Monday, April 19, 2010

The Romance of Red Stone

You are cordially invited to the book launch of

The Romance of Red Stone
An Appreciation of Ornament 
on Islamic Architecture in India

Photographs by
Yashwant Pitkar
Text by
Mustansir Dalvi

Published by M S Lehri
Super Book House
11” x11”
256 pages

Friday 23rd April 2010, 5.30pm
at the Claude Batley Gallery
Sir JJ College of Architecture, 78/3 DN Road, Mumbai

Ms. Tasneem Mehta,
Convener, Greater Mumbai Chapter of INTACH
Honorary Director and Managing Trustee
of Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai
has kindly consented to release the book on the occasion.

We look forward to your presence 
on the evening of the 23rd.

YD Pitkar  MM Dalvi

About the Book

In The Romance of Red Stone, Yashwant Pitkar presents architectural ornament as a feast of craftsmanship, an enduring romance with shape and stone in its unending variations. Pitkar’s photographs allow the viewer to appreciate Islamic ornament on architecture at a level removed from the formal- as an articulated surface. An architect first, then a photographer, Pitkar’s images reflect his love and admiration  for the buildings of Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, amongst others, which he captures in a way he knows best, up close and personal.

His unique photographic gaze is like that of a Mughal miniature painter, or a Company artist, taking the viewer close to the buildings, enough to shut out the dominating forms of the architecture to be immersed right into the aesthetics of surface. For those familiar with these buildings, the photographs allow a return, a recollection of architecture as a phenomenon, giving a sensual experience of places visited; an effective feel for the infinite craft.

Pitkar’s images also work at a deeper philosophical level. The viewer is made aware of the inner meaning of aesthetic representation, of the different ways of inducing the immeasurable. The plays of multiple superimposed levels and of forms and patterns continue like an incantation beyond the photographer’s frame suggesting the infinite.

Mustansir Dalvi’s text complements Pitkar’s photographs by guiding the reader to an understanding of the variety and symbolism of ornamental forms that grace Islamic architecture, especially in the Indian context. Ornament in its many manifestations transforms the architecture, dematerializing immense monuments into elegant jewel-boxes. Dalvi shows how artisan and patron came together in India in a unique integration of two divergent world views and cultures to create a lasting syncretism of Islamic and Hindu traditions that reached its zenith in the architecture of the Mughal period.