From Andrew Frost…
Born in Bangladesh but raised in Sydney, Omar Chowdhury has returned to that vastly populated country to investigate the spiritual lives of its people in the city of Old Dhaka, and in the countryside near his relative’s home. The result is Ways, a series of video installations including three single screen projections and a three-screen installation piece.
Chowdhury’s aesthetic is both minimal and maximal – the camera remains on a subject for long periods of time without cuts and slowly a sense of place and purpose emerge, while the videos themselves, from Vastness in Eclipse [31 mins] and Torsions I and II [106 mins to Locus I [149 mins] and Locus II [74 mins] demand a degree of concentration and viewing commitment beyond the abilities of most average gallery visitors.
The beauty of Chowdhury’s aesthetic emerges in the monumental running times of the works, and in his unwavering observation of the votive actions and religious gatherings of individuals and crowd’s, an eye that moves beyond ethnography into something that only a video installation can achieve.
Until August 2
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Haymarket
Pic: Omar Chowdhury, Vastness in Eclipse, 2014. 3 channel, 31mins 14sec, HD video, 2.35:1, Colour, Stereo.