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Ranjani Shettar

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1977, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Lives and works in Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Ranjani Shettar’s works are reflective and informed by her natural surroundings. She specialises in sculptural installations that are usually of a large scale. She also works with woodcut prints, following a similar position of conflict and harmony within elements of nature through them.

Education

2000

Masters of Fine Arts (Sculpture), College of Fine Art, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, India

1998

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture), College of Fine Art, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, India

 

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Ranjani Shettar

Contours of light and the spatial dimension are integral to the artist's installations

Ranjani Shettar’s pieces reflect a certain luminous quality. Her exhibition spaces are always designed to access a kind of light and reflection that elevates her displays. She uses the feature of natural light in almost all her sculptural installations. The work transforms the white spaces in museums, embracing even the emptiness of the walls.

Bird Song III, 2009, is an ornate piece of work that sits on the walls opening its embrace towards the floor below. The structure is patterns of petal shaped steel, separately put together with the wires shaped like the petals , empty inside, reflecting the emptiness with light rays on the walls. This is symbolic of the natural elements embodying her work, affecting the relationship of various objects and forms within the natural surroundings.

Ranjani Shettar, Bird Song III, 2009, stainless steel, muslin dyed in areca nut, tamarind kernel, and lacquer, 57 x 47 x 39”.

Materials and mediums used are highly reflective of her small town livelihood

The materials used in the pieces are derived directly from her surroundings. Residing as further from the city, she maintains, its non-presence in every element of her work. When one observes the materials used in her pieces— tamarind kernels, areca nut, terracotta, teak wood, saw dust, cotton straw, fish line, gulangi seeds, beeswax, they are often and repeated. This is a special feature in understanding the source of her artistic expression, through her natural small town surroundings. The materiality of these elements has a specific connotation in this expression.

In Tunes for a winter morning, 2012,Shettar has used tamarind kernel paste as a binder and muslin fabric. Cream-coloured extensions look as if they are twisting and turning, heightening the mute quality of the piece, dissolving into the tangled web with their own shadows.

Ranjani Shettar, Tunes for a winter morning, 2012, stainless steel, muslin cloth, tamarind kernel powder paste, 260 x 12 x 97”.

Ranjani Shettar's work, though occupies large spaces, exude a form of minimalism

Shettar’s work has been described as minimalist or post-minimalist, referring to the tradition of geometrical sculpture with neat architectural spatiality.

Her body of work has a fundamental quality of a gravity that binds it as well as sets it free. Sun-sneezers blow light bubbles, 2007-08, is a work of similar nature. The work is not one continuous piece, but has several pieces, arranged to form a physical juncture of ethereal form. The motifs are ornate, and are sculpturally designed. It can be regarded as a departure from minimalist structure of contained structure of the piece, but flows out to surrounding spaces, to create a holistic form through distinct pieces and spatial occupation.

Ranjani Shettar, Sun-sneezers blow light bubbles, 2007-08, stainless steel, muslin, tamarind kernel paste, lacquer, 192.007 x 287.99 x 167.99”.

The large physicality of her works compels the audience not to ignore the little pieces that make up the works

Shettar’s works are usually on a massive scale, with the sculptural

Just a Bit More,2006-06, is a constellation of beads made out of beeswax, hanging down while not touching the floor. This work is intricate, and its detail lies in every bead shape creating a starry night appearance. It is delegating the beeswax as a material used in varied sculpture works. She uses this to bring to light this very common material that often finds space in artistic expression, but holds lesser value as an independent object. Every bead she constructs requires attention towards that particular object. The miniscule beads, are strung together to form such a large scale installation, highlighting its presence both seminally and objectively.

Ranjani Shettar, Just a Bit More, 2006, hand-moulded beeswax, pigments, and thread dyed in tea, 36 x 24 x 12’.

Shettar examines urbanism and its contents from a different vantage point

Shettar’s work is unique among other contemporary artists who focus primarily on urban culture and its consumer effects. The naturalness that her residence in the little town in Karnataka surrounds her makes her response to urban politics distinct from others, for who the cityscape, and urban architecture and consumer response feature repeatedly.

Shettar, however, steps aside and examines the effect on nature because of these urban features. She works with the effects on the co-existing flora and fauna, and the problematic relationship of development pursuits on them.

Container and Content, 2000-05, creates a dialogic impulse between the natural structures and industrially produced forms. This furthers a discussion of the dichotomies that are constantly in conversation or in conflict.

Ranjani Shettar, Container and Content, 2000-05, steel mesh, sawdust, lime, cotton, straw, dimensions variable.

Bibliography