Yesterday I visited Hauser & Wirth Somerset to see their Subodh Gupta 'Invisible Reality' exhibition. It was absolutely stunning and you can find out more about both the exhibition and the artist on their website. I took my DSLR and came back with lots of captures. The question that intrigues me though - and I am not sure if this is just going to sound like pretentious twaddle or whether it will herald the start of a meaningful debate - is can photography enhance our experience of art?
As you approach the Banyan Tree (and it is the first thing you see on arrival at the gallery) it twinkles at you in the sun. As you draw closer you see that its leaves are made out of pots and pans and other kitchen utensils, all make from shiny stainless steel.
Closer still you can identify individual items then, using the camera, you can isolate one piece from the whole, focusing and concentrating on a particular aspect, in this case set against the bright blue of the spring sky and white fluffy clouds.
Closer in again, far closer than I could get with my naked eye, certain objects stand out whilst others fade - yet another view. If this is at all how the artist intends you to view his work - I have no idea, but I do find the differences fascinating.
Looking from one direction like a giant gong this actually represents a giant cooking pot whose dimensions have been somewhat compressed. A real feature was the impact of light on the sculpture which shimmered and gleamed depending on the sunshine entering the room.
Looking at these pictures I see something different from what was seeing when I was actually in the room with the installation. There I could not focus in on the colours within the metal and the way the light fell. There were distractions, the sun in my eyes, other visitors, the sheer scale of the work when viewed as a whole. As those of you who have followed my blog know I prefer the small view to the panorama and the opportunity to use the lens to interact in a different way with these pieces feels like a blessing.
This is one of the Pressed for Space series using found objects and fabric compressed into a rectangle. Again the photographic process allows you to experience these pieces in a different way by focussing intently on a small section of the work
Looking close up connects me more fully with the spaces and textures of the individual components of this piece in a way that wasn't possible at the exhibition and my overall feeling is that the photograph complements the original experience in ways that enhance the overall experience of the exhibition. What do you think? I'd love to hear.