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Artist of the Day | Manish Nai

Manish Nai



Compressed used clothes

Set of 100 (each piece 8 x 3 x 3 inches)


Born 1980 in Gujarat, India, Manish Nai attained a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. He has held solo exhibitions at Kavi Gupta ElizabethSt.; Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris; Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Mortiz; Galerie Mirchan-dani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; Galerie KarstenGreve, Cologne; and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin, among others. In 2014, Nai was selected for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Coming from a family of textile merchants, Manish Nai began right at the beginning of the early 2000s to exploit the opportunities offered by jute, a plant fibre widely used in India, mainly in clothing and in the construction sector. Diverted from its original destination, jute compressed by the artist and agglomerated to recovered cardboard, becomes the raw material of monolithic sculptural ensembles with striking and perfectly straight edges. Contiguous to a wooden structure, Manish Nai’s compressed sculptures fall within the frontier of two and three dimensional planes.

The Billboards series stem from a sociological exploration of public space in Mumbai. Following the recession that began in the global economy in 2008, a multitude of billboards were left partially vacant, without advertisements. Photographed on the roadside and then combined digitally and arranged by the artist, these compositions represent the concept of serendipity or happy coincidence: "Until the paper is torn, I have no idea what will appear on the wall." Abstract, geometric shapes and patterns emerge from this creative process, interspersed with disorganized snatches of words and phrases whose original meaning is supplanted by the aesthetic properties of the whole. More unique, the compressed sculptures made of newspaper along with the assemblage of colourful recycled cloth sticks stem from the reuse and sustainability of objects that generally have an ephemeral life. Intimately linked to the Indian way of life, the country counting nearly a hundred different newspapers, in nineteen languages, the newspaper sculptures are compressed and moulded around a lightweight wooden frame.

Using material that was both modest and quintessentially Indian, like jute and newspaper, Nai’s pieces were and 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.

Manish Nai lives and works in Mumbai.

Courtesy of,

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