Kavi Gupta is proud to announce an exhibition featuring a new body of work by Mumbai based artist Manish Nai. This will be Nai’s first solo exhibition in North America and will feature four large-scale site-specific works in addition to wall hangings, sculptures, and prints.
Manish Nai’s adoration of twentieth century abstraction began in college, coinciding with a moment when abstraction had fallen out of favor in India. Figuration and ornamentation surged in popularity while Nai resolutely pursued minimalism. Using material that is both modest and quintessentially Indian, including jute and newspaper, Nai’s pieces are tedious material transformations that once completed represent the complexities of use and reuse. The media that Nai uses are cheap and ubiquitous, alluding to both hierarchies of artistic media and Indian social structures.
Ambitious site-specific works include a gallery pillar wrapped in the burlap-like jute, an illusionistic mural creating the effect of a scratched or damaged surface, an ephemeral mural created with a heat transfer technique, and a monolith comprised of arduously soaked and compressed newspapers.
Inspired by a glut of imagery and information, his use of newspapers examines the tremendous diversity and contention within Indian society: there are almost 100 newspapers in 19 different languages distributed daily in India. Nai soaks these, stripping them of their words, and compresses them in wooden molds, rarefying the pervasive and disposable material.
Pillars formed by pressing and binding together used clothes from people of differing ages and backgrounds lean systematically against the wall. Closer viewing reveals the individual histories embedded in each item of clothing. Referencing the totemic sculpture of the 20th century, these geometric forms turn notions of objectivity upside down with their colorful and biographical material.
Manish Nai attained a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne; and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin, and Galerie Karsten Greve in St. Moritz. Nai’s work has exhibited at Art Basel Hong Kong and in numerous group shows including Bright Noise curated by Girish Shahane at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (2014); The Indian Parallax or the Doubling of Happiness curated by Shaheen Merali at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata (2012); a two-person show with Eberhard Havekost at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2012); and the Mumbai City Pavilion at the ninth Shanghai Biennale, curated by Diana Campbell and Susan Hapgood (2012). Nai is a recipient of the Royal Over-Seas League Visual Arts Scholarship for a month long Residency at Hospitalfield House, Scotland in September 2014. In 2004 he received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, New York.