Texts by Aveek Sen
Book design by Dayanita Singh and Gerhard Steidl
Book editing by Dayanita Singh and Walter Keller
96 pages
11 x 12.8 in. / 28 x 32.5 cm
88 photographs
Clothbound hardcover with a tipped-in photo on the front and back
ISBN 978-3-86930-693-3
EUR 48.00 / GBP 40.00 / US$ 65.00

Dayanita Singh often describes the photobook as her primary medium. What she goes for in the form — and what she richly achieves in “Museum of Chance,” her latest — is a kind of narrative that is difficult to replicate elsewhere. In collaboration with the famously detail-oriented publisher Gerhard Steidl, Singh brings together a variety of her photographs and through them conveys a mysterious and uncannily coherent story. The printing in this book is exemplary: The black tones are rich and profound, the whites subtle and creamy. Singh’s story in “Museum of Chance” has something to do with breezes, white curtains, rooms full of dusty files, Bollywood actors, musicians at rehearsal, night phantoms. But like a tightly edited song cycle, the project is impossible to reduce to its synopsis. It unfolds, one page after the other, like a dream.

Dayanita Singh’s Museum of Chance is a book about how life unfolds, and asks to be recorded and edited, along and off the axis of time. The inscrutably woven photographic sequence of Singh’s Go Away Closer has now grown into a labyrinth of connections and correspondences. The thread through this novel like web of happenings is that elusive entity called Chance. It is Chance that seems to disperse as well as gather fragments or clusters of experience, creating a form of simultaneity that is realised in the idea and matter of the book, with its interlaced or parallel timelines and patterns of recurrence and return. The eighty-eight quadratone images in the book will also appear on the front and back covers in random pairs, transforming each copy of the book into a distinct piece of work by the author.

While I was in London I dreamed that I was on a boat on the Thames, which took me to the Anandmayee Ma ashram in Varanasi. I climbed the stairs and found I had entered the hotel in Devigarh. At a certain time I tried to leave the fort but could not find a door. Finally I climbed out through a window and I was in the moss garden in Kyoto.
– Dayanita Singh

Chancing Upon the Book of Art – Somak Ghoshal, Open Magazine, 20 February 2015

Celebration of Chance – Soity Banerjee, The Hindu Businessline (BLink), 20 February 2015

The Best Photobooks of 2015 – Teju Cole, The New York Times Magazine, 22 December 2015