‘X-rays are a sane and detached way to see people’

PSYCHOLOGIES: Dhiraj Singh, 39, Artist                                                                                                                                                                                 WHO: Singh is a Delhi born and based mixed-media artist. He started his career as an art journalist, with a PG Diploma in Journalism from Asian College of Journalism. He has exhibited at the 2009 Indian Art Summit, the India-Australia show at Art Konsult, New Delhi, and the Aakriti Art Gallery in Kolkata.

Why do you use X-rays as installations? 
I was a sickly child who made a lot of trips to the hospital. The image of X-rays stayed with me. It lets me explore what lies beyond surfaces. It’s not macabre, but a sane and detached way of seeing people. There’s a lot of beauty there. I can do so much with the texture, and the play of light and darkness. A work of art is not an end product; it has a back-story that extends into the cosmos. With X-rays, I can engage with the story. 

Your vision for X-rays ? 
I want to go bigger with my installations. Right now, they are indoors, lit artificially. I want to set them up in natural lighting. I want them to be a public engagement. 

Why switch from journalism to art? 
Covering the art beat, I was exposed to a lot of art and artists. What we call the back of the book can address our journalistic concerns better as it takes an abstract view and includes everything in a layered manner. Gradually I grew disillusioned by normal standards of journalism. I was growing as a person and found news cycles confining. I began to express that through art. 

How much of your journalism do you put in art? 
My work is more informed by my knowledge. I did this installation in Australia called The Black Tide. I wanted to combine the imagery of a coastal Australia that celebrates surfing, with its racist past and the genocide of the aboriginals. I’d read so much about the racial violence that I could pick on these themes. My journalistic training betters what I create. 

What do you think about art writing in India? 
There are various audiences. One, which is interested in the business. Another, which cares about the aesthetic value. A third, that functions as a social registry following the who’s who. I’m interested in reading those who track new trends, practices and lesser-known artists. But such writings happen on too small a scale. Art writing will improve once people look at art not just as a decorative product but a way of seeing the world. Good art has to change perceptions.
As told to Aradhna Wal

(Pic: Black Tide 1 & 2)
Tehelka magazine, Vol 9, Issue 21, Dated 26 May 2012; online version here


  1. Thanks... though from one Lakhnawi to another... I ain't thrilled to be called Delhi-born :)

  2. Debabrata MohantyMay 19, 2012 at 1:38 AM


  3. Why delhi....o delhi? Who singh...i can imagine..i cud have lived with 'apsarapur too but delhi....hahaha

  4. Sarita RavindranathMay 19, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Nice, dhiraj :-) when are you bringing
    your work to Chennai?

  5. Awesome article!

  6. aare wah..sir respect

  7. I look forward to seeing your work in Canberra on the 31st ++++ R&F

  8. Strong Work like the depth in your work very beautiful work.


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