Mumbai Art Room
When Madhuban Mitra and Manas Bhattacharya first visited the National Instruments Ltd. camera factory in Kolkata in 2009, they found the building, despite having only recently been shuttered, in a romantic state of abandonment. Reconfigured in 1957 as a Nehruvian public-sector enterprise, NIL is famous for having manufactured India’s only 35-mm camera, the National 35. “Through a Lens, Darkly”a 2010–11 exhibition at Photoink in New Delhi comprising photographs of NIL’s dusty interior and camera parts scattered on factory worktables, and a stop-motion film made by taking a National 35 on a tour of its own birthplacewon Mitra and Bhattacharya the inaugural Skoda Breakthrough Artist Award for 2011. More recently they revisited the institution’s patina of decrepitude in “Palimpsest,” a two-work show at the Mumbai Art Room, the city’s premier nonprofit exhibition space.
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