MANISH NAI | Untitled

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Kavi Gupta
Untitled, 2017
Dyed jute
Signed on verso
84 x 84 x 4 in.


The artist's studio, Mumbai, India
Kavi Gupta gallery, Chicago, IL USA

Manish Nai (b. 1980, India) began his adoration of twentieth century abstraction in college, coinciding with a moment when abstraction had fallen out of favor in India. At this time, while Nai resolutely pursued minimalism, figurative collage and ornamentation surged in popularity, his work definitively going against the fashion.

Using material that was both modest and quint- essentially 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. Jute, for instance, is a strong vegetable fiber, often woven into a durable fabric similar to burlap that was once used as clothing material for the poor, and is now used more commonly in building construction. Nai hails from a family of jute traders, and his intimate understanding of the material comes equally from a cultural and familial relationship to it.

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 com-presses them in wooden molds, elevating these items from disposable to the rarified.

Born 1980 in Gujarat, India, Manish Nai attained a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. In 2014, Nai was selected for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.