Unsealed Chamber - The Transient Image

Galerie Romain Rolland - Alliance Française de Delhi

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This year marks the 195th anniversary of the first successful experimentation with photography as a novel form and patented as a new invention by the French practitioner Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1827. In honour of this occasion, Unsealed Chamber: The Transient Image is presenting four contemporary artists working with both analogue and digital methods, reacting to vital transformations following a year of introspection in the course of the pandemic.

Through newly made productions, Aparna Nori, Arpan Mukherjee, Indu Antony and Philippe Calia explore a sense of creative hybridity by melding both manual techniques and new media to reflect on questions of self, society, ecology and representation. With a focus on ongoing social concerns, sometimes as subjects within their own images, they make crucial contributions to the ever-growing cultural history of the craft of image-making and identity construction.

⇲ Curated by Rahaab Allana
⇲ Scenography is realized by Sukanya Baskar

  • Free Entry. Open to all.

  • Gallery visits from 11 am to 7 pm (venue rules applicable)

  • Observe social distancing and wear masks while in the gallery.

  • The number of visitors in the gallery may be regulated.

Curator & Scenographer

Rahaab Allana

Rahaab Allana

Sukanya Baskar

Sukanya Baskar


Aparna Nori

Aparna Nori

Arpan Mukherjee

Indu Antony

Indu Antony

Philippe Calia

Aparna Nori (b. 1975) is a photo-based artist based in Bangalore, India. She has a Master’s degree in Documentary filmmaking and works on commissioned assignments with magazines and creative teams. Aparna uses photography as a medium to explore ideas of memory, nostalgia, interpersonal connections and the connections with an environment around her. She includes diverse forms of expression in her practice with alternative photographic processes, moving images and bookmaking. In 2019, along with three other artists, Indu Anthony, Krishanu Chatterjee, Vivek Muthuramalingam, she conceptualised “Kānike”, a collective and space intended for the practice of contemporary art with an intention to foster creativity and shape new directions in learning.

Arpan Mukherjee (b. 1977) has studied BFA and MFA in printmaking from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. Immediate surroundings and personal interpretation of daily life are the basis of his work. He questions and critiques the discrimination, the political and economic state of society through research and documentation. For his works which are mostly process-based, he uses various 19th-century photographic mediums. Arpan is among the very few artists who work with ‘alternative photography’ in the country and has developed a practice-based research studio of the historical photographic process in Santiniketan, named ‘Studio Goppo’. He has participated in a number of exhibitions and workshops and has given lectures on photographic history as well as his own works, both nationally and internationally. In 2010, he was awarded ‘Photographer of the year’ from Better Photography. Presently he is teaching as Associate Professor in the department of printmaking at Visva-Bharati University.

Indu Antony (b. 1982) is a transdisciplinary artist based out of Bangalore and Kerala, India. She is known to explore tonalities of inward discussions that later burst out into communal spaces. Her work primarily revolves around the notion of spaces and their intangible character in relation to the gendered body as a site of representation by understanding feministic stands which gives way to performances and installations. Indu has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in India and abroad including Feminist Art Collective, Canada (2020); House17, Luxembourg (2019); Jimei x Arles Festival, China (2019); Chennai Photo Biennale (2019); Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (2018); Kochi-Muziris Biennale Collateral, (2018-19); FotoFest Biennale, Houston (2018); Queer Asia Photo Exhibition, London (2017) and Photo Kathmandu, Nepal (2015). She has been the recipient of the Public Art grant from the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and the Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) award for photography.

Philippe Calia (b.1985) is an artist, photographer and filmmaker, currently based in Bangalore. For the past ten years, he has been commissioned by various agencies, cultural and media institutions. His photo and video works have been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, Le Monde or The Indian Quarterly. Philippe’s engagement with the visual arts also takes shape through writing, education and curation. Since 2013, he has been collaborating with PIX as a photo editor. Between 2015 and 2020, he co-managed BIND, a platform for photography with a public photobook library in Mumbai. His personal work has been awarded, exhibited internationally, and is held in private collections. Some of his recent Honors and Awards include Honorable Mention, Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize (2020); Finalist, Prix de la Fondation Jean-Luc Lagardère (photographie) (2020); Laureate, “Writing and Emerging Forms” Grant – Civil Society of Multimedia’s Authors, Paris (2020) and Laureate, Visual Arts Commission – Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2019).

Rahaab Allana is Curator, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts; Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) and was previously, Honorary Research Associate at University College, London. He is on the board of the Trans-Asia Photography (TAP) Review; Founding Editor of PIX; Founder of the ASAP/art app; and has recently guest-edited Aperture Magazine’s 2021 summer issue on Delhi.

Sukanya Baskar is a curator, writer and researcher. Her work has developed closely alongside archives, with a focus on photography and moving image. Previously, she was working with PIX magazine as a Researcher and Design Consultant. As a part of her graduation project she worked on the photobook, ‘Witness: Kashmir 1986–2016 / Nine Photographers’ (Yaarbal Books, 2017) edited by Sanjay Kak, featured on the New York Times’ list of Best of photobooks of 2017. She is a graduate from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Center for Curatorial Studies, (CCS) at Bard College, New York.

Our partners

Alliance Française aims to promote the French language, showcase French culture and develop cultural ties between France and India. In India, there is a strong and vivid network of 13 Alliances Françaises, soon to be 14. Some centers have different branches in one state, among which Indore for Alliance Française de Bhopal, Baroda for Alliance Française d’Ahmedabad or Coimbatore for Alliance Française de Madras. Alliance Française in India works closely with Indian partner organizations as well as the French Embassy and the French Institute in India.

The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts (AFA) is a registered charitable trust, dedicated to the preservation of the cultural history of India through extensive research on photography. Housed in the foundation is the private collection of Ebrahim Alkazi, known as the Alkazi Collection of Photography, which comprises works in the form of photographic albums, single prints, paper negatives and glass-plate negatives, painted photographs, and photo postcards. The collection is particularly strong in areas such as archaeology, architectural history, the urban development of colonial cities, military studies, anthropological studies and topography.

Img © Philippe Calia

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