Fabien Charuau speaks Hindi, has lived in India for fifteen years and possesses a manic energy that is infectious.
Over two collections (entitled The Great Unwashed and Stumble Asleep) that cover the walls of the Matthieu Foss Gallery in Mumbai, he has used unique crops and the same set of subjects to explore the Indian male form as well as the idea of such men’s dreams.
The two collections of photographs are in turns poignant, dramatic, documentary and slightly troubling. They possess a two-sides-of-the-same-coin quality that prompts the viewer to want to see more while simultaneously making them want to avert their eyes.
The Stumble Asleep pictures are framed as perfect squares and arranged along one length of the gallery as slashes of pictorial narrative that tell a story over multiple frames (almost like a storyboard for dreams). Even a cursory examination quickly reveals how easy it would be to re-imagine what the ‘dreamer’ in each narrative sees, simply by changing the order in which certain pictures are presented.
While the tall frames of The Great Unwashed series are impressive and eye-catching I found myself repeatedly drawn to the strung-together narratives of Stumble Asleep. In the embedded video at the bottom of this post I’ve attempted to draw other parallels and contrasts in his works by showing frames from the two collections side-by-side. It all adds up to a fascinating set of pictures that put a fresh spin on the way everyday India has been photographed.
Mr. Charuau’s work is on display at the Matthieu Foss Gallery until 30th September, 2010.