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

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Karin Mamma Andersson

    Paintings as Weapons

    “It is the psyche of the artist that is the product, it sprung from your own well, it’s your own water,” says Sweden’s great painter Karin Mamma Andersson in this portrait. “The moment you dig into something, it becomes a sort of self-image.”

  • Daniel Richter

    On Vienna vs. Berlin

    “As ‘a working tourist’ in Vienna you see all these smells of the past and not all of them are disgusting.” Hear why German painter Daniel Richter prefers Vienna – where he works as professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien – over Berlin.

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 5 Artists

    on Making Sculptures

    “All sculpture that I’m interested in knows that death is the inevitable conclusion.” Award-winning artist Antony Gormley sees art as the expression and generation of hope. Hear how he and five other artists work with sculpture.

  • Karl Ove Knausgård

    Literature Should be Ruthless

    Karl Ove Knausgård has enchanted the literary world with ‘My Struggle’, a novel of more than 3000 pages about his own life. Watch the star author discuss literature, writing and how his autobiographical style is closely connected to fiction.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Joan Jonas

    Advice to the Young

    “Love what you do. Because it’s not easy. It’s not easy to make art.” Watch as the iconic video and performance artist Joan Jonas advises her younger colleagues to enjoy what they’re doing as you never know how people will respond to your work.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Daniel Libeskind

    Tribute to New York

    “If you took the whole world and collapsed it into one little ball, you’d find it here, in this city.” Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect behind the new World Trade Center site, gives tribute to his city in this short and colourful video.