. Thakker

He came to India as a refugee during the India-Pakistan partition. He moved to Bombay and set up the India Photo Studio in Dadar next to Chitra Cinema. He soon became known for his moody portraits and developed a signature style of dramatic lighting with spotlights, shadow textured backgrounds and studio props and costumes.

Many of Thakker’s photographs became iconic images which defined Indian Bollywood actors like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Ashok Kumar and Pran. Read more

I Swear on my Mother (Installation View) (2017) by Karthik SubramanianOriginal Source: Artist Website

I swear on my Mother

By Karthik Subramanian (IND)

This work studies the representation of Tamil political leader, Jayalalitha or popularly addressed as ‘Amma’ (mother), whose emergence in the political scene is tightly intertwined with the history of Cinema and Popular Media in the state. Kartik intends to reconstructs the political history of Jayalalitha and her mentor & precursor M.G Ramachandran, both of whom used films and media to capture and construct their public persona.

His photography springs out of the constant doubt that questions our visual experience to be real or unreal. Kartik, uses his photography to build the bridge between these two states of perceptions. Read more

Photographs of Films (Installation View) (2017) by Jason ShulmanOriginal Source: Artist Website

Photographs of Films by Jason Shulman

Jason Shulman (UK)

This is a series of photographs that capture the entire duration of a movie in a single exposure. The artist is a sculptor whose work extends into photography, film, and painting. Analgesia, loss, and the delusions inherent in perception are some of his areas of enquiry.

Analgesia, loss, and the delusions inherent in perception are some of his areas of enquiry. He often combines scientific experimentation with more formal artistic trajectories, using optics and other basic science to expose the falsehoods that underpin our experience of reality.  Read more

Credits: Story

Know more about the artists and their works at Chennai Photo Biennale website

Click here to listen to the CPB 2019 Artist Talk . 

CPB2019 Programs

CPB Foundation organised curated walks and guided tours and conducted various workshopsphoto walksartist talks, films on photography and curated projections on the beach during the 2019 Biennale. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Hindi Cinema
Your ticket into the magical world of Indian cinema
View theme
Google apps