Life sculpted on paper

Our trials and tribulations often prompt us to think that our lives would definitely make for a good movie. It was this very thought that inspired artist Nityan Unnikrishnan to work towards his second solo show: While Everyone is Away. The exhibition comprises 15 paperwork and two sculptures that have been inspired by his childhood memories and present life.

Two of Unnikrishnan’s works, ‘Room Downstairs’ (above) and ‘Quiet Times’ (below)

This is the first time he is displaying his three-dimensional works of art. The reticent artist believes most of what we call art, draws in its subject matter from memories and life, no matter how steeped in concept it may be. He says he too has led an interesting life, nuggets of which he wanted to capture on canvas. “I grew up in a small town by the sea and went to a school full of priests and nuns.

I spent my summers running across the vast open fields near my house. When I went to college for a degree in physics, I flunked. So I went off to study design at the National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad, one of the best and most idyllic places in the world to study. And right after that I landed up at a big city full of lights, characters and life. So I have quite a bit to draw inspiration from,” he says.

Describing his work as fairly simple pieces that can be understood by anyone, he says, “What I do is not very complicated; they are easy enough to understand. The works gain their matter from a variety of sources — memories, literature and the arts, rural wistfulness, the modern world and my present life and people. The content of the artworks roam between the real and imaginary and it is possible for the viewer to find many little niches giving clues to more narratives.”

The 36-year-old artist who has studied industrial design, decided to showcase his 3D sculptures as they have a clear connection with some of his paper work. One would think that working on these pieces must be a huge challenge, but Unnikrishnan disagrees and makes a surprising revelation.

“Space was one of the biggest constraints while working on the While Everyone Is Away series. I have a tiny studio in New Delhi and it is sometimes difficult to get things done, and also keep it clean, especially when I have woodwork going on in the balcony while I am doing a sketch in the room,” he laughs.

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