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> Fire Continuum

Fire Continuum

Ronny Sen

23 August - 29 September, 2018


Fire Continuum is Ronny Sen’s second solo exhibition at TARQ. Following his last exhibition in Mumbai, New World Chronicles of an Old World Colour presented in 2016, this exhibition continues to highlight Sen’s photographic engagement with the contemporary landscape. Shifting his lens to Jharia, a coal mining town in Jharkhand, the artist looks deeply into the current issue of environmental degradation that has made life unlivable in some parts of the world.

Sen captures images of the coal fire that has been burning in Jharia since the early 1900s, as well as unethical and unsustainable mining practices that continue in the area till today. The result of this is a set of entirely surreal images that are simultaneously morbid and immeasurably beautiful. Initially published as a book titled End of Time (Nazar Photography Monographs 04) in 2017, the photographs in the exhibition allow an opportunity to explore in detail how precious the environment is in this very moment.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue essay penned by Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London, Christopher Pinney. In his essay Pinney examines the singular white Hindustan Ambassador in the series and says, “Looking back and forth over the translucent, almost archetypal and emblematical images of this extraordinary cruel and viscous landscape, one is stopped short, almost with a jolt by a (to my eyes) sardonic photograph near the beginning of the series that depicts a white Hindustan Ambassador at the absolute centre of a dead, heavy, landscape…[this car] helps us understand that his accomplishment is not so much to provide a way into Jharia, since his images eschew the specific temporal and spatial precision of much photography. He clearly uses his camera to provide a different pathway, a way into the future, which is not only India’s, a future that has already begun, and which has no end.”

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Ronny Sen


Ronny Sen (b. 1986, Silchar) is a film director, writer and photographer based in Calcutta. His debut feature film Cat Sticks world premiered in the competition section at Slamdance Film Festival, 2019 where it won the jury honorable mention. He has previously directed television documentaries for BBC. He started his career as a photographer and has made two artist books, Khmer Din (2013) and End of Time (2016). He was invited to be an artist in residence in Japan by The Japan Foundation in 2013 and in Poland by the Polish Institute in 2016. He received the Getty Images Instagram Grant in 2016 for his work in Jharia coal mines which were shown in his debut solo exhibition in 2018 titled, Fire Continuum at TARQ in Mumbai.

His works are included in the permanent collection of the Alkazi Collection of Photography.

Press

  • Ronny Sen – ‘The work is about the apocalypse in a certain way, where everything will go to the fire and the dust’

    Ronny Sen talks about photographing the out-of-control fires burning underground in the coal mines of Jharia, India, how he ensures every image has something it reveals and something it hides, and the death of Kolkata. He photographs the explosions by daylight: in Jharia End of Time 11 (2014), a plume of grey and brown smoke curls into the sky, while a patch of dried grass uncannily matches its colours.

    Sen is also a film-maker; his first feature film, Cat Sticks (2019), received an honourable mention at the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival.

    Studio International
    09 Apr 2019
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  • Highlighting environmental issues by capturing reality

    Photographer Ronny Sen’s second solo show at Mumbai’s Tarq Gallery is titled Fire Continuum. Following his last exhibition in Mumbai, New World Chronicles Of An Old World Colour, presented in 2016, the new exhibition, Fire Continuum, continues to highlight Sen’s photographic engagement with the contemporary landscape. Shifting his lens to Jharia, a coal mining town in Jharkhand, the artist looks deeply into the current issue of environmental degradation that has made life unlivable in some parts of the world.

    18 Aug 2018
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  • Witnessing the Apocalypse

    Ronny Sen's exhibition on the coal mining town of Jharia takes a deep look at environmental degradation

    The Afternoon DC
    07 Sep 2018
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  • Road to Perdition

    Brown forests, lakes of fire. Burning mountains and broken temples. Empty villages — all consumed by toxic fumes. In photographer Ronny Sen’s rendition of Jharia - a coal mining town in Jharkhand, the earth seems to come alive of its own accord. Sprouting neither greens nor grain, it implodes and explodes as though in rage, unable to contain the fire that has been burning in its belly for over a century.

    The Hindu
    07 Sep 2018
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  • Highway to Hell

    On a livid colour wall, in 21 photographs of 9 x 6.75 inches, a fire is burning. As static as the photographs are, the sequentially changing shapes of the flames emerging out of the pitch-black ground gives mobility to the immobile. These photographs along with the 40 other photographs exhibited at Tarq, an art gallery in Colaba, narrates the tale of the infamous coal fires that have been burning in Jharia for more than hundred years. And the storyteller is the Kolkata-based photographer and filmmaker Ronny Sen.

    Asian Age
    12 Sep 2018
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  • Embers of the Dying Future

    Photographs offer a documentation of a time. One singular moment, reference, trigger of a memory that was. Fire Continuum, previously published as End of Time, tells of time that will continue as is; the beginning of endlessness, when nothing will move along with the days making it appear as though this, that is now, will last forever.

    Matters of Art
    27 Sep 2018
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