Studies in Form is a collaborative body of work by Seher Shah and Randhir Singh. Consisting of six portfolios with 121 prints in total, the series examines modernist architecture through the medium of the cyanotype, an early photographic process and precursor to the blueprint. Shah and Singh’s interdisciplinary approach to architectural history combines photography, printmaking, and drawing to isolate specific elements of buildings and analyze architectural principles of scale, materiality, and mass. By abstracting form, Shah and Singh scrutinize the built environment and offer a compelling expansion of the canon of modernism.
Mining their personal archive, the artists culled photographs of concrete architecture constructed across multiple cities in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on four unique buildings: Akbar Bhavan (1969), New Delhi, by Shivnath Prasad; Barbican Estate (1976), London, by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon; Dentsu Head Office (1967), Tokyo, by Kenzō Tange; and Brownfield Estate (1970), London, by Ernö Goldfinger. By fragmenting images of these buildings, Shah and Singh dissect their forms in an attempt to represent the experiential and poetic qualities of their spaces, reappraise their modernist social aspirations, and reflect their respective contexts. Two additional portfolios, Flatlands Blueprints and Hewn Blueprints, evoke architectural plans and elevation drawings, transforming technical methods of conveying structure into expressive woodcuts that serve as a counterpoint as well as a potential starting point for a future architectural imaginary. Together, the compelling works in this exhibition demonstrate the influence of the built environment on our daily existence and reveal how interventions into our surroundings can spark inspiration and change.