BANGALORE: “India is a diverse place and I wanted to explore every aspect of it,” says Jivan Frenster, a German photographer. He has a certain connection with the country. To begin with, his name is Indian and since his parents travelled through India extensively, he was raised with a strong Indian influence. Having been to India when he was four years old, he had always wanted to come back and during the month of April, Jivan got an opportunity to come to Bangalore as an artist sponsored by Goethe Institut Bangalore.
When he arrived in the city, he did not have a clear framework for his project. He wanted to discover the place first, meet the people, narrate their stories and document the city and the culture.
“I wanted to portray the feeling the city emanated, he says.” And exploring the city was an interesting experience. He has spent his time here visiting the bustling streets to capture the social realities and has interacted with the local people to get an insight into who they are and what they do. And he was stunned by the many visual impressions that the city conjured. “The small things fascinated me, be it the flex-prints at the Karaga festival near SB Road or the rangolis in the small streets where I stayed. I danced a lot, surrounded by a gang of drummers, in religious parades in the small streets. I rode in an auto-rickshaw which looked like a converted discotheque complete with LED lights and loud stereo system.”
Aiming to encapsulate these varied encounters, Jivan created portraits in flex, drawings and videos.
“One photo, which is a portrait of a man and a woman, brings out a certain essence of socio-political grievances being present in this culture. I have shot another photograph in a setting of an auto. From my perspective, the image brings forth an abstract organic pattern for a certain physical tension, of body, mind and soul. I was also drawn by the four-lined rangoli with a circle around it as for me it signified the male and the female archetypes in a relationship. At the same time, I have the fantasy that the rangoli looks like sand marks left behind after a spectacular stunt drive on the spot," he elaborates.
In all, Jivan has captured over 800 photos and videos seeking to bring the ordinary moments alive visually. Four of his self-made photographs were recently displayed at an exhibition ‘A Two-Letter Poem ~ O K’ at the Goethe Institut.
Though he is well-travelled, for him Bangalore has a certain appeal, a certain character that makes him want to come back again. “Every day was different. I discovered new places, I learnt about the cultural heritage, I met a lot of interesting people who have become my good friends, I learnt that life in India is interestingly different.”
But he feels that he has only discovered Bangalore. “There's a mountain of experiences that are waiting for me. I have made contacts with local artists, I have been involved in the cultural programmes they run and would like to collaborate with them again.”
Jivan will be travelling back to Germany end of this week, but he can’t wait to capture the city again with all its many moods and many stories.