Through his lens he communicates with space; light, texture and color are his friends. Together they create unique compositions and art that will seduce you. Sanjay Nanda captures the realities as well as absurdities of life in time and space through his lens which have taken the form of stunning pieces of art on many a walls.
Often times he treads out into the urbanscape and captures the moments from everyday life which go unnoticed but are unique to their surroundings and strangely elegant.
Sanjay shoots a variety of subjects. He looks for scenes that he can compose in a thought provoking way and colour combinations that somehow stir him without attempting to edit the work or discriminate when in the field. When he gets back to his studio, he sorts through his images, and then chooses the ones that have a staying power for him. He is not interested in merely reproducing a particular scene or image photographically; he is more interested in collecting the raw visual materials that allow him to explore the inherent dynamics and tensions of the picture plane.
Yantra Mantra, Spaces, Sielwalks are just some of Sanjay’s solo shows on his art and photography organised in India’s capital, New Delhi.
I was particularly fascinated by his Yantra Mantra collection. These are images of a historic structure, the Jantar Mantar, which is collection of architectural astronomical instruments. Jantar Mantar – which is actually pronounced, as ‘Yantra Mantra’, Yantra for instrument and Mantra for formula – is not only a timekeeper of celestial bodies, it also tells a lot about the technological achievements under the Rajput kings and their attempt to resolve the mysteries regarding astronomy. These seemingly abstract structures create fascinating graphical forms which change throughout the day with the movement of the sun across the horizon.
Sanjay has been drawn to Jantar Mantar, where he has found colours and forms that he has not seen anywhere else. In this body of work, he has focused on two-dimensional surfaces and the abstract images that are formed through time, weather and/or human interaction with building materials. These images document the history of ordinary (or perhaps not so ordinary) moments and the end result is incidental beauty. His work is really a collaboration with forces and elements that have preceded him; it is about a connection between the physical world and the non-material world in an attempt to make visible what others may not have seen.
Sanjay’s collection encompasses all from the moment the first rays of the sun strike its precisely calibrated surfaces and bathe it in soft glowing light to create a dream-like appearance; to the midday sun creating strong patterns and bringing our the fascinating textures with the interplay of light and shadow; and finally, to the golden glow of the setting sun, setting the earthy colour of the structures on fire in all the varied hues from deep yellow to orange to ochre to red. These images are a result of numerous undulating days spread through many seasons spent in the presence of these forgotten wonders. The Jantar Mantar used to be a part of India’s rich scientific heritage. Used to be, but today, it has fallen into disuse, and is lost, in time and space.
He has indeed captured the patina of this historic monument whispering its tales and touching hearts of many.