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RANJANI SHETTAR

"As an artist, when you make something the material becomes a metaphor too." 

Ranjani Shettar

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"Ranjani Shettar is perhaps best known for her immersive sculptural installations, composed of numerous non-representational forms, which combine natural and industrial materials like beeswax, wood, organic dyes, vegetal pastes, lacquer, steel, and cloth. Her work also includes prints, which employ a range of techniques. Shettar’s skill and ambition are clear in Liana’s lullaby, a 16-foot-long scroll made from five hand carved wood blocks. Shettar first created a series of drawings with watercolor that formed the basis of the woodblocks. The primary inspiration for this work, as with the entirety of her practice, is the natural world. Here it is reflected not only in the wood used for the block printing, but also in her subject, Liana, a woody vine that organically and rhythmically unfolds across this scroll. The vine’s forms are abstracted in a way that might suggest a musical score." 

Shanay Jhaveri, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"In Ms. Shettar’s transubstantiated modernism, local nature and culture have their way."

Holland Cotter, The New York Times

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"The constant in all these works is the natural world, which Shettar evokes sometimes directly and sometimes less obviously, by, for example, telling us that Counterpoint is made not just of teak, but of reclaimed teak. The earlier purpose for which the wood was used gives it a history that becomes part of the work’s texture; just as telling is the ethic of conserving natural materials, respecting them by not wasting them. A number of Shettar’s Western critics have placed her in the context of India’s rapidly technologizing society, to which her art can be seen as a kind of retort. Others have described her somewhat analogously as contesting the rigidities of modernist art history. I have no real quarrel with these ways of positioning her, but would add that she seems to me something other than merely reactive; her work is not, or not only, an answer to issues in the minds of Western writers, but constitutes its own delighted exploration of materials and space."

David Frankel, Artforum

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Untitled, 2020

Woodcut on Fabriano Academia paper

70 3/4" x 39 3/4"

Edition of 3

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Untitled, 2021

Woodcut on Fabriano Academia paper

11 1/2" x 7 1/2"

Edition of 3

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Song Book I, 2015
Monotype on muslin
10 1/2” x 25”

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Song Book II, 2015
Monotype on muslin
5 1/2” x 23 1/2”

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Song Book IV, 2015
Monotype on muslin
11” x 25”

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Song Book V, 2015
Monotype on muslin
6” x 19”

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Song Book VI, 2015
Monotype on muslin
14” x 25”

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Liana’s lullaby, 2015
Laser-cut relief block print on henna-dyed muslin (rolled into a scroll) 
7” x 198”
Edition of 6

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Untitled, 2015
Spit-bite etching
10 1/2" x 11"
Edition of 7

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Untitled, 2020

Woodcut on Fabriano Academia paper

70 3/4" x 39 3/4"

Edition of 3

Untitled, 2021

Woodcut on Fabriano Academia paper

11 1/2" x 7 1/2"

Edition of 3

Song Book I, 2015
Monotype on muslin
10 1/2” x 25”

Song Book II, 2015
Monotype on muslin
5 1/2” x 23 1/2”

Song Book IV, 2015
Monotype on muslin
11” x 25”

Song Book V, 2015
Monotype on muslin
6” x 19”

Song Book VI, 2015
Monotype on muslin
14” x 25”

Liana’s lullaby, 2015
Laser-cut relief block print on henna-dyed muslin (rolled into a scroll) 
7” x 198”
Edition of 6

Untitled, 2015
Spit-bite etching
10 1/2" x 11"
Edition of 7

 "... Ranjani Shettar has carved a unique position for herself: She approaches the social and ecological consequences of India’s rapid urbanisation from the vantage of non-figurative art, engages with traditional material and seeks inspiration from the country’s threatened natural environments, rather than its urban setting." 

Devika Singh, TATE Modern

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Fissure in the Stone Wall, 2007

Woodcut Print

77" x 47"

Edition of 4

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Open Dice, 2007
Woodcut print 
33 1/8" x 46 1/2”
Edition of 4

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River Dance I, 2007
Woodcut print 
53” x 26 1/4”
Edition of 3

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River Dance II, 2007 
Woodcut print  
36 x 117"
Edition of 5

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I am no one to tell you what not to do, 2006 
Woodcut Print  
95 x 39 1/2”

Edition of 5

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Varsha, 2012
Zinc-alloy inlaid with silver, etching, woodcut, silkscreen, laser cut and pigment
11" x 15" x 3" (extends to approximately 40 ft long)

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Fissure in the Stone Wall, 2007

Woodcut Print

77" x 47"

Edition of 4

Open Dice, 2007
Woodcut print 
33 1/8" x 46 1/2”
Edition of 4

River Dance I, 2007
Woodcut print 
53” x 26 1/4”
Edition of 3

River Dance II, 2007 
Woodcut print  
36 x 117"
Edition of 5

I am no one to tell you what not to do, 2006 
Woodcut Print  
95 x 39 1/2”

Edition of 5

Varsha, 2012
Zinc-alloy inlaid with silver, etching, woodcut, silkscreen, laser cut and pigment
11" x 15" x 3" (extends to approximately 40 ft long)

"Her artistic practice is both rooted in a particular context and is responsive to what surrounds it. Ultimately, it is administered equally by a subjective logic and ideology—one that incorporates observation, slowness, and social responsibility."

Shanay Jhaveri, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The complexity of Shettar’s work derives in part from the craft traditions she references and the universality of the objects she creates.”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Artist's Biography

Fissure in the Stone Wall, 2007 (Detail, In process)

Ranjani Shettar’s works have been the subject of several museum exhibitions including solo presentations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (The MET) (2018), The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (2019), The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) (2009); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2011); The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, MA (2008); The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX (2008-9) and Hermes Fondation, Singapore (2011).

Ranjani’s works have also been featured in exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY (2010); Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi (2011, 2012, 2013), 5th Moscow Biennale (2013); 10th Liverpool Biennial, UK (2010); 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, PA (2008); 9th Lyon Biennial, France (2007); 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007); 15th Sydney Biennale, Australia (2006); Art Tower Mito, Japan, Artpace, Texas (2006); Marian Goodman Gallery (2006), Cartier Fondation, Paris (2005); Sainsbury Center, UK (2005), Wexner Center, OH (2005), The Walker Art Center, MN (2003), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy (2003) and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2003). In 2012 in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York the artist created a limited-edition project, Varsha.  Ranjani Shettar lives and works in Karnataka, India.

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Artist's Biography