This book celebrates Dayanita Singh as the 2022 winner of the Hasselblad Award, considered the most prestigious international photography prize.
Sea of Files highlights Singh’s consistent and unique engagement with the archive, both in a real sense (including the overflowing bundles of India’s public and private archives) and metaphorically: the archive as a vessel of cultural experience. The book includes Singh’s associative visual essay “Sea of Files” in its entirety, as well as—for the first time in a publication—“Museum of Innocence (The Madras Chapter)” and other series engaging with the meanings and materiality of archives. A personal essay by Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk explores the lyrical, silent reality of Singh’s photographs of state archives, for him images of aura and melancholy that evoke the “texture of memory,” “an idea of poetic decrepitude and a sense of profundity,” as well as “dignified resistance even when the passage of time makes everything meaningless.” The book furthermore shows how Singh has paved new ways for engaging with photography, be it through humanist portraiture, or her innovative display structures and book objects which recast traditional notions of the museum and publishing.
Co-published with the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg
Dayanita Singh was born in New Delhi in 1961 and studied at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and the International Center of Photography in New York.
Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; the Art Institute of Chicago; Hayward Gallery, London; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. In 2013 she represented Germany at the Venice Biennale. Bookmaking is central to Singh’s practice.
Her books with Steidl include Privacy (2004), Chairs (2005), Go Away Closer (2007), Sent a Letter (2007), Dream Villa (2010), File Room (2013), Museum of Chance (2014), Museum Bhavan (2017)—Book of the Year at the 2017 Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards and winner of the 2018 ICP Infinity Award for Artist’s Book—and Zakir Hussain Maquette (2019). Singh is the 2022 Hasselblad Award recipient.