Abul Kalam Azad has developed an aesthetic of excess in his photography. Shifting bases between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, he left behind a career in photojournalism in Delhi to follow his own path. In so doing, he has made a unique body of work, quite unlike anything else in our contemporary photo scene.
Azad shoots like a maniac – his frantic camera is an extension of an eye driven by a fevered mind. That fevered mind is a perfect reflection of our crazy culture – everything is worthy of being seen. The personal is political – the political is personal – that adage only applies to a part of his work. Left politics seen from the inside, religious ritual as street-side happening, blatant sexuality and marginalized sexual desire, drugged and drunken excess, the glories of classical music and dance, quotidian little details – his images teem with a life which cannot be contained.
Azad has been blogging and publishing on Facebook with pictures and texts which show his keen interest in context. Personal histories, moments in time, mythical, cultural and political history all spill out in bursts – but reveal his interest in the specific and the rooted. The images are not abstract. Yet they have a cumulative visual power, which can only be understood by seeing them in excess.
This is how I hope to show his work in the United Art Fair in September in Delhi.
Ram Rahman, April 27, 2013