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Yamini Nayar

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1975, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, USA

Yamini Nayar is a Brooklyn based photographer who deals in a creation of obscure installations with unique perspectives and then photographing them. The installations are dismantled upon photography. So, what is left is only the photograph with objects that cannot be found in the world anymore. She creates illusions through her photographs and blurs the line between fact and fiction.

Education

2005

MFA, School of Visual Arts in New York

1999

BFA, Rhode Island School of Design

VIEW     Selected exhibitions     Text      Selected images      View all

LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Yamini Nayar

Her photographs suggest alternative realities

Nayar's imagined environments are constructed in a very delicate manner to such an extent that they evoke a sense of alternate reality with subtle historical and cultural references. Sometimes her works suggest the charm of a lost era or sometimes depict the mundane domestic scenes.

With her complex angles and focus, she uses the power of photography to the fullest by creating illusions and blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Her setups are recognizable yet distorted. They play with both time and space, as is visible in her works such as One of these Days (2008). A sense of decadence is always palpable and they seem to exist in a rootless temporal plane that is just shuttling between past and future which probably also displays her mixed background as an American Citizen of Indian descent.

Yamini Nayar, One of These Days, 2009, c-print

She also uses photographs to engage directly with architectural cityscapes

Some of the interesting works of Nayar include the architectural drawings on photographs. This inspired series of sketches where she draws directly on the pre-existing architectural documents. This is an interesting experiment where she looks at geometric possibilities to suggest improvements to decaying cityscapes. She tries to derive order amidst all the chaos and squalor of modern urban settings which may seem like an afterthought in an already damaged landscape but those white lines show her grasp in architecture and design and depict possibilities for future generations through her keen attention to detail as is visible in her “studies” from 2008.

Yamini Nayar, Study 1, 2008, architectural drawing on C-print

She provides minute details to her sculptures and installations

According to Nayar, she explores the fragmented nature of places and memories through sculpture as well as photography. The photographs show miniature installations that depict an imaginary ecosystem of objects and surroundings that is eventually printed in large-format. She creates narratives using minute details including crevices in the walls and spots on the floor. She generally uses spare day to day material as well as more exotic elements such as images from historical archives as well as pieces of postcolonial literature. In What is Essential (2006), we can see an old photograph in a living room with scattered artefacts. She looks for structures within those fragmented memories that she dismantles in the real world once her art is created.

Yamini Nayar, What Is Essential, 2006, c-print

She is interested in how architecture affects the present through its history and the memory

Nayar spots suppressed narratives hidden in these structures and draws the viewer in through her photographs by building complex layers of fragmented narratives. These photographs allow the viewer to enter constructed spaces and make them explore the same. These constructions are generally built in her studio and vary in shape and size according to the subject matter. She claims to have been inspired to do so through the photo studios of India, her ancestral home, where people got themselves shot in front of artificial backgrounds.

In recent times Nayar has taken a more open-ended approach and abandoned clear narratives. She is producing much larger images that are elegant yet more obscure. They also directly refer to real architecture by using archival images, newspaper and magazine clippings, miniature collages and various other elements. Through her photographs as well as collages one can identify the materials used for the construction of the ephemeral installations that are built to provide the sense of a distorted and disconcerting reality. For instance in How Many Men (2011) she introduces a living room with a fireplace and tables but introduces elements of fantasy with shadows and apparitions. As usual, it is hard to define these works but that is what makes Yamini Nayar a very unique and important artist.

Yamini Nayar, How Many Men, 2011, c-print

Her photographs are of unique installations built only for this purpose

Yamini Nayar was born in Detroit but is settled in Brooklyn, New York. Born in 1975, she learnt fine arts in Rhode Island School of Design as well as School of Visual Arts in New York, from where she completed her masters in 2005. Since then she has created a niche for herself as a photographer through her shows, collections and lectures. However, the works of Nayar are very hard to define. She is technically a photographer but that term hardly does justice to her work.

This Brooklyn based photographer just does not click anything. She deals in a very complex form of art that includes creation of obscure installations with unique perspectives and then photographing what she created. She also ensures that the installations are dismantled upon photography. So, what is left is only the photograph with objects that cannot be found in the world anymore. She creates illusions through her photographs and blurs the line between fact and fiction.

Yamini Nayar, Luck Is the Residue of Design, 2005, c-print

Bibliography