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Peppercorn, 2018  Teak wood and lacquered wood

23 1/2” x 24” x 3 1/2”

Earth Songs for a Night Sky is a multi-faceted project by Ranjani Shettar (b. 1977, Bangalore, India). Drawing from her environment in rural India—with changing skies, monsoon rains, and lush vegetation—and employing traditional materials such as teak wood and indigo pigment, and techniques of carving, dyeing, and lacquer, Shettar has created hand-carved wood sculptures, a multi-part piece that wraps up the gallery walls, and an ethereal installation made of thread and wax. Occupying two rooms and the staircase of the original Phillips House, the project is conceived in dialogue with Wassily Kandinsky’s artist’s book Klänge (Sounds)—which features 56 woodcuts and was published right after he had made his breakthrough into abstraction—and Klee’s late paintings in the Phillips’s collection, including Arab Song (1932), Efflorescence (1937), and Figure of the Oriental Theater (1934).

"Sharing with Klee and Kandinsky a visible spirituality refracted through their respective cultures and centuries, Shettar grounds her imaginative sculptures in organic materials crafted into shapes that evoke nature."

Washington City Press

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Prelude, 2019  Teak wood and lacquered wood

5 1/2” x 14” x 5 1/2”

For Shettar, the connection between her work and Kandinsky’s book and Klee’s paintings is more metaphysical than visual. As she says, “I relate to the surreal and abstract qualities of both Kandinsky’s poetry and images. In Klee, I find a formal and thematic playfulness that I strive to achieve in my own work.” Undeniably, what the work of the three artists have in common is a tension between the material world and spiritual aspirations, observation and introspection, and the act of seeing, making, and reflecting. Shettar lives and works in the Shimoga district of Karnataka in South India. Her artwork has been exhibited and collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; among others.

Exhibition Views

Exhibition Views Thumbnails

Monsoon, 2019

Stainless steel, fabric, tamarind seed glue and indigo pigment

108 1/4” x 461” x 18” (dimensions variable)

Monsoon, 2019

Monsoon (detail)

Monsoon (detail)

Monsoon (detail)

From under and above, 2018-2019

Teak wood

10 3/4″ x 48″ x 19 1/4″

From under and above, 2018-2019

Shifting shores, 2019

Teak wood and pigment (in 21 parts)

20″ x 70″ (dimensions variable)

Shifting shores (detail)

Mohana, 2019

Thread and hand-molded beeswax

94” x 53” x 55”

Mohana, 2019

Prelude, 2019

Teak wood and lacquered wood

5 1/2” x 14” x 5 1/2”

A little bit of tilt, 2019

Teak wood and lacquered wood

6″ x 6″ x 6″

Smoke Rings, 2018

Teak wood and lacquered wood

35 1/2” x 31 1/2″ x 9 1/2” & 18” x 26 1/2″ x 7 1/2”

Smoke Rings, 2018

Smoke Rings (detail)

Smoke Rings (detail)

Peppercorn, 2018

Teak wood and lacquered wood

23 1/2” x 24” x 3 1/2”

Monsoon, 2019

Stainless steel, fabric, tamarind seed glue and indigo pigment

108 1/4” x 461” x 18” (dimensions variable)

Monsoon, 2019

Monsoon (detail)

Monsoon (detail)

Monsoon (detail)

From under and above, 2018-2019

Teak wood

10 3/4″ x 48″ x 19 1/4″

From under and above, 2018-2019

Shifting shores, 2019

Teak wood and pigment (in 21 parts)

20″ x 70″ (dimensions variable)

Shifting shores (detail)

Mohana, 2019

Thread and hand-molded beeswax

94” x 53” x 55”

Mohana, 2019

Prelude, 2019

Teak wood and lacquered wood

5 1/2” x 14” x 5 1/2”

A little bit of tilt, 2019

Teak wood and lacquered wood

6″ x 6″ x 6″

Smoke Rings, 2018

Teak wood and lacquered wood

35 1/2” x 31 1/2″ x 9 1/2” & 18” x 26 1/2″ x 7 1/2”

Smoke Rings, 2018

Smoke Rings (detail)

Smoke Rings (detail)

Peppercorn, 2018

Teak wood and lacquered wood

23 1/2” x 24” x 3 1/2”

RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Seven ponds and a few raindrops The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York March 12 – September 16, 2018
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
On and on it goes on Talwar Gallery, New York March 10 - August 17, 2018
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Bubble trap and a double bow Talwar Gallery, New Delhi February 1 - December 30, 2017
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Night skies and daydreams Talwar Gallery, New York May 10 – October 4, 2014
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Between the sky and earth Talwar Gallery, New Delhi January 29 – August 9, 2014
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Dewdrops and Sunshine National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia November 4, 2011 - February 26, 2012
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Present Continuous Talwar Gallery, New Delhi January 19 - December 24, 2011
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
New Work San Francisco Museum of Modern Art March 21 - July 7, 2009
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Inaugural Rooftop Sculpture Garden San Francisco Museum of Modern Art March 21 - July 7, 2009
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
FOCUS Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth December 14, 2008 - February 8, 2009
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Momentum 10 Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston March 19 - July 13, 2008
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Epiphanies Talwar Gallery, New Delhi October 27, 2007 - March 13, 2008
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
Recent Works Talwar Gallery, New York March 22 - May 13, 2006
RANJANI SHETTAR
RANJANI SHETTAR
The Indian Spring Talwar Gallery, New York June 5 - July 17, 2004
Ranjani Shettar
Ranjani Shettar
The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection
Ranjani Shettar The Phillips Collects for a New Century
Washington City Press
Washington City Press
Ranjani Shettar June 28, 2019
Artforum
Artforum
Ranjani Shettar September 2018

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