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Matters of Art

Ranjani Shetter, extensively exhibiting abroad but least in the country, continues with her project of weaving multiple moods and memories, light and shades together in her current/ongoing solo show, “Epiphanies: between the bodily and the aural”, at Talwar Gallery, New Delhi that will be on view till the end of January 2008. Celebrating epiphanies for this show, she transcends the boundaries between personal and impersonal, organic and inorganic, tangible and intangible to produce objects of a kind that seem to defy any classification. Indeed she creates work with extreme formal simplicity, doing away with complex internal relations in the interest of greater unity and force of impact. The whole apparatus shows the unity of effect and order and remains more powerful, intense, and clear. With her perceptual mechanism, she threads the relationship between the viewer and herself as she let them apprehend the object from various angles under spatial context and pulls the viewer to the degree that these details push him/her into intimate relation with the work.

She is a weaver of inexplicable objects- for instance, eyelets, gulagangi seeds, beeswax, and vulcanized latex. In her sculpture (in-group), “Me, no, not me, buy me, eat me, wear me, have me, me, no, not me (2006-07)”, she uses discarded materials of old car bodies (mild still). In making these five sculptures together of various dimensions she cuts car body out into thin strips so that they can be bent and twisted easily and then she weaves some quasi- abstract hallowed baskets look like when displayed, birds becking grains under the tree. Smeared by metal paste underneath these five objects together disturb the normal perceptions and expectations of the audience and diverts towards the environment she belongs to. “I am no one to tell you what to do (2006)”, consists of some mysteriously arranged silicon rubber with carved mesquite wood, which seems to implicate some performed rituals meaning that will become clear after knowing the task they were intended to perform- but artist withheld it cleverly. Its charm and beauty exist in co-relation with synthetic and natural substances. It is a fine balance between organic and inorganic relations.

Entering the room where displayed is work “touch me not (2006-07)', is entering like somewhere into the bewildering twilight zone. Here also, she continues her investigation with the relationship between man-made and natural objects and finds very much harmony in a sinuous way with smooth motion like flowing river and covers three sides (walls) of the room. Her in-depth encoding of meaning and suspension of self sublimates our spatial perception in very cool light. Consisting of pigment lacquered wooden beads and stainless steel rods, this amusing and scintillating webbed installation evokes. Further, viewers' empathy is tuned with deep emotions.

Ranjani Shetter is an artist in the process, in progress. Each time she adds a chapter to the unending book of her search, her investigation of spirit and matter, means and end. Here, her impossible quest for knowledge is suspended in a meandering way of impossible journey. Like that of minimal artists, she really does not express herself or express some meaning in the old sense but a sense of order. Moving step by step she reaches the form proposed by sculptor Tony Smith: “the artist provides a partial image of a complete order throughout all the space which can be imagined and leaves the spectators to fill the rest.' In woodcut prints- ‘River dance (2007)' and ‘Fissure in the stone wall (2007)'- she also harmonies complementary opposites of colors and simple plain prints of water drops, river, and fissures of walls. The predominant nature of unitary forms is constant but the relations of scale proportions are not canceled yet. Of course, it is a rare chance to see Ranjani in India, in Delhi. The show will be on view till the end of January 2008.

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