Sandeep Dhopate’s Pursuit of Elysium
In Classical Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields awaited the blessed after death. Gorgeously portrayed in art and poetry alike, the afterlife promised eternal peace free from sorrow for a chosen few who led righteous lives. In Sandeep Dhopate’s surreal photo series, named after the mythical afterlife, the photographer attempts to recreate and reinvent the unspeakable beauty of the Elysium on our own plane of existence. Rooted in Mumbai, Dhopate utilizes the bright, punchy colors prevalent throughout Indian aesthetics, and the figures featured within Elysium are bathed in pigment. Blue men sprawl out on scarlet beaches, while gold painted bodies stand among the outstretched limbs of branchless trees.
Commenting on all that we seek in spirituality and religious dogmas, Sandeep Dhopate’s images defy the traditionally straightforward medium of photography and bend the boundaries between truth and fiction through the use of color, form, and composition. Rather than journeying diligently towards a perfect promised land, the series constructs a world in which all things wonderful already exist, waiting patiently just before our eyes and at the tips of our fingers.