Aesthetics of Display
The current exhibition by Bangalore photographer Mallikarjun Katakol on at Max Muller Bhavan takes as its subject the aesthetics of display and the choreographing of everyday objects. The exhibition which opened to public on the weekend is on till the 25th of this month.
Paan leaves, mannequins with colourful clothes, locks and many other items are captured exactly how they are arranged for display to attract customers. The photographs represent quotidian practices which many take for granted and few regard as art. The series invites us to revisit the terms art, aesthetics, display, and to ask how we have come to view the world around us.
The series is shot in contemporary Bengaluru, although these pictures could just as easily have been taken in any other city. The photographs are of items for sale: vegetables, snacks, footwear, accessories, undergarments, locks, plastic containers. Katakol's camera lovingly lingers over particular objects observing the composition of each display, its colour, texture, symmetry and detail.
The images yield very little of their context. What we have are representations of objects. The way things are placed, piled, hung, stacked, strung together or simply tossed into a receptacle is reminiscent of the bazaar and it’s aesthetic. The photographs are premised on the inseparability of life and art. They draw our attention to the skills that have traditionally made life sensuous in our cultural setting and to which many today are indifferent.
About the artist
Mallikarjun B. Katakol was born in Dharwad, Karnataka, and studied at CAVA Art School at Mysore. After college he worked as a graphic designer in Bangalore for a couple of years. After a stint as an assistant photographer in Mumbai, he set up on his own as an advertising photographer. Apart from commercial photography, he has exercised his craft of image-making with a connection to cultural specificity.