'Kromosho': Munem Wasif tells Dhaka's story
On November 10, Project 88 inaugurated Munem Wasif's second solo-exhibition at their gallery in Mumbai, India. The exhibition is titled "Kromosho"--'step by step' in Bengali--and features Wasif's body of work, which the artiste has developed over almost two decades.
Munem Wasif's image-based works often mix photographs with moving images, archive documents or collected paraphernalia to reveal notions of impermanence and insecurity. A major theme throughout his work, is the philosophy of leaving things open to interpretation.
The artiste's work has been shown in exhibitions across Tokyo, France, England, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Bangladesh, and many more countries.
Wasif's work is closely tied with Dhaka and people that inhabit it. The photographs being showcased at Project 88 tries to rediscover a variety of angles and ideas through which Wasif tries to highlight the city's idiosyncrasies.
"Kromosho" captures the fundamental transformation of both the medium and the subject, all the while we can see the shift in the photographer's view of the city--as it morphs into an increasingly complex and layered subject of its own.
"Belonging 2001-2013", a black and white series, portrays Dhaka as the sole protagonist, where the public and the private overlap continuously. While fragmented at first, showcasing encounters that seem accidental, the images slowly morph into a coherent idea.
Another collection, "Stereo", highlights how Wasif shifts his lens to accommodate the architecture of inanimate objects that exist within the cityscape. Teetering on the edge of abstraction, these coloured sets of diptychs and triptychs observe various forms of uniformisation.
According to Wasif, "Kheyal" (2015-18) is a project that exists between reality and fiction. The different lives preluded to in his earlier photos of Puran Dhaka shifts into the psychological space of the four characters that make up the realm of this film.
Munem Wasif's photographs indicate the presence of an alternate, non-temporal belief system. Seeing the range of Wasif's work, most of which revolves around Dhaka, as individual projects in isolation would be a somewhat regressive approach to interpreting it. Instead, one should consider all of these projects as a combined body of work, like different parts of one single conversation.
At its core, the entire exhibition is an intimate conversation, that has been ongoing between the artiste and Dhaka for almost two decades, growing stronger in bond with each passing year.
"Kromosho" will run at Project 88 till December 31, 2022.