Dayanita Singh

Dayanita Singh

Stealing in the Night

One full moon night, a mysterious burglar broke into the home of renowned Indian photographer Dayanita Singh, and stole all the used film rolls from under her bed. This strange incident became the beginning of the project 'Dream Villa'.

”I came to photography through music.” In this interview Dayanita Singh (b.1961) explains how she decided to become a photographer because it meant she would not have to follow the general rules of society, but in stead would be independent and free. It was music which taught her to be focused, and it also taught her the importance of knowing when to stop: While people want more.”Making pictures is maybe just ten procent of what I do. The rest of it is thinking about the form, the editing and the sequence. In that I am always looking to literature.”

Starting in the 1980s Dayanita Singh worked as a photo journalist on assignments for international magazines and newspapers, before switching to documentary-style and portrait photography. Singh first became known for her portraits of India's urban middle and upper-class families. Many of her works are now part of the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. Singh has exhibited all over the world and received numerous prices, amongst others the 2008 Gardner Photography Fellowship, given by Peabody Museum at Harvard.

The main focus of this interview is Singh's later colour photography, especially the project which changed her approach to photography completely: 'Dream Villa'. "You get seduced by it's beauty, but actually it's not a very pleasent place at all" Singh says about the saturated color photographs. In 'Dream Villa' Singh explores how the night transforms what seems ordinary by day into something mysterious and unsettling. ”Dream Villa is a location in my head” she begins.

Dayanita Singh is one of the artists representing Germany at the Venice Biennale 2013.

Dayanita Singh was interviewed by Michael Juul Holm at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2012.

Edited by: Kamilla Bruus.
Music: Thomas Knak.
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Ragnar Kjartansson & Mother

    On ’Me and My Mother’

    Every five years, artist Ragnar Kjartansson asks his mother to spit on him for several minutes in front of a camera. The Icelandic mother and son here discuss the fascinating performance, which Kjartansson argues has become “like a part of our family life.”

  • William Kentridge

    Reduced to Being an Artist

    ”One can always write ones biography in the terms of the failures which have saved you.” Meet South African artist William Kentridge in this extensive and humorous reflection upon life and his relationship with art.

  • Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins

    In Conversation

    “My vote is for incoherence.” We brought together two young artists, who have taken the art world by storm. Experience Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins in this video where they talk about each other’s video works and their contexts.

  • Joshua Oppenheimer

    Why Do We Watch Non-Fiction?

    Watch Joshua Oppenheimer – the director behind award-winning documentaries such as ‘The Act of Killing’ and ‘The Look of Silence’ – comment on non-fiction’s power to intervene by presenting a different story than the official one.

  • Wura-Natasha Ogunji

    Beauty in the Streets of Lagos

    Performance and visual artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji here shares her intense experience with the four-hour performance ‘Beauty’, where she and a group of other women have their hair braided together in a public space in Lagos, Nigeria.

  • John Baldessari

    Art is who I am

    “I never liked to be called a Los Angeles artist.” Meet conceptual artist John Baldessari, who many describe as a cultural symbol and the grandmaster of the Los Angeles art scene. “My perception of the city is very ugly. But that’s attractive too. It’s very seductive.”

  • Erik A. Frandsen

    Drawing Out Memories

    Distinguished Danish artist Erik A. Frandsen here shares how the trance-like experience of a 35 days and 1,050-kilometre long walk was transferred into a stunning exhibition of multi-coloured mosaic columns and beautiful watercolour sketches.

  • David Shrigley

    Advice to the Young

    “You’re on the right track if you’re excited about what you’re doing.” David Shrigley, known for his humorous spin on common situations, here advises his colleagues to be open to learning from mistakes and stresses that being an artist “isn’t for everybody.”

  • Manal Al Dowayan

    Protecting Words

    “The written word is about engaging the viewer.” Let us introduce you to the cool Saudi Arabian artist Manal Al Dowayan, who here shares why she has chosen to integrate words into her art – and why they are so powerful.

  • Irma Boom

    Passion for Books

    “The idea of an ‘artist’s book’ is ridiculous. Then don’t call it a book. Then it’s a piece of art.” In this extensive interview from her studio, Irma Boom shows us a selection of her unique books and shares the story of why she became a book designer.

  • Reiulf Ramstad

    The Nordic Way of Building

    Learn about the intriguing philosophy and projects of the award-winning Norwegian Reiulf Ramstad Architects in this interview with its founder, Reiulf Ramstad: “Architecture is on trial in relation to the development of the way we live.”

  • Rachel Kushner

    On Art and Gender

    “I’m not sure how much gender bias affects my life or not at this moment.” Rachel Kushner, author of the best-selling novel ‘The Flamethrowers’, here comments on gender imbalance in the art world, and what an intricate thing it can be.