Vivan Sundaram Is Not a Photographer
The Photographic Work of Vivan Sundaram
In this book, Ruth Rosengarten considers the expanded field of the ‘photographic’ in the work of Indian artist Vivan Sundaram, beginning with the notion that Sundaram is not a photographer in any traditional sense of that term. Discussing the ontological shift that photography has undergone in the age of digital production, Rosengarten considers ‘photography’ as more a practice than a medium. Exploring the uses of the historical artistic methods of assemblage, bricolage and the assisted readymade, she throws light on Sundaram’s individual uses, and subversions, of documentary photography. In each chapter, a single or two bodies of work are analysed, positioning Sundaram in relation to various propositions in which the relationship between photography and politics is probed. Often site-specific and always entailing the collaboration of numerous other practitioners, Sundaram’s work lays bare the limitations of individual studio practice and single authorship. The works, Rosengarten argues, invite us to consider and immerse ourselves materially in the ethical claims of photography, raising questions about archivalism in art practice, and throwing light on Sundaram’s locational commitment as a citizen artist.