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Evening Standard

Moon dancers | 2023 (Detail)

Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon

By Ben Luke

Meanwhile, the Barbican, under its recently appointed head of visual arts, Shanay Jhaveri, is at last beginning to use its wonderful conservatory, until now a relatively under-explored part of this cultural hotspot, more imaginatively.

The Indian sculptor Ranjani Shettar has been commissioned to respond to the space and she does so brilliantly. Using steel armatures cloaked in stained muslin cloth, Shettar has created sculptures that evoke fruits and seeds, insects and perhaps human forms, while remaining defiantly abstract. Some dance above water like demoiselles and dragonflies, others riff on the pods and petals of the plants around them.

A wooden form, made from a repurposed teak pillar, hangs over the fishpond inscrutably, viewable from multiple angles yet not wholly graspable. This is a perfectly judged opener to a series of commissions that promises much.

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