until 11.09. | #3136ARTatBerlin | BBA Gallery presents since 17th August 2021 (Opening 25.08.) the solo exhibition Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua / Into The Underworld of the New Zealand artist Chirag Jindal.
Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua / Into the Underworld’ sees the New Zealand artist Chirag Jindal creating otherworldly-looking images through the use of photographic documentation. The works, shaped by a highly aesthetic and original visual language, manage to embrace the surreal while simultaneously provoking nostalgia through the use of apparition. His images invite the spectator to dive deeper into the story. As a result, there is something cinematic about entering the visual fidelity of Jindal’s subject — the underworld.
Jindal’s interest in the urban environment can be traced back to his MA Degree in Architecture which he received in 2016. He has been represented by BBA Gallery ever since 2019 when he won the BBA Photography Prize. ‘Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua / Into the Underworld’ will mark his first solo show at both BBA Gallery and in Europe.
His ongoing 2018 debut series, which shares its title with the exhibition, unites creative photography with one of the most innovative technologies in the field. The idea of mergence is central to Jindal’s work which witnesses the blending of two different worlds. The artist is adamant that his images are concerned with the simultaneous co-existence of these differing worlds, even if the relationship is conflictual. The notion of co-existence is reflected in the bilingual exhibition title where neither the Māori nor the English counterpart serve as subtitles but stand on their own, on equal ground.
Of course, topographically, this is not the case. Jindal’s photography explores the underground lava caves of Auckland which are experiencing rapid marginalisation, desecration and destruction due to a century of overhead urbanisation. The series has therefore an inherently environmental as well as a social undertone as these caves are considered wāhi tapu (sacred) by mana whenua (local Māori groups) whom Jindal collaborates closely with. Due to their concealed nature, these caves have been reduced to a fictionalised, rumoured urban myth with most people unaware of the unique heritage of the volcanic region. Although more than fifty of these caves have been recorded, few are expected to remain at the end of the century, mainly due to the onslaught of developers.
This ephemeral, haunting emotion is felt in Jindal’s work via its dark, translucent environment. Despite this, it is always the underground cave which emanates the brightest in his images. The series largely consists of prints but it is Jindal’s use of the light box medium which truly enables his work to shine. The subdued, almost hypnotic glow of the caves reaches beyond the picture space, drawing the viewer into its hidden world. The exhibition also provides a behind the scenes look which shows the process behind Jindal’s underground effort to record these endangered environments. It is all too often that these sacred sites are thought of in historical terms. Jindal’s concurrent landscape cements these heritage sites in the present, championing the minimisation of future damage. It is the artist’s hope that the documentation of these disappearing sites will act as a first step towards a shift in urban policy, one that is directed towards recognition and preservation instead of destruction.
To prevent these subterranean sites from falling into oblivion, Jindal employs the empirical help of terrestrial LiDAR — an emerging form of lens-based imaging that is often applied in areas such as archaeology and criminology. Taking light as its medium, the instrument indexes the surrounding environment as millions of precisely-measured points, translating it into a digital replica.
Chirag Jindal während der Aufnahmen der Lava-Höhlen in Neuseeland
About the artist
NZ-based artist Chirag Jindal works at the intersection of documentary journalism, new media and contemporary cartography. After graduating with his MA in Architecture, Jindal founded a 3D surveying practice to document urban landscapes, collaborating closely with scientists, architects, indigenous groups and local governments. His work has been widely exhibited at international festivals and recognised by leading photography institutions, including the Interphoto Grand Prix in Poland, the Backlight Photo Triennale in Finland and the BBA Photography Prize in Berlin. In 2020, Jindal was awarded the Under 30s Gold Award by the Royal Photographic Society in London.
BBA Gallery, in collaboration with Jindal, is excited to announce an artist-led workshop where people with a sincere interest in this new photographic form can explore the opportunities this medium — that is still at its experimental stage within creative photography — has to offer. The workshop will take place during Berlin Photo Week where a selection of Jindal’s images will also be exhibited.
Date: Sunday, 29 August
Time: 5 hours (11:00 – 16:00)
Fee: 295€ 190€ per participant
Participants: 4 (minimum) to 9 (maximum)
What to bring: Personal Laptop — Ideally newer than 3 years and/or with a dedicated graphics card
Opening: Wednesday ,25 August 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., the artist is present.
Artist Talk (live on Insta): Saturday, 28. August 2021, 1:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Tuesday, 17 August until Saturday, 11 September 2021To the Gallery
Exhibition Chirag Jindal – BBA Gallery | Contemporary Art – Kunst in Berlin – Exhibiitons Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin