Erotica and legal jargon in a new solo exhibition in Mumbai

Updated: 02 December, 2018 16:04 IST | A Correspondent | Mumbai

In his new solo exhibition, Manish Nai has taken faded Mills & Boons and legal manuals to make sculptures infinitely more artistic

Sculptor Manish Nai likes loitering at raddiwallahs. "I have a tendency to collect discarded material from raddi shops and wholesalers: used cloth, cardboard boxes," he says. His latest exhibition, Paper City and Ghost Modernity, at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, came about because he started collecting cheap novels and pirated books.

"I have between 5,000 and 10,000 books in my studio. In my work I have often used jute and cardboard, compressed them, and seen the result. In the beginning, I thought I will do this compression with the books. I have made a couple of such works [this time], in which I have poured water on the books over one to two months." Of the 15 pieces in the exhibition, several are misshapen books, while one specific sculpture doesn't even look like it's made of paper.

Manish Nai
Manish Nai

"Luckily, the same size of books was kept in one stack, so I started making a books pillar. But, it was so difficult to get one kind of book. To make a pillar, I need 200 to 300 books of one size, the thickness can vary. Then six months ago, I found a good dealer. I got more books, and I got the sizes I wanted. Then I noticed the [age] of the books: the yellow and rusty brown. It was interesting to create a gradation."

To him, the works are a stand-in for life in the city. "In Mumbai, you feel like you're compressed: in the train, even the apartments. Within small spaces, we build high-rises. But, you feel together."

Where: Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, 2, Sunny House 16/18, Mereweather Road, Colaba
When: December 5 to February 6

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First Published: 02 December, 2018 13:12 IST

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