|Title||India Song||Posted in||Photography, Book||Editor||Rosa Maria Falvo|
|Publisher||Skira Editore||Format||24 x 28 cm, 160 pages, 75 colour images, hardcover||ISBN||8857222356|
If you are an artist interested in how power and politics manifest through art and design, you’ll inevitably find yourself investigating India and its history at some point, just as London-based photographer Karen Knorr recently did. Well read, politically sensitive and a conceptual art-savvy photographer, Knorr has travelled across Northern India since 2008, photographing the interiors of the land’s opulent and colourful old palaces, temples and forts with a large format Sinar camera (in a way that inevitably reminds of Robert Polidori’s Versailles project and of course the oeuvre of Massimo Listri). What makes Knorr’s work stand out however, is the way in which she combines these awe-inspiring interiors — a persistent symbol of princely power and affluence — with the images of local animals, as if the world was turned on its head and the birds, mammals and reptiles of India have taken over. This polysemous and visually captivating body of work, bearing the evocative title India Song, was published last year as a large-format art book by Skira Editore, accompanied by insightful essays and an interview with the artist that elaborate on the concepts and issues behind the whole project.
Knorr photographed both the interiors and the animals herself, which she then combined using Photoshop. Although these images could be read as humorous and fairytale-like, there is much more to think about once you scratch under their surface: through her India Song series, Knorr manages to link the imagery of the famously zoomorphic Ramayana culture of Northern India with current social and political issues, such as the allegories we use to represent gender, the domination of Man over nature, post-colonialism and the aesthetics of power. Conscious about allowing her images to remain ambiguous and open to interpretations, much like Aesop’s fables, there is a certain wisdom and a lesson to be learned in Knorr's seductive and mysterious images — a lesson about our relationship to one another and the world around us.