Yamini Nayar

Yamini Nayar

Work from recent works.

“…Nayar sets up complex situations that reveal a psychologically, multivalent condition. However, unlike the images of Thomas Demand (whose use of constructed models has been an influence on Nayar), Nayar’s images never allude to real, existing spaces. Alternatively, they remain firmly planted within the vernacular of the imaginary. Whereas Demand recreates real spaces of cultural and political import with painstaking precision in order to reveal the artificiality of the original place, Nayar’s models are deliberately shabby to deflect attention away from the specific nature of the thing. The edges and corners of her constructed rooms are left unfinished, the creases of the bent cardboard immediately apparent, revealing its true materiality as in Note to Self (2005-2006). In this work, a worn blue mattress lies carelessly in the corner of a room, its dejectedness further augmented by a solitary white teacup casting a shadow across the carpeted floor. The location of the cup next to the mattress also suggests traces of human activity. There’s no doubt that someone – most likely the photograph’s author as suggested by the title – has passed through the frame. The diagram on the wall is like a secret message waiting to be decoded. Each element is significant, not for its mere presence, nor for its surface values, but for the subjective meanings it engenders.

Objects within the frame are always purposely out of proportion, exaggerated or diminished in relationship to each another in Nayar’s setups. In I Wish, Thank You (2005-2006) the absurdity of proportion is obvious in the juxtaposition of two objects next to one another: a metallic bust which looks like it was truncated from a suit of armor and a stitching needle which is larger than it. The relationship between the two objects in the frame draws attention to the fact that both are constructed elements and points towards their internal dislocation. Objects are no longer objects; rather, they become points of departure. Be it a mattress, a teacup, its shadow, an old carpet, a drawing on the wall, a stitching needle or a suit of armor, every object and its placement in the frame becomes a signifier. Their surface imperfections belie an underlying network of meanings and allusions. Viewed in isolation, these objects are incomplete, even pathetic. Together, they form the bones of a narrative.

Nayar keeps the narrative loose and open-ended. In Being There (2005-2006), the room looks like the storage room of a rock concert. Two white pedestals stand in the back of the room joined together by a rack with hangers between them. Behind one pedestal, the head of a guitar peeks out and is partially obscured by a ceramic pot. A strange ornamental object hangs in the space. The walls are streaked and are punctured with nail holes. An entire wall is made up of mirrored fragments, reflecting the space and creating a kind of theatrical double. In a similar work,What’s Essential (2005-2006), an odd mismatch of objects inhabits a square-tiled room with wood-board walls. This time, it looks like someone’s living space. A densely patterned bench juts into the space atop of which rests an assortment of random sculptural objects. Next to the bench, on the ground, sits a blue (African?) sculptural head. Behind it, a blow-up, sepia-toned photograph of a parachutist and next to it, another gold ornamental object. A bronze bowl-shaped ornament hangs on the wall. The objects confound in their selection and placement. They suggest anomalous cultural roots, none of which are easily definitive or readily identifiable. A small blue African mask is out of sorts with a tall white abstract sculpture that is at odds with a faded war archive photograph of a parachutist, etc. The simultaneous disjuncture(s) projects a fragmented state of mind and invites subjective forms of introspection about identity….” – Sharmistha Ray for ArtPulse.

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