Photoink is pleased to begin 2013 with the exhibition, Sleepers, the second series of colour photographs made by Dhruv Malhotra. This series emerged from his first work, Noida Soliloquy, which was exhibited in 2010. Being a chronic insomniac, Malhotra has consistently photographed the night. What sets his night photographs apart is his pointed intention to reveal what is concealed in the shadows of darkness. In Noida Soliloquy, the experience of the night is not obscured or made mysterious. Instead, the photographs made with long exposures, appear almost like day and surreal. It is in this visible darkness, that attention shifts to the anatomy of an aspiring metropolis and its in-between spaces. It was while wandering through the streets and parks of Noida that he photographed the sleeping figures he stumbled upon.
The desire to continue photographing ''sleepers'' led Malhotra to travel beyond Noida. He began to seek them everywhere he went. If photographs from Noida Soliloquy were largely marked by the absence of people, Sleepers is defined by their presence. What remains constant is the pervasive silence of the night, which is what primarily attracts the photographer to make photographs at night. Photographing sleeping figures is fraught with some risk since the process employed by Malhotra necessitates mounting his camera on a tripod and making long exposures in their close vicinity. Sometimes, the sleeping figure would awaken during the process and these ''moments of waking'' have translated on film. The inherent idea of a photograph being a record of a moment is transformed into motion as a result of these long exposures. Sleepers is as a much a commentary about urban life in India as much as it is a self-reflection of a photographer, who found himself, as he says, ''drifting through life without purpose, waiting for an awakening of dormant potential''.
BIOGRAPHY Dhruv Malhotra (b.1985) grew up in Jaipur. He majored in Economics from Mumbai University in 2006. Being chronically unable to sleep at night, he wanders the streets with his Mamiya 6 x 7 and a sturdy tripod. His work focuses on urban areas and cities at night and engages with issues of progress, modernity and the otherworldly. His first solo exhibition, Noida Soliloquy was held at Photoink in 2010. Photographs from his second series, Sleepers were included in a group exhibition at the Hyères Festival, France in early 2010, where he was awarded a year-long residency by the School of Visual Arts, New York. Sleepers had a solo presentation at the 2010 Brighton Photo Biennial in the exhibition, New Ways of Looking, curated by Martin Parr. Photographs from Sleepers were included in the exhibition, The Matter Within at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (2011) and a 3-person exhibition titled, Urban Landscapes – Indian case Studies curated by Deepak Ananth at The British School at Rome, Rome (2012).