London, England, United Kingdom
This project is a portrait of my imagination and memories, often twisted by the dark underlying layers of the storybooks I read as a child. The series of pictures is a juxtaposition of the
Freudian theory of 'The Uncanny', the constantly recurring mysterious environments in the Surrealist art movement and reconstructions of my distant childhood imagination.
The feeling of the uncanny, as Sigmund Freud points out, is one of confused fear, something that you feel when confronted with something that was meant to remain hidden, locked away and has now come out into the open. This feeling is certainly not unambiguous. It is this ambiguity itself that makes the mind wander. The wandering mind opens many doors. Behind these closed doors lies what we call the imagination. There are more doors behind the ones that have been opened. They all whisper to each other about what lies beyond, engaging and gripping the psyche.
These images are constructed using fragments of recollections, often uncanny, from my childhood, stitched up by the secret and powerful tool of day-dreaming and also with the careful understanding of Sigmund Freud's essay, Das Unheimliche. They lie somewhere between reality and fantasy, between the conscious and the sub-conscious. These images are not only a reflection of what I saw behind the closed doors of my mind, but also of what I could have seen.
Researched and shot over a period of nine months, this project has involved long aimless walks in the woods in Kent, meeting strange people and finding myself in remote and isolated places as a result of which my dreamscapes and memory gave me rather peculiar visuals. Intricate study of the art and writings of the surrealists and re-visiting my very old storybooks helped me give perspective to the Freudian philosophy of the uncanny. Rather than illustrating the uncanny, the idea here is to give the viewer an experience of the uncanny by extracting fragments of desires and fantasies buried within the sub-conscious.
About Vikram Kushwah
Vikram Kushwah’s photos reflect a longing for childhood dreams and fantasies, and for a world unsullied by modernity and the mundane--a simpler life, when ‘miracles were taken for granted’, as Vikram puts it. Similarly, through his corpus of work, Vikram strives to ‘challenge reality’ and rebel against the modern world through celebrating the romanticism and innocence of the ‘pure self’ of the child. The poignant symbols and images featured in his surreal and magical photos are a manifestation of this celebration and yearning.
In addition to being inspired by his childhood memories and his notions of romanticism, Vikram’s artistic influences are vast. While through his work one can see a direct link to childhood classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Vikram also cites the works of Sigmund Freud and photographers Guy Bourdin and Tim Walker as having left a profound impression on him. While pursuing his Master’s degree, he was particularly drawn to the work of the Surrealists, the Romantics, and the Pre-Raphaelites.
His photography, in general, is informed by the Freudian theory of the aesthetics of ‘The Uncanny’ (that unsettling feeling which words struggle to describe, yet which troubles the psyche) and by the Surrealists, who themselves were masters of illustrating the abstractions of the subconscious mind. He strives to draw in viewers by letting ambiguity and uncertainty prevail in his photographs, thus enabling viewers to open the doors of wonder and curiosity in their own minds.
In 2010, he completed his MFA in photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester, England. He has since been practicing as an art and fashion photographer in Britain and India, working for reputed publications such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and showing his work in galleries in the UK, Europe and in the USA. His collector base spans Europe, America and Asia. Vogue Italia featured him among their 'New Talents' in 2012 and his work won a Young Lions Award (bronze) at Cannes in 2013 for best photography. He currently lives in England.
M.A. Photography : University for the Creative Arts, Rochester (2009-2010)
Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate Professional Photography Practice : London College of Communication (2008-09)
Postgraduate Diploma, Professional Photography Practice : Light and Life Academy, Ooty, India (2006-07)
Bachelor of Fashion Design, Fashion and Apparel : National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bangalore, India (2001-05)
November 2012 : Exhibition at Hoxton Hotel, London in association with Curious Duke Gallery. November’12 – January’13
October 2012 : Exhibition at The Prince’s Foundation Gallery, London. Winning works from The National Open Art Competition.
Exhibition dates 24th Oct – 1st Nov
October 2012 : Exhibition at The Minerva Gallery, Chichester, Sussex, UK. Winning works from The National Open Art Competition.
Exhibition dates 11th Oct – 21st Oct
September 2012 : Work published in Vogue Italia, September issue.
September 2012 : Exhibition at Curious Duke Gallery, London.
Exhibition dates 20th Sept – 13th Oct
August 2012 : Commissioned by Gallery Oldham, Manchester for an art photography project (photographing dancers) which was exhibited at their literary week.
July 2012 : Shot the cover for Emily Barker’s next music album ‘Dear River’. Emily Barker is a London based BAFTA winning singer songwriter.
June 2012 : Work selected by Vogue Italia for their exhibition ‘A Glimpse at Photo Vogue’ at 10 Corso Como at the Carla Sozzani Gallery in Milan.
Exhibition dates : 19 July – 10 August, 2012
May 2012 : Commission - Harper's Bazaar India for the May'12 issue.
May 2012 : Photograph selected by Vogue Italia as photo of the day on Photo Vogue.
May 2012 : Selected to take part in the second edition of 'The Other Art Fair' London.
February 2012 : Published in Vogue Italia’s ‘New Talents’ section (February 2012 issue).
February 2012 : Photograph selected by Vogue Italia as photo of the day on Photo Vogue.
December 2011 : Selected to exhibit at the Orange County Centre for Contemporary Arts, LA, USA
December 2011 : Interview and feature in Amelia’s magazine.
November 2011 : Featured on ‘The Independent’ as part of the build up to The Other Art Fair.
November 2011 : Selected to take part in the first edition of 'The Other Art Fair' London.
November 2011 : Adam Chandler Ltd. Gallery for their pop-up exhibition in Lewes, Sussex, UK
October 2011 : Photographed fashion designer Elizabeth Lau's collection for Betty Magazine editorial.
September 2011: Shot the SS’12 look book for Lee Lapthorne (Accessories Designer and Director of On / Off, London Fashion Week)
September 2011: Selected to exhibit at Flag Stop, Los Angeles, an international contemporary art event.
August 2011: Photographed the main fashion editorial for the August issue of Fashion156.com
July 2011: First foray into the American art gallery market. Exhibited in the Randall Scott Gallery.
June 2011: Shot the cover page for Platform magazine (India) for their July-August music issue.
February 2011: Invited by Debut Contemporary, London to exhibit in their Notting Hill gallery as part of their Debut Arts artist mentorship program.
February 2011: Featured on the Hotshoe Gallery blog.
January 2011: Four page feature in the January 2011 issue of Smart Photography Magazine, India (Print and online)
December 2010: Invited by Photofusion Gallery, London to exhibit a body of work titled, ‘Ofelea’ in their biennial photography exhibition AMPS’10.
Exhibition dates : 3 December 2010 – 28 January 2011.
November 2010: Selected from over 400 participating artists and 1000 artworks by ArtSway Gallery, Hampshire, UK to exhibit an artwork titled, ‘Ofelea and the Flying Balloons’ in ArtSway Open 2010. Dates : 20 November 2010 - 23 January 2011.
October 2010: First runners-up, Award EMERGENT-FUNDACIÓ SORIGUÉ, an international arts & photography award at Lleida, Spain.
Carlos Reid, M.B.A., M.S. & M.O.T.
THE CARLOS REID GALLERY
Contemporary | Modern | Art | International | Online