Textiles, especially in the form of clothing, tell a story. A pattern, color, or texture speaks to a time and place, and its form in a garment speaks to the kind of person who would wear it. Nai's compressed clothing works become intergenerational conversations, timelines, and family trees where the patterned shawl so iconic to his grandmother's generation can be twisted with a cartoon graphic t-shirt from his young son. Compressed into minimalist pillars reminiscent of architecture, Nai is similarly interested in cross-generational cohabitation, a practice common in India but often foreign to Westerners. Three, four, even five generations living in a single home is not uncommon, Nai has explained, and the mixing of their garments in laundry becomes a kind of intimate snapshot, a family photo in physical form.
Nai's pillars have innumerable variations for installation, each possible arrangement responsive to its environment and inspiring new possibilities for the audience. Leaning at angles, hanging straight, or stacked in pyramids are among the incarnations the pillars have taken over time, each creating new questions, historical references, and visual experiences, unique to their situation.
Idea Sale, Kavi Gupta, 2019 Chicago, IL United States