Ranjani Shettar's Sculpture at The Phillips Collection Through Aug 25

Photo by phillipscollection.org
Smoke Rings Ranjani Shettar 2018
Smoke Rings Ranjani Shettar 2018

Earth Songs for a Night Sky, a multi-faceted project by Ranjani Shettar is at The Phillips Collection through August 25, 2019. This exhibition is part of Intersections, a series of contemporary art projects that explores—as the title suggests—the intriguing intersections between old and new traditions, modern and contemporary art practices, and museum spaces and artistic interventions.

 

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 and a multi-part piece that wraps up the gallery walls. 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 Paul Klee’s late paintings in the Phillips’s collection: Efflorescence (1937) and Figure of the Oriental Theater (1934). 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.

Please note that from July 9 through August 9, while The Phillips Collection makes critical repairs to the elevator in the Phillips House building, accessibility to this exhibition will be unavailable to those visitors requiring use of the elevator.