Mahadevi’s Divine Power, Bara Mahal (India Song)

Archival Pigment Photograph

Signed, titled, dated and numbered from edition of 5 on certificate of authenticity.

Frame: 60 x 74 1/2 inches

Available in 4 sizes:

Small: 24 x 30 inches (60 x 76.2 cm)

Medium: 31.5 x 39.4 inches (80 x 100 cm)

Large: 48 x 60 inches (122 x 152 cm)

Extra Large: 58 x 72 1/2 inches (142 x 184 cm)

The title of the works, on the other hand, such as ‘Mahadevi’s Divine Power, Bara Mahal’, reference historic works of literature, including Aesop’s fables and ancient epics of India. The image shows a tiger lounging inside the chambers of Bara Mahal. Mahadevi, which gives the photograph its title, is considered to be the supreme goddess of all gods in Hinduism, serving as a metaphor for the gendering of spaces. The photographic arrangement juxtaposes wilderness with the man-made, and animalism with humanism. The saturated colors, intricate and sumptuous detailing of the grand interior are disrupted by the presence of the tiger.

“I see animals as ‘others,’” says Knorr, “disruptions in the clean, pure lines of these spaces.” She further continues saying; “They are metaphors for human behavior along with being sorts of memento mori, symbolizing transience.” The image, in a way, reinvents what is named the Panchantra, ancient Indian collection of animal fables.

A layered style of storytelling is also present throughout the series, which allows Knorr to distance herself from a more literal documentary photography aesthetic. She makes use of both digital and analogue photography, creating a diverse visual vocabulary for the audience. Knorr first photographs the interiors with a large format analogue camera. Her own photographs of live wildlife animals, like the tiger in this case, are then inserted into the interior images fusing the high resolution digital image making with the analogue. The resulting photograph is lush, playful and colorful, while challenging rigidly pre-established narratives and hierarchies within the Indian culture.