Taking to the roads
The works at the exhibition Ways of the Road was created during three week artist residency held in the village of Partapur in Rajasthan. The residency, Sandarbh, was a curated one; the focus was on the bus that runs through the village and the route it follows. Even more than the bus, the artist found himself preoccupied with documenting the road
Photography has a long history of interactions with the road, the challenge was to make this project different. Fabien Charuau decided to follow the road and stop every kilometer to document what he saw. At every kilometre mark, he would shoot three images on three different film cameras – one of the roads, another of a person he met there and one of a landmark.
The experiments during his previous work led him to use different processes and visual technologies from the field that he wants to document. As for the equipment, artist has used three cheap film cameras and some film that he bought from the village.He used a scanner ,again locally sourced, treating it as a dark room to produce contact sheets. The resulting contact sheet is a very long print, the map of the road he has travelled, each frame being a milestone of the road.
The crux of the project is what the road means to photography and many linear movements in photography.Whatever he has done has to do with linearity; the way the film moves in the camera, me moving ahead on the road, the scanning of the contact sheet, the contact sheet being printed, the experience of looking at the final print on the floor, even the negative could be viewed as a road.
Charuau is a Bombay based visual artist working thus far with photography and video.Having spent half his life in india where his journey with photography began, he sees himself as an Indian photographer of French origin.
Besides having had his work shown in solo and group shows and at photo festivals, his reflection on Indian photography has also seen him take on a curatorial role for a group show on contemporary Indian photography in Paris two years ago. He also writes on Indian photography for the French magazine Photo and for Tasveer journal.