CHENNAI: It was a walk through a fantasy land where toy animals came alive, a mountain looked like a brain x-ray and Wonder Woman was ambushed by tooth picks. Photographer Madhavan Palanisamy, in his new collection, In Dreams, has brought out an entire world where the photographs almost speak to each other.
His collection has little to do with actual dreams. “When you see somebody doing something he isn’t supposed to, we say, ‘he is living in a dream’. You are moving away from living a certain reality and you get into a state of sub-conscious (which you see in the works here),” he explains.
He also shared the inception of some of his clicks. “Some by luck and some were intentional. I’ve combined different still-life photographs with many toys,” he said, pointing to a photograph where three toy animals seemed to emerge out of a camera on a rough mountain surface. This is how he interpreted it: “The mountain looks like the CT scan of a brain, the toys are memories and the camera is the sub-conscious.” Indeed, it was!
Back in school, Madhavan loved to read fairytales and other Children’s Tamil literature. As he grew, he moved on to magic realism and fantasy novels. Now we know where his inspiration evolves from.
But why did he use a lot of animals? He had a different theory as opposed to fantasy, touching upon Carl Jung’s theory of collective unconscious. “At some point of time, during one of our past lives, we were born as animals. There are some experiences we are born with and a few memories buried in our sub-conscious. We’re not aware of them, due to our disconnect to our past lives as humans and animals. That’s why I chose animals,” he explains, and adds that he had arranged the pictures to interlink stories.
For instance, the Wonder Woman sprawled in the centre of tooth picks seems tame but when your eyes move to the next picture of a cactus, you sense danger.
“My method is to go beyond regular thoughts and come up with creative ideas. My collection is my hypnotic state of thinking.” Yeah, that about sums it up! (Visit Focus 2 Art Gallery, TTK Road for his collection,)