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sepia EYE: Raghubir Singh

Raghubir Singh

Image

India 1942
New York 1999

Raghubir Singh was a self-taught photographer. Considered a pioneer of color photography, Singh published his first book, Ganga in 1974. Over the course of his career he published over 14 monographs. In 1998, The Art Institute of Chicago organized his first retrospective, “River of Color.”

The artist John Baldessari describes Singh‘s photographic process thusly, “There is his dualistic structuring. He blocks our vision of something we might want to see and then instead shows us something formerly unimportant, in other words he reverses hierarchies. He pits old against new. He makes gazes collide into a network of directional arrows—a constant ping-pong. He uses light in a way that appears holy. His employment of colour should make some painters envious and his shifts in space call to mind Velázquez.“ (A Way into India, Phaidon 2002)

Singh taught at Columbia University, Cooper Union, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. He always returned to India for his photographic projects. Singh received India’s national award, the Padma Shri, in 1983.

Singh’s work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions including at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice; Nathional Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and Mumbai; Aperture Foundation, New York; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge. Recent group exhibition include “India Moderna,” IVAM Valencia; “Public Places/Private Spaces: Contemporary Photography and Video Art in India,” Newark Museum, Newark; “Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today,” Whitechapel Gallery, London and Castello di Rivoli, Turin; and “Century City,” Tate Modern, London. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

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