Selected works by Yamini Nayar

Yamini Nayar
Underfoot And Overhead

2008

C-print

76 x 102 cm

Yamini Nayar works with installation and architecture as photography, creating imagined, psychologically laden interiors from found and discarded materials. These installations are destroyed after the work is photographed, so that the photographic image serves as a stand-in for the original work. In representing invented spaces as still images, any sense of scale is concealed from the audience. The interiors appear destroyed by acts of nature. In Underfoot and Overhead a dishevelled staircase falls precariously from a doorway with a thread of foliage hanging over the darkened entrance. Once inside, a single light-bulb appears to illuminate a darkened room. The work takes its name from a Rudyard Kipling poem.

Yamini Nayar
Being There

2006

C-print

51 x 61 cm

In Being There, Nayar conceives a miniature room of paneled glass and fake columns with coat-hangers and a protruding guitar handle residing close to the floor. The walls and the floor appear uneven, resembling a kitsch corner for idle recreation. In the centre of the photograph is a bamboo stick bent slightly, jutting from the wall with a lamp-shade shaped like a beehive. Nayar explains her photographic works as a series of "spaces that question the iconic in photographic memory, where found images are pivot points for imagined, alternate structures."

Yamini Nayar
Sincere

2006

C-print

51 x 61 cm

Nayar’s constructs recall the work of German artist Thomas Demand, renowned for his paper interiors that, once photographed, allude to something significant having taken place. However unlike Demand’s work, her fictionalised interiors such as Sincere are less a reconstruction from recent history and more away into the artist’s imagination, in which objects and emblems are juxtaposed in architectonic niches. The artist uses both made and found objects as well as images sourced from cinema, photographic archives and mass media to create these interiors.

Yamini Nayar
What Is Essential

2006

C-print

51 x 61 cm

Yamini Nayar’s work What Is Essential is composed of readymades juxtaposed into an interesting configuration of modern narrative. A photograph of a parachutist in faded black and white is resting between the tiled floor and the laminated fake wooden wall. The photograph and the array of porcelain and plastic objects appear to be organised as one might arrange a desk. The work explores the intimacy of objects in space, as they reference that of a found photograph central to the composition.

Yamini Nayar
Luck Is The Residue Of Design

2007

C-print

51 x 61 cm

Luck is the Residue of Design shows a seemingly abandoned space which the earth appears to have shaken dramatically. The delicate shell of walls and floor appear to have cracked under the weight of temporary motion. The alcove at the back seems to have taken some of the force of an act of nature or the weight of something man-made. The use of foreshortening creates a sense of compression and claustrophobia in this imagined interior.

Yamini Nayar
Cleo

2009

C-print

76.3 x 101.5 cm

A more recent photographic work Cleo (2009) shows a darkened attic with broken floorboards and an unfinished partition wall with an eye crudely cut into the back wall. The composition resembles a scene from a faded horror film. Nayar conceives and then constructs scenes of heightened melodrama. Nayar’s works lie somewhere between post-explosive moments of reality and dream like scenarios in which humanity has been wiped out.

Yamini Nayar
Study 1

2008

C-print (architectural drawing on photograph)

26.5 x 34.3 cm

By drawing directly onto photographs, Nayar’s 2008 series recalls the work of French architect Yona Friedman and his portfolio of working sketches and formal solutions for which he draws and scores directly onto documentation of pre-existing architectural spaces. Such inventiveness is at the root of Nayar’s geometric interventions that have her redesigning damaged cityscapes in order to suggest greater possibilities. In this work, Nayar manages to invent order out of chaos, to seek sense where there are only the remnants of destruction.

Yamini Nayar
Study 2

2008

C-print (architectural drawing on photograph)

26.5 x 34.3 cm

Thin white lines are spread very precisely over the surface of the photograph as the artist uses previous documentation as a place from which to invent something else. Nayar’s drawings appear to suggest that she has arrived too late to save this piece of reality and is instead seeking order in the remains of littered chaos. The end of everything is the point at which Nayar introduces creativity to consider what can still be possible.


Articles

YAMINI NAYAR
January2012, by Emily Hall, Art Forum

The overwhelming experience of looking at Yamini Nayar’s photographs is that of mystification: One can look and still be puzzled. The photographs invite us to view them as representations of three-dimensional space, but they complicate or even do away with the tools we use, largely without realising it, for interpreting volume: perspective, vanishing point, background, and foreground. It is difficult to describe, much less understand, what one sees.
To create these beguiling images, Nayar built ephemeral sculptural tableaux from little bits of this and that, paper, foil and string, and other kinds of detritus less to say to identify, and photographed them from different angles, and in slightly different configurations. In Cascading Attica (All works 2011) a panel, mostly rectangular, of smoky gray interrupts swaths of rich blue that swirl down from collaged photographs of windows. The blue regions are clearly composed of three dimensional materials: aqua pieces of broken-up something (wood, chalk, or clay) and painted and modeled ridges of deeper blue. The gray panel, by contrast, looks flat- it is a semi translucent, reflective foil – though one area interposes itself in front of the blue and elsewhere disappears behind it. Imagining what this might have looked like on a table top is nearly impossible.
A small untitled work from a series called “Housing Studies” dislocates our sense of space by placing an encrusted grid in front of some pink and gold bits.

Source: Artforum


YAMINI NAYAR: ARTIST TO WATCH
The Art Economist

Nayar is a Brooklyn-based artist of Indian descent. Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1975, she received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999 and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2005). Though her work is most easily recognised as photography. The artists large scale photo prints are the evidentiary product of intensive sculptural installations that she manufactures in her studio; once she has created these environments, she then documents and dissembles them.
The result speaks as much to the power of the constructed moment as it does to any real physical presence. Nayar often builds her interior landscapes and vistas from a combination of found and repurposed materials.
Her constructions are significant for their formal complexity and minute attention to details, as well as their ability to transmute abstracted installation into surreal landscape. The result is something between the ramshackle and the surreal. They have been classified as both romantic and apocalyptic, and are widely recognized for their hypnotic, dreamlike quality. Though her images usually suggest the interiors of abandoned buildings, their perspective frequently is disorienting, creating a sense of place that is both familiar and alien.

Source: The Art Economist


YAMINI NAYAR: HEAD SPACE
Jan 2012, by Meenakshi Thirukode, Whitewall

If there could be an ideal negotiation and interaction between spaces constructed in photography and the space of its contextualization it is temporarily rendered so through “Head Space,” the recent solo show of artist Yamini Nayar at Thomas Erben Gallery last month. Usually one looks for a dialogue purely between the works installed, and the gallery space is often times regarded as a space lacking, neutral, and one that requires to be in a state of meaningless absence because the works hold that lofty responsibility of being negotiated by the viewer. In Nayar’s process and practice there’s an interesting reconciliation between these polarities.
The artist’s work through the years has been a means of building and creating structures from found objects, photographing them and then discarding the physical installation. We never get to see the actual constructions, although in “Head Space” photographic documentation of source material is installed. It serves as a visual map of sorts - a legend - trying to fix on important points within Nayar’s process. In early works like Cleo (2009) and Between the Lines (2009) we see these surreal structures or renderings of fantasy like spaces. They seem impermanent, fluid but they are still recognizable from within the spectrum of reality. In Cleo, for instance, one can discern some kind of indoor space with its floorboards and walls violently smashed through. But the odd pinhole, through which an eye peeks in, displaces ones sense of spatial footing in reality. It’s this displacement that comes to fruit in the body of works in “Head Space.” Now space has literally and metaphorically been sculpted, by deliberating through historical references within architecture and the shifting meanings of our experiences with these man-made edifices. Nayar explains, “I begin with a 2D image, which acts as a quote in a longer process.” References in the works include well-known buildings like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Johnson Wax building, referred to as the Great Workroom, to generic spaces like a mid-century living room. None of these are immediately recognizable now, not in the way one could navigate Nayar’s early works. Now these constructions that we engage our motions through have been magnified, broken down, and re-stitched so that standing in front of them in a gallery space, thrusts you into polar states of physical and semantic experiences. Says Nayar, “My concerns lean towards subjectivity and memory - and thus my photographs are less tied to being read as 'real.' I'm much more interested in process, and how we shape memory, how it shapes us." Memorious (2011) navigates through such a space. Within the 4 x 5 foot format that Nayar predominantly works in, you are privy in some way to the process even while looking at the finished piece. This is so because the final print was arrived at by the layering of fragments of previous photographs made in the same space that were documented at different times, throwing glimpses of various interventions that had taken place there and now no longer exist. “I think of it as physically adding or slicing parts of the structure back into the photographic document. A physical expansion of what is seen and remembered, but also a kind of rupture in time. The piece is called ‘Memorious,’ which means to have good memory,” explains the artist.

Source: Whitewallmag.com


YAMINI NAYAR
November 21, 2011, The New Yorker

Nayar’s colour photographs may look like boisterous abstractions, but (with the exception of one collage) they’re straightforward shots of small environments that she cobbled together from fabric, clay and scraps of paper to suggest architectural interiors and structures in states of decay. Thanks to the addition of feathers, beads, yarn and silver foil, spaces that may have started out as scaled-model buildings now look as if they were abandoned to vandals, visionary squatters or natural forces. Yet, no matter how trashed Nayar’s sites may appear (some recall the aftermath of Japan’s recent tsunami) you sense that any implied disaster is mitigated by the promise of transformation and renewal.

Source: The New Yorker


SOUTH ASIAN AMERICAN ART NOW
By Kiran Chandra

Picasso painted Le Demoiselle d Avignon after seeing an exhibit of African Masks and sculptures at the MOMA. Paul Gauguin's life's works come from Tahiti, where he retreated to after his giving up his profession as a stockbroker. Cultures outside their own have often inspired artists to push the boundaries of their work.
It is equally engaging see a culture that is known and familiar (by heritage, or place of birth) to artists, re-interpreted, contended with, and assimilated into new contexts. Nostalgia, yearnings for that elusive place called home and the immigrant experience in itself becomes the basis for their art.

This is the nerve that the curators at the Queens Museum have touched with their phenomenal exhibition called "Fatal Love- South Asian American Art Now." The exhibition follows "Crossing the lines" (also featured at the Queens Museum) in 2001, in which artists were asked to create pieces that focused on their particular communities. The museum takes its responsibility to represent the ethnically diverse community that inhabits New York seriously. It makes a fitting venue, therefore, for "Fatal Love," which is dedicated solely to the creative and cultural engagements of first and second generation American artists of South-Asian descent.

The "Fatal Love" exhibit has been installed in conjunction with the Asia Society's "Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India." "Fatal Love", stands with and apart from its Indian counterpart at the Asia Society. It speaks directly to the question of what it is to be a part of a diaspora. In particular, the diaspora's reaction to 9/11 and the treatment of immigrants in New York is raw and deeply felt. felt A mult- media installation by Naeem Mohaiemen and Ibrahim Quarishi called "Disappeared in America" documents the ugly and often brutal repercussions of 9/11 on Muslims through a series of banners, stickers, video pieces and sound bites. Specifically, it speaks to the victims whose absences went almost unnoticed- taxi drivers, small business owners - the very immigrants struggling the most to build a life in America.

Source: egothemag.com


YAMINI NAYAR - INTIMATE THEATER: A SOLILOQUY OF DISLOCATIONS




Source: Wynwood, The Art Magazine, April 2009


SHEELA GOWDA & YAMINI NAYAR - NEW YORK TIMES




Source: The New York Times, May 8th 2009


YAMINI NAYAR - THE NEW YORKER




Source: The New Yorker, May 4th 2009