New York : Derry Moore
India, Vintage + Color

United States, written by Sybile Girault

Derry Moore, Young Boy in Burdwan House, Calcutta, 1977. Courtesy sepiaEYE.

SepiaEYE, a New York gallery specializing in photographers from India and the Far East, is currently holding Derry Moore’s first solo exhibition in America. The show runs through July 30th.

Trained by the British photographer Bill Brandt, Moore visited India for the first time in 1971 to document Indian palaces, some of which were barely still standing. Impressed by the blend of local architecture combining European influences with Indian techniques, Moore expertly captured the nostalgia inspired by the castles from another era. From Calcutta, Delhi and Hyderabad to Lucknow, Mumbai and Udaipur, Moore takes the viewer on a timeless journey through two ancient cultures, Indian and European.

What’s striking about these immense and richly decorated palaces are their gigantic sizes, the sheer amount of decorations and embellishments, and the feeling that they were deserted by the families who once lived there. Rats eat the offerings of food laid out on altars of prayer, solitary guards open the large doors onto silent salons, and painted cardboard cutouts have replaced their hosts. The living look like statues, frozen like prisoners of the past. Only Satyajit Ray, the Bengali director, seems real, lost in a book in this Calcutta library.

Outside life reasserts itself. The luxurious vegetation, ponds and fields bordering the palace all murmur? Men work the land, erecting bamboo structures that will one day form the structures of a marriage tent. A camouflaged hunter awaits his prey on an arid Bikaner plain. Men cross a river on foot, carrying towering bundles of wood on their heads.

Derry Moore’s photographs transport the future into a timeless India, a lost world isolated from the progress of civilization. This is the India of dreams, fascinating and eternal.

Derry Moore : Vintage + Color
Until July 30th, 2014
547 West 27th Street #608

New York, NY 10001

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