All About X-Ray Vision
Journalist-turned-artist Dhiraj Singh shares with MILLENNIUM POST the uniquely innovative concept of X-ray Art
So what’s X-ray art?
My X-ray works are the result of my own personal mysticism which is a journey fuelled by my often disjunctive curiosity. So while the X-ray in its everyday, medical sense is a revealer of our physical inner self through my work it becomes something more than its mere function. In a sense it becomes a mystical viewfinder that creates its own drama with the play of light, shadows and perspectives.
Do you use mixed media in your work as well? How is it done?
Yes I have and they work in tandem with the X-rays by enveloping or containing them in order to give them another, totally different context. For example in my work titled Greening of Icarus I have created a pair of wings from an arched window panel that I found in an old furniture shop. The wings whose panes have different X-rays are covered in synthetic grass and together they stand for the Greek hero Icarus who was the first man to fly.
What subjects interest you?
Anything that is below the belt or taboo (laughs) or constitutes a conceptual iceberg in the sense that it is more hidden than it is visible. But on a serious note you must understand that my medium is also not without its risks as it involves exposure to X-ray radiation so a lot of my actual work happens inside the head and only when I am absolutely certain of the result I go for the actual making of the work. But my themes are usually dark and mystical, or things that need to be seen in their skeletal form in order to be understood completely.
What intrigued you about X-ray art and since when have you been painting?
As an artist I am drawn most to the mysteries of the mind, especially the mind in its incapacitated state or what we colloquially call being ‘mental’… it’s like picking up the exception to prove the rule. Since I grew up very close to a mental institution because my mother was working there, my radar picked up these psychic signals from these very broken people or people who had an extremely distorted vision of reality.
Why did you switch from journalism to art?
There wasn’t really a switch, I just started telling my stories in a different medium, using a different skill set. Much of work is informed by my reading, by what I see happening around me and from generally being alive to my surroundings. In fact that’s what makes my work quite unique, if I may say so myself (smiles).
What are the new works you are concentrating on?
My last solo show was called Inner Eye and it was held at a gallery which is inside Amber Fort in Jaipur. This show allowed me to sort of discover a new dimension to my practice. How it can carry our extremely rich architectural heritage with what we today refer to as contemporary art. For this show I made a work called Trapped in Air where I morphed the traditional jaali work that is usually made of stone into plastic and I inserted my X-rays as a comment on the hidden-ness of space in context. The traditional jaali though beautiful was also used to segregate women from the public eye and so it also became a method of control both physical and mental. I use three different plastic jaalis oddly suspended in air with the help of nylon strings thereby freeing them from their usual connotation of separation and control.
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