ARKO DATTO / WILL MY MANNEQUIN BE HOME WHEN I RETURN
“What hath night to do with sleep?” ―John Milton, Paradise Lost “WILL MY MANNEQUIN BE HOME WHEN I RETURN” is the first installment of an existential trilogy on the night and life that subsists in nightly spaces, often indirect and brutal confrontation with each other. After the travails of the day, nighttime is when life finds expression at its deepest, truest and most intense. It is these experiences, these encounters with living beings at night that the work explores. Completed over a span of four years, MANNEQUIN presents a portrait of the night in the Indian sub-continent.” Arko Datto
I experience this set of pictures by Arko Datto not just with my eyes, but also with my ears, my nose, my tongue. They have a synesthetic quality that simultaneously makes me laugh and makes me wretch. Some images are loud and intense, some are quieter and sadder, and some images catch in the back of your throat like a warm breeze off an open sewer. I’ve been aware of Datto’s work for a number of years, ever since I met him as a visiting lecturer at the School of Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark in 2013, where he was doing a one-year diploma for foreign students. (Following two Masters degrees in theoretical physics and the second in mathematics. Documentary Photography was clearly a natural progression, from exploring Topological Quantum Field Theories.)
Datto began work on this project in 2014, soon after his return from the dark days and light nights of Northern Europe. “I was honing my techniques and developing the project in my head during my time in Europe.” A nu-rave colour palette of day-glo pinks, greens and yellows inflects this series, giving the pictures a hallucinatory aesthetic. Fairy lights and bright pink saris, oversized rats chewing on the gristle of discarded flesh, swarms of moths and rasping trumpets. Is that goat pregnant? Is that gun real?
Photographer Arko Datto
Curated By Josh Lustig