Drawings and Dialogues | Verve Magazine
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June 05, 2015

Drawings and Dialogues

Text by Huzan Tata

Enjoy Nityan Unnikrishnan’s quirky, artistic dialogue with Vladimir Nabakov’s novel, Transparent Things

Have you ever wondered whether something is transparent until you really ‘see’ or notice it? It was at a factory in south India that artist Nityan Unnikrishnan explored the idea that ‘everyday things become transparent because they are overlooked, until you look, and look again’. In Transparent Things, his latest show at a Mumbai gallery, Unnikrishnan works with pen, ink, and watercolours on paper to indulge in a dialogue with author Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name.

The artworks, each one quirkier than the last, offer a unique look at the world, where the sites, people and objects blend in a unique way, offering the viewer some delightful images. Says the press note for the show, ‘more than complete stories the pictures are closer to construction sites. Their look of work in progress, their open-ended quality, is what keeps the pictures honest. It balances the artist’s rather crackpot attempt to construct something whole out of bits and pieces that never belonged to each other, and might never do, except here’.

5 Questions with the artist, Nityan Unnikrishnan

  1. Artistic Motivations “The hope that if I draw and paint, then I do not have to say anything more.”
  2. Inspirations “Francis Bacon and Raymond Carver have had a profound influence on my work.”
  3. On the wall at home “I think it is hard enough to have myself in my home. If you mean which artists’ works would I have in my home, then that too is a scary thought. The list is too long. Also, I fear that the people and things would come to in the middle of the night and create a racket while I sleep. But I would like a small work by Nasreen Mohamedi. It is unlikely that she would engage in that banter.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “The world looks great to me, nothing to be concerned about.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be…“Oh, there are a variety of options. A farmer in Kerala, a bricklayer in Muscat, making terrible ads for construction companies down south… I wouldn’t have starved.”

Transparent Things is on display at Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai (Arthur Bunder Road, 1/18, Floor 1, Kamal Mansion, Colaba) until June 13, 2015.

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