Using materials that are both modest and quintessentially Indian, like jute, teak and newspaper, Nai’s pieces are studies in tedious complexities that, once completed, are presented as a tightly organized...
Using materials that are both modest and quintessentially Indian, like jute, teak and newspaper, Nai’s pieces are studies in tedious complexities that, once completed, are presented as a tightly organized unit. The media that Nai uses are usually cheap and ubiquitous, alluding to both hierarchies of artistic media and Indian social structures.
Nai’s book sculptures mobilize words as raw material for compacted objects, with the aesthetic inquiry: what is a book that cannot be read, or a sculpture that can’t fully be seen?
His iconic vision for socially-conscious minimalism has earned Nai global attention as a crucial voice for Indian art today. Paying mind towards the complex intersections of material culture, art history, class relations, and autobiography, his geometrically simple forms distill the essence of contemporary Mumbai. His book sculptures expand upon Nai’s ongoing meditation on time itself, as compressed layers of paper settle into distinct strata like sedimentary rock. The sequencing of the innumerable pages and subtle tonal shifts as distinct layers brings a new kind of clarity to the substance. In the case of the stacked book towers, while the forms are cleaner and more minimal than ever before, the contents remain elusive, refusing access to their text. Their history as books immediately accessible, but their content as text is arrested in time, frozen inside the sculpture. The small compressed books are slightly more generous with their covers readable, serving both as pedestals for their former contents, now twisted into gnarled knots, and clues to the content within. Meanwhile, text from the books gives brief flickers of legibility, but the organic forms twist and turn away from inquisitive eyes.
Artist Biography: Manish Nai was born in 1980 in Gujarat, India. He holds a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. Nai’s position – rooted in the treatment of materials that come from his immediate surroundings and environment – has emerged as one of the most unique and promising positions in art of the Indian subcontinent. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, Ahmadabad (2019), tthe NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2018), the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago (2018), and the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2018). He has participated in the 2nd edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala (2014) and The Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace, Rajasthan (2017-18). Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Fondation Fernet Branca, St. Louis, France (2017) and Het Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch, The Netherlands (2018). He lives and works in Mumbai.
Solo Exhibitions 2016 Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France 2015 Manish Nai, Kavi Gupta Chicago | Elizabeth St., Chicago, IL 2014 Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Moritz, Switzerland 2013 Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke 2012 COMPACT, Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin, Germany 2010 Extramural, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, Catalogue essay by Girish Shahane 2009 Manish Nai – New Works, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany, Curated by Julia Ritterskamp 2007 Threading A Coded Path, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 2005 Minimal Structures, Apparao Galleries, Delhi and Chennai 2004 The Museum Gallery, Curated by Pinakin Patel Selected Group Exhibitions 2014 Ethereal, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, NY Kochi Muzirus Biennale, Kochi Midnight’s Grandchildren, Kitab Mahal, Mumbai, Curated by Girish Shahane 2013 The Material Point: Reconsidering the Medium on the (Post)modern Moment, Gallery OED, Kochi, Curated by Dr. Kathleen Wyma 2012 Asia Art Archive Fundraiser, Hong KongThe Indian Parallax or the Doubling of Happiness, Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata, Curated by Shaheen Merali 9th Shanghai Biennale, Mumbai City Pavilion, Shanghai news, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai The Skoda Prize Show, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi Art Dubai, Dubai, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Art HK12, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Kong, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke [examples to follow!, Premchand Roychand Gallery, Mumbai, Curated by Adrienne Goehler 2011 Abstract Articulations, Gallery Espace, New Delhi Home Spun, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, Curated by Girish Shahane 5th Anniversary Exhibition, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai India Art Summit, New Delhi, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke India Inclusive: Contemporary Art from India, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta 2009 PANORAMA: INDIA, ARCO_Madrid, Madrid, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Relative Visa, Bodhi Art Gallery, Mumbai, Curated by Bose Krishnamachari 2008 Second Edition of Art Summit, New Delhi, Presented by Apparao Galleries Gallery Weekend at the Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig, Germany, Presented by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 2007 1st Anniversary Exhibition, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 2005 Present-Future, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, Curated by Dr. Saryu Doshi 2003 Beppu Asia Contemporary Art Exhibition, Beppu Museum, Japan 2002 Singapore Art Fair, presented by Apparao Galleries, Chennai 2000 Monsoon Show, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai Awards 2012 Invited to North Rhine-Westphalia Artist Residency Programm, Düsseldorf, Germany 2011 Invited to Socrates Sculpture Park Residency, Long Island City, New York 2004 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award 2004-2005, New York 2000 Best Watercolour Painting Award by the Bombay Art Society
Press and Publications 2015 Lee Ann Norman, “Review: Manish Nai/Kavi Gupta Gallery,” Newcity Art, July 2015 “Manish Nai Opening,” Eye On India, June 2015 Christopher Hudgens, “Episode 511: Manish Nai,” Bad At Sports Contemporary Art Talk, June 2015 Sunthar Visuvalingam, “Seeing Beyond Space and Place Through Indian Contemporary Art,” News India Times, June 2015 Sunthar Visuvalingam, “Manish Nai Opens With Panel on Contemporary Indian Art,” News India Times, June 2015 Lauren M. Heist, “From the community: Eye on India Festival Comes to Lemont.” Chicago Tribune, May 2015 Niranjan Kunwar, “Kochi and Consciousness,” The Huffington Post, January 2015 2014 Riddhi Doshi, “A ground report from India’s biggest art show in Kochi,” Hindustan Times, December 2014 Dhamini Ratnam, “Manish Nai: The Proceduralist,” Livemint, August 2014 Anita Mahadevan and Manoj Nair, Art List, Arts Illustrated, June - July 2014 Rosalyn D’Mello, “Artwork of the Week: Manish Nai’s Newspaper Wall at Art Basel in HK,” Blouin Artinfo, May 2014 2013 Zehra Jhumabuoy, Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing, Phaidon Press 2013 Karuna John, Breaking the Canvas, India Today, February 2013 2012 Rosalyn D’Mello, Blouin Artinfo India 2010 Amrita Gupta-Singh, “Textures of Silence,” Art India, September 2010 Zehra Jumabhoy, “Critic’s Picks,” Artforum, August 2010 “Pixel Power,” Timeout India, August 2010