Kalpesh Lathigra

Work Text Exhibition Catalogue Inquiry

An odyssey into what life could have been

In Hindu mythology there was once the common idea that if a Hindu left their homeland and crossed the sea away from India they would lose their very being. The implication would be no more religion or caste and therefore trapped in the reincarnation cycle ad infinitum.
Artist Kalpesh Lathigra reflects on how enigmatic this idea was for him growing up in Britain, and he reflected on this theme for his new project, “my family had crossed that sea but we were still Indians in the UK, and British Non-Resident Indians in India”.

On the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin, Anahita Contemporary ­presents the first solo show and European debut of London-based artist Kalpesh Lathigra. The dialogue and encounter with people and places in Mumbai is the central guiding principle of the exhibition Mémoire Temporelle.

In his work, Kalpesh Lathigra explores the themes of identity, homeland and origin. The exhibition combines large-scale portraits with still lifes, land­scapes and urban scenes. His concep­tual practice is characterized by a variety of atmospheric motifs in which light and color merge to create a reality of complex ambiguity. Abstract and narrative pictorial elements invite viewers* to infer the meanings of the images.

Having grown up in London, Kalpesh ­Lathigra began Mémoire Temporelle as an odyssey into what life could have been, had his family not migrated from India to Africa, and then to the UK, over the course of three generations.

All of the photographs were shot in Mumbai – the city he identifies as a spiritual home. It represents to him a sacred and imaginative ­place. Possibly a muse in the notion of a new place of longing.

What inspired these mixed memories of India? Where did they come from? And more significantly: What initiated that hüzün – that particularly melancholic longing for a place? In Istanbul: Memories and the City, Orhan Pamuk describes hüzün as the feeling of a veil over reality – a calming and clouding phenomenon that brings comfort.

The pictures of Mémoire Temporelle were taken in eight trips over a period of three years, from 2016–2019. Each photograph is related to a journey taken. The imagery contains portraits and ­parrots, roads and reflections and flowers and fires, shot in both black & white and colour. What ­unites all of these objects and scenes can be described as “emotional resonances”, from memories both present and long gone.

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra was born in London in 1971 and studied photo­graphy at the London College of Printing. His work has won ­multiple national and international awards, including the World Press Photo Award in the Arts category. He is a recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Fellowship and Churchill Fellowship. Kalpesh Lathigra is a visiting lecturer at Syracuse University (USA) and London South Bank University. Mémoire Temporelle is his European solo-exhi­bition debut.

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